Fat can be a complicated subject. There are some areas of the body where having extra fat is undesirable, such as the abdomen and thighs. People do what they can to minimize fat in those areas, from watching what they eat to having the fat permanently removed with liposuction. While you might not want extra fat on your thighs or stomach area, having a bit more fat in other areas, such as the face, breasts and buttocks can be a good thing. There are several ways to plump up those areas, from using temporary fillers and implants to using your own fat.
While implants and fillers remain a popular option, fat transfer, or fat grafting, is also proving to be popular. It might not be right for everyone, but using fat instead of a filler or implant has a few advantages.
Removes Fat from Certain Areas
One of the big benefits of fat transfer is that the fat that is harvested comes from your own body. That means that if you have a problem area you’re not quite happy with, such as your tummy or love handles, your surgeon will remove the fat from that area, creating a slimmer or more sculpted look. The liposuctioned fat is then treated to remove impurities before it is injected into another area of the body.
Lasts Longer Than Fillers
Fat grafting is often used to add volume to areas of the face that have begun to look sunken or hollow. For example, it can be used to plump up the cheeks, just as an injectable such as JuvedermVoluma might be used. Voluma typically provides results that last about two years. The results from fat transfer can last considerably longer, and might be permanent.
Minimizes Chance of a Reaction
Although many fillers, such as Juvederm, are made from natural substances and have a low risk of causing an allergic reaction, the risk of a reaction occurring after a person is injected with his or her own fat is even lower, since the fat came from that person’s own body. Along with minimizing the chance of a reaction, injecting fat into an area to add volume can also create a more natural look.
When an implant is used in breast augmentation, there’s a chance that something known as capsular contracture will occur. As the body heals after the surgery, a capsule of scar tissue develops around the implant. In many cases, the capsule causes no problems. But, in some instances it can contract or shrink, squeezing the implant and impacting the appearance of the breasts. Since no capsule forms around transfered fat, there is a lower risk for complications.
Costs Less Over Time
The cost of a fat grafting procedure might be more upfront than the cost of a filler such as Voluma or another treatment option, as the cost can start around $3,500. But, since the treatment can provide long lasting or even semi-permanent results, the cost in the long run can be considerably lower for a fat grafting treatment than it is for fillers or other options.
It’s Not Perfect
Fat transfer or grafting does have numerous advantages over fillers or implants. But, it’s not a 100 percent perfect procedure, and it’s not necessarily the right call for every patient. For one thing, a person needs to have enough extra fat that can be liposuctioned away for the treatment to even be an option.
For another thing, the area of concern needs to be a lack of volume or fullness, either in the facial area or elsewhere on the body. Fat grafting won’t be very useful for a patient whose main concern is removing or reducing a few fine lines or wrinkles, for example.
Another potentially major drawback of fat grafting is that, although it can last for a long time in some cases, there’s no actual guarantee that it will last permanently nor is there anyway to say for sure how long the results will last. During the treatment, the surgeons will do everything in their power to handle the fat properly, so that the body doesn’t absorb too much of it.
In the area around Washington, DC, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. George Bitar can perform fat grafting to add volume to a variety of areas. If you think you would benefit from the procedure and want to learn more about it, call (703) 206-0506 today to schedule a consultation.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.