What is a fat transfer?
A fat transfer—also known as fat grafting, autologous fat transfer, fat injections, or lipofilling—takes fat from one part of your body to help shape another. During this procedure, your surgeon may remove fat from the following areas:
A fat transfer can add volume to different parts of your body and give you a more toned appearance. Though it isn’t a weight loss-procedure, fat grafting can plump desired areas.
If you want to learn more about a fat transfer—or schedule a consultation with a fat transfer surgeon in the Lehigh Valley—then contact St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Fat grafting surgery candidates include adults with the following characteristics:
- Sufficient amounts of fat
- Facial wrinkles
- Bony hands
- Flat buttocks
Note that a fat transfer isn’t for everyone–especially if you’re planning significant weight loss. However, if your weight is stable and you want a solution for lost fat volume, your surgeon can transfer fat to the following areas:
- Under eyes
Schedule a consultation with a St. Luke’s fat transfer surgeon in the Lehigh Valley to determine if fat transfer surgery is right for you.
Getting a fat transfer can positively impact your wellbeing and self-confidence. The following list includes some of the most commonly reported benefits:
- Enhanced waist-to-hip ratio (“hip dip” fat transfer from stomach to buttocks)
- Increased buttocks size (fat transfer from stomach to buttocks)
- Reconstructed breasts (breast fat transfer)
- Improved facial and hand wrinkles (face fat transfer, hand fat transfer, or undereye transfer)
- Heightened cheekbones (face fat transfer)
- Repaired facial scars (face fat transfer)
In addition to improving your body image, having a fat transfer is an effective way to give you a more youthful appearance.
As with all surgeries, fat transfer surgery has risks. Some of them include the following:
- Fat embolism
- Fluid buildup
Your surgeon will review a complete list of risks before getting your consent.
Before the procedure
In the time leading up to your fat transfer at St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, you can take steps to make your procedure as safe as possible. These include discussing the following topics at your surgical consultation:
- Goals and expectations
- Surgical options
As part of your consultation, your surgeon will also do a complete evaluation—which may include the following items:
- Ordering lab work
- Taking “before” photos for comparison
- Assessing medical conditions, allergies, and medical limitations
- Reviewing medications, supplements, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
A week before the procedure, you can prepare at home in the following ways:
- Filling outstanding prescriptions
- Purchasing any medical supplies as needed
- Coordinating transportation and meals as needed
- Staying hydrated
You should arrive early on the day of your procedure to avoid travel delays.
After the procedure
It generally takes around six months to see the results of your fat transfer. Initially, the results may be obscured by swelling and bruising—and there will be a scar from the incision. You also may have trouble with certain types of mobility, depending on your incision sites.
After the surgery, approximately 70% of the transferred fat will remain intact. Though your body may change due to aging, the results of fat transfer typically last for many years.
Your St. Luke’s fat transfer surgeon will customize your procedure based on your desired treatment results. The typical recovery milestones include the following:
- One day after surgery: You may experience soreness, swelling, and bruising. For the pain, you can take prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. You may have limited mobility—but this should improve as your body heals.
- Two to three days after surgery: Your swelling, bruising, and pain will peak. You should continue to wear compression garments (as needed) to help with swelling.
- One to two weeks after surgery: Your swelling, bruising, and pain should be decreasing. If you have a sedentary job, you may return to work. You may need additional recovery time if your job is more strenuous.
- Two to three weeks after surgery: You should be able to resume all regular activities, including exercise. While your incision site may still be red, it should be healed—and will continue to lighten over time. If you’ve had a face fat transfer, you may use makeup to hide any residual signs of bruising.