The removal of fat from one area by liposuction – then placing that fat into another area – is one of the fastest growing aesthetic surgical procedures, and for good reason. Not only does fat grafting improve areas that have lost volume or to correct depressions after trauma, removal of a mass, or prior surgery, but there is a double benefit of removing fat from areas of the body that have more “volume”.
There are many instances where fat grafts can be used, such as to fill deeper wrinkles of the face or to restore volume to the temples and cheeks. It can be used to smooth out irregularities in the breast or abdomen after prior surgery. One of the most common areas in which it is currently used is for butt augmentation, sometimes known as a “Brazilian Butt Lift”. Fat grafts are frequently combined with other aesthetic procedures, such as face lifts, eyelid surgery, or (excisional) buttock lifts.
Regardless of the area being treated with fat grafts, the technique is similar. First, fat is harvested from areas of excess using standard liposuction technique. The fat is then prepared by straining, rinsing, or spinning. The resultant graft is then placed in small syringes and injected with fine cannulas. The scars from both the liposuction and the fat grafting, therefore, are quite small, unless the fat grafting procedure is combined with other procedures. Fat grafting procedures can be done under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia depending on the amount to be done and any concurrent procedures. Recovery is generally rapid – in most cases patients are ready to return to most normal activities in a week or so. Your surgeon may recommend “overcorrecting” the grafted area, as in most cases a small amount of the grafted fat volume may melt away over the first three months. After that time, however, the remaining fat grafts should provide permanent improvements.