Why Fat Grafting?
Fat Transfer or Fat Grafting is a process where fatty tissue is removed from one area of the body, purified, and placed in another area of the body to enhance or give volume where needed. How the procedure is performed and the results possible depend upon the area to be enhanced and the amount of fat needed to get the result you desire.
Fatty tissue is composed of living cells- cells that need nourishment to survive. The key to getting a good result in fat transfer is to maximize the ability of the fatty cells to survive the transfer process and receive nourishment in their new locale before they “starve”. Houston Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lee Steely is an expert in maintaining viable fatty cells as well as placing fat grafts for great results. Using gentle harvesting, washing, and placement techniques, Dr. Steely has been able to achieve remarkable results that potentially last a lifetime.
Fat Grafting Before and After
The Fat Grafting Process
Fat grafting should be thought of as a surgical procedure. Some smaller graft placements can be performed under local anesthesia, while larger grafting procedures require sedation by an anesthesiologist. After your consultation with Houston plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Lee Steely, a detailed plan will be formulated for your fat grafting procedure. Fat grafting is often accompanied by other procedures such as liposuction and breast and face procedures to give a proportionate look.
For smaller fat grafting procedures, local anesthesia accompanied with oral medication is used for comfort. Dr. Steely begins by numbing the areas where fat is harvested as well as where fat will be deposited. A slender cannula is used to harvest that fat. The fat is then separated and processed to give the highest possible fat graft “take”. The fat is then carefully placed in the site to be enhanced with another slender cannula that allows placement of minute amounts of fat at each pass- further enhancing the ability of fat to survive. Recovery is quick and you may return to work after a day or so, and strenuous activity after a couple of weeks.
Initially, there will be swelling from the procedure, but after a few days, you should begin to see your results. Not all of the fat survives, but what remains after several weeks will likely be there to stay.
Good Candidates for Fat Grafting
Fat grafting is a suitable treatment for those who have an adequate amount of excess fat that can be used to enhance another area of the body. Patients should be in good physical health and have realistic expectations. An initial examination will be performed to help determine if fat grafting is the right surgical treatment to address your specific needs.
Ideal candidates are healthy, have a stable body weight, and have no conditions that could affect post-procedure healing. Additionally, candidates must not be pregnant or breastfeeding. Candidates must be willing to follow aftercare instructions in order to ensure that the transferred fat survives in its new location.
Your Fat Grafting Consultation
During your initial visit, Dr. Steely will listen to your goals and tell you how fat grafting can achieve them. The consultation will involve discussing the details of the procedure and answering your questions. Details like preparation for the procedure, its benefits, and the recovery period will be covered in this discussion.
Dr. Steely will evaluate your medical history and physical health to ensure that the fat grafting procedure is right for you. He will also perform a physical examination. This will help him make sure that there is sufficient excess body fat for transfer.
Once you decide to undergo fat grafting and Dr. Steely has determined that the procedure is a safe choice, he will develop a surgical plan. A date will be set for your fat grafting procedure.
Fat Transfer and Fat Grafting FAQ
What Areas of the Body can be Fat Grafted?
Using your body’s own fat is a tremendous advantage in that essentially anywhere on the body can be a potential site for fat grafting. Face, buttocks, hands, breasts can all be considered great sites for volume enhancement with your own fat.
What Happens to the Fat that Doesn’t Survive?
Some of the fat does not survive the transfer process. The amount is variable depending upon the amount transferred and the site being enhanced, but fat that does not survive is reabsorbed by the body and eliminated.
Can I Have Fat Transfer instead of a Breast Implant for my Breast Augmentation?
Fat transfer has been used in the breast for everything from small contour defects to more generalized augmentations. It is Dr. Steely’s opinion that a fat transfer into the breasts for enough volume to mimic a breast implant of any but the smallest size yields an unacceptable result in shape and feel. Dr. Steely reserves fat transfer to the breasts to correct contour deformities to achieve symmetry.
Do I have to Go To Sleep for Fat Grafting or Harvesting?
Depending upon the site to be grafted and the amount of tissue needed to be harvested, many fat harvesting and fat grafting procedures can be performed under local anesthesia.
How Much Does Fat Grafting Cost?
The cost of a fat grafting procedure will depend on the amount of fat transferred. Additionally, price can be impacted by aspects of the procedure like anesthesia fees, total surgical time, and the specific techniques utilized.