Fat grafting, or fat transfer, also referred to as fat injections, describes the procedure of transferring fat from one part of the body (hips, thighs, abdomen, and other locations) to the areas that have lost fat through aging, e.g., most commonly the face and hands.
Fat is one of most well-tolerated fillers available to plastic surgeons, and thus has broad applications. It is natural-appearing, lasts a long time, and is safe. It is an effective filler used for changing body contour, revising scars, and filling depressions.
Fat grafting usually involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, washing/ purifying it, and the carefully re-injecting it with specially designed needles into the areas requiring augmentation.
Fat injection or fat transfer has broad applications in cosmetic surgery. Fat injected into areas requiring volume-enhancement produces safe, long-lasting, and natural-appearing results as volume is replaced to tissues where fat is diminished.
The current model of the facial aging process focuses on the primary importance of how the face deflates and loses volume over time.
Patients who benefit from fat injections are people who desire augmentation or filling of volume-deficient areas. The most commonly grafted areas include the face (including the lips), hands, and depressions in the skin contour such as those that have developed following surgery and scarring.
Fat grafting is usually performed in the operating room under sedation or general anesthesia.
Fat Injection Procedure:
Fat is harvested using a special suction cannula using sterile technique. Once enough fat is obtained from the donor area, it is then purified. This often requires the use of a centrifuge which spins the fat and removes impurities. The fat is then placed into the areas requiring augmentation. The injection needle is usually passed in and out of the areas to be augmented multiple times. The areas that were injected may then be massaged by Dr. Shoukas to create a satisfactory contour. A dressing may then be placed.
Swelling is the most common post-operative side effect. Most of the swelling settles down within several weeks. Numbness of the skin overlying the donor and injected areas is usually mild and temporary.
Slight asymmetry or contour irregularity of the treated areas usually improves as the swelling resolves.