A fat transfer is a medical procedure in which a patient’s own adipose tissue is taken from one area and transplanted to an area to which the patient would like an increase in volume (often the breast, lips or buttocks). It is generally a minimally invasive procedure and is a common alternative to breast implants, butt implants and collagen treatments. It is often thought to be more effective than artificial fillers in the face, because although the body often absorbs a portion of the transplanted fat, it generally responds less drastically to it’s own tissue and the transplanted fats that are not absorbed can remain for years to permanently ad volume and shape.
With the increasing popularity of liposuction and the subsequent innovations in liposuction technology, it has become far easier to access fat and remove it from the body. While dermal fillers are often absorbed by the body within in an average of 6 months, only a percentage of fat from a patient’s own body will be absorbed and more lasting changes can be achieved.
Some of the best donor sites for fat transfer include the inner thighs and lower abdomen. These are also areas where people commonly do not mind the removal of a small amount of fat. Fat transfers are often performed to augment the butt or breasts, and is sometimes used as cheek implants, chin implants, to increase the size of the penis and correct inverted nipples.
Studies show that the body may absorb 40% – 60% of transplanted fat, so in anticipation of this surgeons generally add more than is necessary. Because of the extra fat and bloating, patients must get plenty of bed rest for the first week and may need to wear compression garments for a month or more as directed by their physician – depending on the area of the body to which fat has been transferred. Many patients are able to resume working after about a week, but should refrain from strenuous exercise for 6 weeks or more as guided by the advice of their surgeon.