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Fat Transfer

Fat grafting, also referred to as fat transfer or fat injections, is the surgical process by which fat is moved from one area of the body to another area.

The
problem

At Alpha Clinic fat grafting is used as a way to improve the appearance of the face, breast and hands. Fat also contains stem cells that help repair and regenerate skin and tissues from the inside making it a wonderful addition to any treatment.
Guy hugging lady from the back

The
procedure

The process of fat grafting involves three steps:

  1. Gentle liposuction to remove the fat
  2. Processing the fat
  3. Reinjecting the fat to the target area

The amount of fat injected is measured in cc’s and ultimately varies according to patient case specifics and the area of the body where the processed fat is being injected.

Common areas of fat grafting
Face (10cc – 50cc, total)

Facial fat transfer restores a youthful appearance by adding volume to hollowed out or wrinkled areas such as the area below the eye and the nasolabial folds. The injected fat has been scientifically proven to help rejuvenate the skin, smoothing out the surface and helping to repair scars. Jaw lines can be defined, volume added to the cheeks to give the appearance of higher cheek bones.

Breast (100-400cc, each breast)

Fat transfer into the breast increases the breast size by one or two cup sizes correcting breast asymmetry and naturally augmenting the breast. In reconstructive cases fat transfer helps repair radiation tissue damage and can treat breast implant capsular contractures. At Alpha Clinic fat is used to correct scar deformities from lumpectomy or breast reconstruction.

Hands (10-20cc per hand)
Fat transfer into the hand reduces wrinkles and rejuvenates appearance filling in the hollows and rejuvenating the skin. The fat reduces the veiny appearance and is permanent.

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FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers
This is a process in which fat from one area of the body is used to create lasting changes in other parts of the body and/or face (for example to fill in lines and irregularities, augment the breasts or buttocks).
Fat placed stays for years or sometimes even permanently.
Fatty tissue is extremely fragile and is easily damaged. Most techniques used to suction and place the fat traumatize the tissue causing unpredictable results. In our clinic we use a gentle technique and specific equipment to maximally preserve fat cells.
No particular donor area is better than another. We therefore remove fat from the area(s) that will give you the best improvement in contour, or where fat is most readily available (usually abdomen).
Yes, you can definitely graft fat around implants in the cheeks, chin, breasts, or elsewhere. Sometimes these implants can be visible through the skin and placing fat around the implants can disguise and soften the appearance of the implant, making it look much more natural.
Your body accepts the transferred fat as an integral part of you unlike silicone or other non-living implants. With fat transfer the fat immediately anchors to the surrounding tissues. Once it has a blood supply, the fat is extremely stable.
Complications are rare with fat grafting. However such problems as bleeding, infection, scarring, irregularities and placing too much or too little fat are possible.
The placement of tiny bits of fat requires multiple passes with the cannula. This tends to create a fair amount of bruising and swelling. In general, bruising will resolve in 2-3 weeks. Swelling where the fat grafts have been placed is usually acceptable in 2-3 weeks, but will take several months to completely heal. Swelling in the donor, or harvesting sites can take 3-6 months to completely resolve.
As you age and lose the fullness of youth, your face literally becomes smaller. The skin remains the same size, but the layer of supportive fat and connective tissue shrinks with time. Without the underlying structure, your skin retreats into wrinkles and folds. As the missing structure under the skin is restored with fat transfer, wrinkles and folds will become smaller or sometimes disappear.
Fat grafting to the breasts for augmentation requires a large volume of fat. Generally speaking, we can enlarge the breasts by one cup size per surgery. We can usually turn an A cup into a B cup, or a B cup into a C cup. Enlargement beyond one cup size usually requires additional procedures
Fat is a fragile tissue that can be easily damaged. The techniques used to harvest fat, washing it by removing the non-living components, and place the tissue in a fashion that ensures it will be close to a blood supply are extremely important. Generally about half the fat will survive.
We use such devices in cases where we feel the patient would benefit from external expansion, such as in very thin, small-breasted women. We recommend using the device to prepare the breast before surgery by expanding the “envelope” into which fat can be placed, and by helping to increase the blood supply. Such devices are not needed in every breast fat grafting case and the need is decided during the consultation.
Most patients will feel fairly well at about one week after surgery, and may return to work if they feel up to it.