William Callaghan. MD (micro-fat-graft-transfer Surgery)
Fat transfer is a surgical procedure, which allows the removal of fat, from one area of a patient’s body, to another. The procedure has been used for over 100 years; however, it has not been an accepted procedure until recently. This is because the methods of fat transfer have only fairly recently been understood.
Fat transfer techniques (also known as fat grafting) are used to enhance many other areas of the body, including the face, buttocks, biceps, triceps, calf muscles, breasts, hands and penis.
A fat transfer involves your own fat cells, which means that it's biocompatible and may help eliminate the risk of allergic reaction or rejection. Also, a body fat transfer feels and looks more natural than a body implant.
Fat transfer is a very “skill” oriented procedure. That is the plastic surgeon must understand how to transfer the fat in order to have the highest possible success rate. Currently, it is accepted that a skilled surgeon’s fat transfer take is approximately 60-70%. That is approximately 30-40% of the fat transferred is absorbed by the body.
Patients who area considering fat transfer should be in good overall health, both physically and emotionally, and have realistic expectations about what the procedure can and can't do for them. Patients who smoke should cease smoking several weeks prior to and following your procedure as smoking can slow the healing process increase your risk of complications and have a negative impact final result. Also, t here must be adequate fat deposits for the graft.
Depending on the amount of fat to be transferred the procedure is performed either under local or general anesthesia. These procedures should be performed by surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
If a large area is to enhanced, then the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The fat is harvested from the abdomen or thighs. But frequently, a patient undergoes “lipo-sculpture”, and the harvested fat is then transferred to the area to be enhanced. The fat can either be spun in a centrifuge or allowed to stand using gravity so that the fluid is removed prior to the transfer. The technique will vary from one surgeon to another. Both will work!
The process of fat “acceptance” is like any processes of graft take. The first several days are crucial to this process. The body generally “sends” tiny blood vessels in the first 3-4 days to supply the transferred fat much needed blood supply. It is likely that this is the crucial period, which most fat cells can die. The surgeon should stress to the patient that there should not be any pressure on the grafted site for a period of at least 2-3 weeks. This allows the transplanted fat enough time to accept the new blood supply.
Another important step in the process of fat transfer is the method itself. It is highly dependent on the surgeon’s skill and experience. The surgeon should know when to not place any more fat in a given area since too much fat can cause the demise in the area of fat transfer. Another words, too much fat can “asphyxiate” the transferred fat causing more fat to be absorbed causing an unsatisfactory result.
Typically, the area that has the most pain and soreness is the area was lipo-suctioned. The fat transfer site normally is bruised for a period of 2-4 weeks. The swelling will last between 3-6 weeks in the fat recipient site, and 2-4 months in the donor sites
Complications from fat transfers are rare. The most common include bruising, swelling, redness, fatty bumps beneath the skin, uneven skin texture, infection, an abscess, excessive bleeding, and scarring.