Fat Transfer

Volume loss in the breasts and body is a common aesthetic concern. Fat transfer, also referred to as autologous fat transfer or fat grafting, is designed to improve the contours of the body by transferring fat from one area of the body to another. This procedure uses liposuction to remove excess fat from areas, such as the thighs or abdomen, before injecting it into areas lacking volume, such as the breasts or buttocks.

Fat transfer can be performed on its own, however, it is often combined with other surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation. At Inigo Cosmetic, fat transfer is often performed to augment the breasts or buttocks, avoiding risks associated with implants, such as rupture, shifting and leaks.

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Who is a good candidate for Fat Transfer?

The ideal candidate for fat transfer surgery is someone who:

  • Is in good overall physical and mental health
  • Has realistic wants and expectations
  • Has experienced volume loss or contour depressions in specific body areas, such as the breasts, buttocks or other areas
  • Has firm, elastic skin
  • Has pockets of excess fat in areas of the body that can be used as a donor site
  • Does not have any circulation problems
  • Is a non-smoker

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The Fat Transfer procedure

The fat transfer procedure can be performed either under a local or general anaesthetic, depending on the treatment area.

Fat transfer can be described as a three-stage process:

1. Harvesting

During your initial consultation, you and your surgeon will choose a donor site for fat removal. This area will be injected with a local anaesthetic, after which your surgeon will create a small incision and, via a cannula, will carefully extract the fat using liposuction techniques. Keep in mind that the amount of fat removed is much less than during traditional liposuction, meaning that it should not alter the appearance of the donor location.

2. Purification and transfer

Once your surgeon has removed enough fat from the donor area, he will process the fat cells to prepare them for transfer to the syringes used for injection. This is usually done by spinning the fat through a centrifuge to separate the cells from any impurities or fluid.

3. Placement

Once the fat is ready, your surgeon will insert a needle or cannula into the area being augmented. He will pass the injection needle in and out of the transfer site multiple times to create the desired contour. To further improve results, your surgeon may also massage the grafted areas. To complete the procedure, they will place a dressing over the treatment area.

Recovery from a Fat Transfer

While the recovery process varies from patient to patient, many describe the sensation following surgery as mild aches and pressure instead of pain. We endeavour to ensure your post-operative comfort by prescribing oral pain medication after the procedure.

Following your fat transfer, you may experience some significant bruising and swelling. Expect to take at least one week off from work, however two to three weeks are ideal.

Patients are required to wear a compression garment continuously for around six weeks. This will reduce swelling and help mould the treatment area to avoid lumps and contour irregularities. Significant swelling usually subsides by three months, and the final result will be noticeable after six to twelve months.

SURGERY TIME

1 – 2 hours

HOSPITAL STAY

Day surgery

ANAESTHETIC

General or local, depending on area

DRESSING CHANGE

Weeks 1 & 2

TIME OFF WORK

1 – 3 weeks

EXERCISE

None for 6 weeks

GARMENT

Worn for 6 weeks

FULL RECOVERY

3 months

Scarring from Fat Transfer

While fat injections do not result in scarring, the removal of fat via liposuction does. However, liposuction incisions are very small and any scars will be placed in hidden areas. They will also fade over time.

Please visit Scarring After Surgery for more information.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

No surgery is without risks. Some of the complications associated with fat transfer include bleeding, infection, reaction to anaesthesia, fluid loss or accumulation, changes in skin sensation and blood clots. Please request a copy of our fat transfer information sheet and surgical consent for more information.

The longevity of your fat transfer results depends on a number of factors. During your initial healing stage, some of the transferred fat will not survive. Fat survival rates will vary, depending on how the fat was harvested, where it was injected and how well you follow post-operative instructions.

If the transferred fat serves the first six months after surgery, your results should be permanent. Keep in mind that while the number of fat cells will not change, your fat cells can still change in size as you gain and lose weight, which could impact results.

The cost of your fat transfer procedure can be broken down into three main components: the surgeon’s fee, anaesthetist fees and hospital fees. At Inigo Cosmetic, we customise our surgeries to each individual patient. To receive a detailed cost breakdown, please get in touch to book a consultation with us.

When done successfully, the injected fat creates a new blood supply from the body, allowing it to receive the nourishment needed for survival. However, there is always a chance that a percentage of fat will not take, in which case additional touch-up procedures may be required. To achieve your aesthetic goals, you may need up to three or four treatments.

Yes, fat transfer is always performed under anaesthesia. However, depending on the treatment area and the amount of fat removed, this procedure can take place under either local or general anaesthesia. If your surgeon only needs to remove a small amount of fat, he will only need to use local anaesthesia. In cases where large volumes of fat are injected into multiple body areas, you may require general anaesthesia.