What is fat transfer to body?
Fat transfer surgery is also known as fat grafting or “lipofilling” and is an advanced body contouring technique designed to enhance volume in one part of the body with the simultaneous removal of fat from another part.
The fat grafting procedure is commonly performed at Centre for Surgery in London and involves the removal of excess fat deposits using liposuction from areas including the abdomen, thighs or back. The removed fat is then processed to remove impurities before being injected into another part of the body such as the breasts, buttocks, or calves. The fat transfer procedure is one of the most effective ways of volume enhancement without the need for artificial implants and can be used in patients for a wide range of applications including correcting loose or saggy skin as part of the ageing process or for patients who have lost significant amounts of weight and present with unsightly areas of volume loss. Research has also demonstrated that newly transferred fat cells also enhance the vascular supply and contribute to improving the quality of the skin as a result of the presence of growth factors and other nutrients which have a powerful anti-ageing effect. Fat grafting can also be used for scar revision and the use of micro fat and nano fat is well established for improving the appearance of a wide variety of scars including acne scars and atrophic scarring. The primary purpose of any type of fat transfer procedure is to restore soft tissue volume to the area where fat grafting is performed. For more information about lipofilling, click here.
Fat transfer surgery has evolved to become a very safe and effective surgical technique for the treatment of a wide range of aesthetic concerns with excellent long-term results. Fat transfer is a natural type of volume restoration as it does not involve the use of silicone implants or hyaluronic acid fillers and has become the technique of choice for patients who are not keen on the idea of using artificial substances for volume enhancement. In expert hands, surgeons can achieve a fat survival rate of at least 60 to 80% in appropriately selected patients. All types of fat transfer procedures are minimally invasive in nature without the need for extensive incisions and the recovery period is often much quicker compared with more traditional excess skin removal surgery. Our surgeons are experts in positioning incisions for fat transfer in natural body folds to minimise the appearance of scars. Most patients who have a fat transfer procedure often have great difficulty in identifying where their scars are located.
Centre for Surgery is home to some of the U.K.’s foremost fat transfer experts and are pioneers in carrying out Brazilian butt lift surgery using only the safest methods and is one of the most experienced centres for hybrid breast augmentation which involves the use of both silicone breast implants and breast fat transfer for precise contouring and volume enhancement of the breast.
Benefits of fat transfer surgery
Unlike more invasive types of cosmetic surgery, that transfer is a minimally invasive and effective combined treatment involving liposuction and fat transfer for natural volume enhancement using your body’s own fat.
By combining liposuction for the removal of excess fat from unwanted areas and the fat grafting to recipient areas for enhanced volume, the procedure is able to achieve remarkable body contouring results without prolonged downtime.
The fat grafting procedure is much shorter in duration compared with other types of more invasive surgery such as a tummy tuck and patients are able to achieve long-term results without the need for artificial materials such as hyaluronic acid filler or silicone implants.
Ideal candidates for fat lipofilling
Fat transfer is a commonly performed procedure at Centre for Surgery and our surgeons are known for achieving excellent outcomes for their patients. The best outcomes after that transfer surgery depend on selecting the appropriate candidate at the outset. Ideal patients for fat transfer should:
- Be in a good state of physical and mental health with no uncontrolled medical conditions such as diabetes
- Patients should be at or near their optimum body weight
- Patients have realistic expectations of what results to expect with fat rafting to the body
- Patients are looking for a long-lasting natural alternative to volume enhancement that does not involve the use of hyaluronic acid filler or silicone implants
- Patients would like to improve their body shape without more invasive surgery using a combination of liposuction and fat grafting
- Patients are keen to improve their overall skin quality and enhance their appearance through natural rejuvenation with their own body fat
What does fat transfer surgery involve?
Fat transfer surgery, whether it is carried out for breast or buttock enhancement or for more specialist applications such as scar revision involves a common series of steps as detailed below.
Liposuction fat removal – the first step in any fat transfer procedure involves liposuction for the removal of excess fat from areas such as the abdomen or inner thighs. The surgeon creates tiny incisions in the skin and then inserts fine and specialised lipo harvesting cannulas which are past in a to and fro fashion to gently extract the fat whilst preserving the fat cell architecture. Most cases of large volume fat transfer are carried out under a general anaesthetic although fat transfer involving smaller volumes such as fat transfer to the face can be easily carried out under a local anaesthetic.
Fat Processing – the second step involves specialist single-use fat processing kits which are designed to reduce any unwanted constituents of the fat including connective tissue and excess local anaesthetic fluid. Transfer to the face requires an additional step of centrifugation to remove any unwanted water from the fat.
Fat injection – the properly processed fat is then ready to be injected into the recipient areas. Depending on the type of body area, the surgeon uses specialised cannulas to precisely inject fat in a gentle manner to maximise fat graft viability. In all the transfer procedures, there is a maximum limit to the amount of fat that can be safely injected in a single setting. This is to preserve fat cell viability and minimise the risk of fat necrosis. It is a common process to carry out a top-up fat grafting in certain areas where required.
On average, fat grafting takes between one and three hours depending on the body area being treated. Our surgeons commonly combine fat transfer techniques with other types of cosmetic surgery. One of the most commonly used combinations is a facelift or mini facelift in conjunction with fat transfer to the face. Another example is liposuction with a tummy tuck with combined fat transfer to the breasts.
Fat transfer & fat grafting applications
Fat transfer techniques are among some of the most versatile cosmetic surgery procedures for correcting a wide variety of aesthetic and reconstructive concerns.
Examples of lipofilling applications include:
Fat grafting to the breasts – breast fat transfer is a highly effective procedure for the correction of volume loss after breastfeeding, the ageing process or significant weight loss. It is also an increasingly common technique of breast augmentation in those patients who are not keen on the idea of artificial silicone breast implants.
Brazilian Butt Lift is also known as a BBL and is one of our most commonly performed procedures at Centre for Surgery where we have helped to pioneer some of the safest and most effective techniques for large volume buttock fat transfer
Facial fat grafting is most commonly performed in conjunction with a facelift or mini facelift that can also be carried out on its own, especially in younger patients with good skin quality and minimal skin sagging. The procedure is able to correct volume loss affecting the cheeks temples and tear trough region and is a long-term solution compared with more temporary hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers.
Fat grafting techniques also play a vital role in correcting a wide variety of common conditions. Examples include:
Scar revision. Fat transfer for scar revision is a highly effective technique for improving skin quality and addressing contour deformities occasionally as a result of liposuction carried out abroad. Patients with acne scarring can also benefit from micro fat grafting in conjunction with other types of treatment such as Morpheus8 RF microneedling for the most common types of acne scars including the difficult to treat ice- pick scars.
Fat transfer can also be used for gynaecological applications including labia majora augmentation and treating vaginal atrophy in those undergoing menopause and suffering from vaginal dryness.
Potential risks and complications of Fat Grafting Surgery
When performed by experienced consultant plastic surgeons with some specialist expertise in body contouring, fat grafting is a very safe procedure with a very favourable risk profile. Nonetheless, all types of cosmetic surgery carry risks and fat grafting is no different. There are a number of side effects which patients should expect to experience after the lipofilling procedure including:
- Temporary numbness or paraesthesia
- Bruising and swelling which is temporary in nature and will resolve after the first 5 to 7 days
- A minimal degree of scarring thanks to incisions that are no longer than 3 to 4 mm in length
- A small amount of fat reabsorption which is a normal phenomenon that occurs with all that transfer procedures and most commonly occurs during the first couple of weeks
Complications of lipofilling
- Fat necrosis
- Haematoma or seroma
- Contour abnormalities which may necessitate a further fat grafting procedure
At your consultation, your surgeon will cover all the risks and complications associated with fat grafting and the precautions that are to be taken to minimise such risks. We encourage all patients to carry out as much research as possible so that they are fully informed about all aspects of the procedure.
How much does fat transfer cost?The cost of fat transfer surgery depends on the area of the body where liposuction is to be performed and where the fat is to be injected. Facial fat transfer under local anaesthetic starts from £2500.
A Brazilian butt lift is also known as a BBL and costs from £5995
What can I expect after that transfer surgery?Once the fat grafting procedure has taken place, you will be reviewed by a member of our post-operative nursing team one week following your procedure. At this appointment, your dressings will be removed and the surgical site will be inspected for evidence of adequate healing. Any permanent sutures that have been inserted will be removed at this appointment.
At the six week mark, you'll be reviewed by your surgeon to assess the results of the fat transfer procedure and to make sure that the results are in line with your expectations. Throughout your journey at Centre for Surgery, you have unlimited access to our expert post-operative nursing team who are on hand to answer any of your questions or concerns.
After-care is not an afterthought at Centre for Surgery and we pride ourselves on the quality of our post-operative care which has been described as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
What is autologous fat transfer surgery?Autologous fat transfer is the medical term used to describe fat grafting surgery. The term autologous refers to the fact that the harvested fat comes from the same patient and is injected into the same patient.
It, therefore, follows that all that grafting methods are in fact autologous fat transfer treatments.