In a dream world, we don’t have fat pockets, but rather curves exactly where we want them. Well, hold on to your fat ladies, and get ready to live the dream! You can put those demonized “problem areas” to good use with a fat transfer procedure for the breasts, buttocks, calves or face. Yes, that fat you want to disappear can actually be aggregated to plump up lines and wrinkles, as well as other areas lacking robust curves while trimming the areas where it is most unsightly.
While it sounds too-good-to-be true, or too experimental, fat transfer is gradually increasing in popularity among plastic surgeons. According to 2015 statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were 18,135 fat grafting procedures to the breasts, 18,487 to the buttocks, and 48,059 to the face.
If you think the terms “natural” and “plastic surgery” don't necessarily roll off the tongue together often, that’s exactly what can be achieved with fat transfer – and yes, it’s a reality!
What is Fat Transfer?
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, fat transfer (also known as fat grafting or fat injection), is a “safe, long-lasting, well-tolerated procedure that produces natural-looking results. Every year, thousands of people undergo successful fat grafting procedures and are pleased with their outcomes.”. Can I get a woohoo?!
So What Can Realistically be Achieved with Fat Transfer?
Removing fat from one spot to augment another area can result in subtle changes to the overall body shape with natural-looking results.
For the face, deep lines, wrinkles, and even acne scars can be diminished with a dose of fat.
Elsewhere in the body, fat transfer can allow for more customization compared to implants however the augmentative properties are limited because you can only enhance so much at a time. But, by using a patient’s own fat, the plastic surgeon can add just enough to achieve your desired goals. For anyone with existing implants, fat transfer can also be used to enhance further or compensate for size differences between the breasts due to aging, asymmetrical sagging, etc.
Beyond the degree of customization, the advantage of using one’s own fat is that there is no risk of rejection; a consequence you may run into with an implant though it is rare. Fat from your body tends to take on the properties of the area in which it is injected into, which is also useful, as it blends with virtually anything surrounding it – other fat, tissue or even bone.
Unlike breast implants, many doctors are not yet comfortable with butt implant technology. According to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Adam Rubinstein based in Miami, whom I interviewed previously about illegal butt injections, fat transfer is, “the best way to create a natural contour, and carries the least amount of complications, but a patient has to have to have enough fat to do it. Implants are an alternative, but I don’t perform that procedure at my practice because it has a higher complication rate)
What Isn’t Feasible Through Fat Transfer
First, like Dr. Rubinstein mentioned, if you don’t have enough fat to harvest, you’re not a candidate. An experienced plastic surgeon knows where to seek out fat throughout your body, and can advise you on your particular situation to determine if you are in fact a good candidate.
For a breast augmentation, fat transfer is ideal only when the objective is a minimal size increase. If you desire a much larger cup size then breast implants would be recommended. This is because it’s more difficult to get larger volumes of the fat to “take” per Smart Beauty Guide’s procedural overview.
Fat has to be properly treated before being injected to ensure positive long-term results, which means that the process is more time-consuming than it would be to use prepackaged dermal filler. This makes facial fat transfers more expensive, but the results last (another plus for using the natural stuff)! However, patients should be advised that some fat is lost in the transfer process.
In researching the before-and-after photographic results of fat transfers to the buttocks, I must say that what I saw appeared to be pretty transformative, yet natural-looking. Pretty amazing! Now I’m wondering why I haven’t considered this for myself before?!
Please note that like any other surgery, fat grafting does carry risks such as inflammatory responses to fat in the buttocks, as well as reabsorption, irregularities and hardness. Studies are also being conducted to see the 10-year results to determine the long-term viability of fat transfer since this is a slightly new procedure in comparison to use of implants.
For top results, and to minimize such risks, seek the counsel of a board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon who is experienced in fat transfer. You want to find a plastic surgeon well-versed in the optimal ways to make your fat work for you. Now go on and rock some curves where you’ve always wanted them!