What is fat grafting?
Fat transfer, also known as fat grafting, fat injections, or lipofilling, is a versatile procedure that uses a person's own fat to fill areas needing volume-enhancement such as the face, breast, buttock and hands. Over time ageing causes the face to gradually lose volume and develop wrinkles resulting in a deflated tired look. Fat grafting creates a more youthful appearance in the face by removing unwanted excess fat from other parts of the body and repurposing it by strategically placing it in areas to restore lost facial volume and help smooth out wrinkles. Fat transfer surgery is also used in other parts of the body where there is a need for volume enhancement or to reduce the signs of scarring, such as breasts, buttock or after soft tissue trauma. Fat fills are often performed as an adjunct to other procedures such as face lift surgery, but can also be performed alone. Dr Isabel do Vale creates a personalised treatment plan to ensure fat grafting results that align with each patient's individual aesthetic requirements.
Length of procedure: 1 hour, depending on areas to be treated.
Type of anaesthesia: Local or General anaesthetic.
Length of stay: 24 hours
What to expect post-op: Initial swelling, bruising and a feeling of tightness in the treated area. The donor area may have bruising, swelling, tenderness and may drain some anaesthetic fluid for up to 24 hours.
Recovery time: Swelling usually improves from the third post-operative day. Social activities can usually resume after about one week but may require some make-up coverage initially.
Who might benefit from fat grafting?
Aesthetic indications for fat transfer include sunken cheeks, the loss of fat from the cheekbones, deep grooves running from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and in some instances the junction between the lower eyelids and the cheek. Fat grafting can also be used for lip volumization. In addition, lipofilling can be used to smooth out all types of irregularities, such as those resulting from poorly performed liposuction or traumatic injuries.
What does fat grafting involve?
Dr do Vale will take you through a full consultation and examination to establish your reasons for fat transfer surgery as well as your aesthetic goals and desires. Dr do Vale will also discuss the details of the procedure and potential risks with you, before finalising your treatment plan.
The necessary fat is obtained by collecting excess fat from one area of the body through a limited liposuction/liposculpture via one or several 3 to 5 mm incisions. It is normally taken from the abdomen or inner thigh. The aspirated fat is processed by centrifuging, filtering or rinsing. The result is pure liquid fatty tissue which is ready for fat injection.
The fat is then meticulously injected into target areas using specialised, fine injecting cannulae. This advanced surgical precision allows these transferred fat cells to be injected in minute deposits in the tissues so that the injected fat is evenly distributed and adequately surrounded by healthy tissue. Carefully placing transplanted fat in close contact with the surrounding tissues. This helps ensure that it is supplied with oxygen and nutrients and will generally survive at the treated site for years to come. It is generally expected that approximately 70% of the transferred fat will remain viable, and the rest may be absorbed by the body. For this reason, treated areas may need to be over injected initially, and fat grafting may require more than one session to achieve the ultimate desired result. Dr do Vale uses her knowledge of anatomy and experience in fat grafting to achieve a pleasing and natural result.
Recovery after fat grafting:
Immediately after the fat grafting procedure, there will be some degree of swelling or bruising, but generally, only minimal discomfort is experienced. The treated areas may appear red for 48 hours, and there may be some residual puffiness for a few weeks. Most patients will take about 1 week to recover, after which they are happy to resume work and social activity.
Patients will follow up with Dr do Vale and have post-op photographs taken to assess the result. To prolong the aesthetic result of the fat grafting procedure, it is important that you follow a good skincare regimen and use daily sun protection.
For more information on fat grafting or to find out if it’s the right procedure for you, request a consultation below or call 0109003999 to schedule your detailed consultation with Dr do Vale.