When people first hear of fat transfer, they think it must be too good to be true. The cosmetic surgeon removes fat from a part of your body where you do not want it, such as the belly or the inner thighs, processes that fat, and injects put it somewhere you do want it, perhaps to fill in lines and wrinkles in your face. While it may seem too good to be true, fat transfer is a reality, and Dr. Jeannie Khavkin at Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery expertly performs several fat transfer procedures every month.
Fat transfer is an excellent choice for cosmetic rejuvenation because it has several advantages over traditional injectable fillers. The main limitation of temporary injectable fillers is that they do not last as long as you might like; even under the best circumstances they may only last for two years. Permanent injectable fillers last longer, but since they are made of artificial substances, they can cause allergic reactions in the skin. Since the filler is permanent, this can turn into a serious medical condition.
Fat transfer is the best of both worlds. Injected fat is technically considered a permanent injectable filler because the fat cells stay in the skin for a very long time. Since the injected fat is transferred from the patient himself/herself, there is no risk of an allergic reaction—it is a part of patient’s own body.
Perhaps the most important advantage of fat transfer is that the fat is harvested using liposuction. Fat transfer is essentially two cosmetic procedures in one: fat reduction through liposuction and a permanent injectable filler to correct lines and wrinkles.
The ideal candidate for fat transfer surgery is someone who is in generally good health and good spirits who has excess fat in some part of the body and fine lines, wrinkles, thin skin, or creases that they wish to change. Fat transfer works very well for “filling in crow’s feet around the eyes, laugh lines around the mouth, and lines in the forehead, both vertical and horizontal.
Since a relatively large amount of fat can be injected during the procedure, fat transfer is also useful for people who want additional volume in certain areas of the body. For example, fat can be placed in the chin, cheeks and/or lips to provide more volume in the face. This can change a person’s entire facial appearance, if that is desired. Relatively large amounts of a person’s own fat can be used as part of a breast enhancement procedure or Brazilian butt lift surgery. Fat can be used to contour and shape around surgical implants to provide a more natural look.
Lastly, fat transfer is a great treatment for aging skin. As people age, the skin of the face tends to become “thinner” as it loses fat. This can make people look gaunt or wasted. Fat transfer essentially replenishes that lost fat, making the face look fuller and more youthful. The effect can be enhanced even further with laser resurfacing, if needed.