Fat Transfer

Fat Transfer (Fat Grafting), San Francisco

What is fat transfer (fat grafting)?

Fat Transfer, Fat Grafting or Fat Injection, as it is sometimes known, is a fairly recent advance in facial rejuvenation surgery. It is the process of literally harvesting your body’s own fat and using it to restore facial volume.

Fat transfer is an ideal treatment to rejuvenate and increase volume in the face to regain a more youthful looking appearance. It is also recommended for use in lip augmentation and rejuvenation.

The fat transfer process involves harvesting fat cells from one part of your body and transferring them into another, usually the mid-face, lips, chin and cheeks. Fat transfer can also be used to augment breasts and buttocks.

What are the benefits of fat transfer (fat grafting) over other facial fillers?

Facial volume restoration has previously relied on materials grown and harvested in labs. These fillers are often re-absorbed by the body over time necessitating in repeat injections.

These fillers have a well-established place in helping to restore volume to facial structures, however they have their drawbacks. They are expensive, they usually require repeat placement, and often don’t feel natural and can be seen through the skin.

Alternatively, with fat transfer you are harvesting your body’s own fat and using it to restore volume. This technique has several advantages:

  • Longer lasting than using lab-grown fillers
  • Results look and feel more natural
  • Invisible underneath the skin
  • Minimally invasive procedure performed under sedation or general anaesthetic
  • Day procedure usually requiring no hospital stay

Stem cells make fat transfer the ideal facial rejuvenation filler.

Recent study and science into the profound effects of stem cells on the biology of the skin have lead to increasing evidence that your own fat is the ideal filler material.

Stem cells (the type that improve circulation and elasticity to the skin) are most abundant in fat cells. The cells are transferred during fat transfer operations in great quantity and most often improvements in skin quality are attributed to the effects of these stem cells. This is the only currently FDA approved use and way to transfer stem cells for aesthetic surgery reasons.

Though European surgeons may have pioneered the fat transfer technique, it has certainly been more widely adopted and studied by American surgeons.

Am I a good candidate for fat transfer?

If you have moderate facial aging, or you have had a facelift previously, and do not wish to undergo another surgical procedure, then fat transfer is an ideal form of non-surgical facial rejuvenation. The procedure will completely customized based on your own individual requirements. You may also require facial sculpting, or fat removal from specific areas to create a balanced contour depending on your desired result.

Are stem cells involved in the fat transfer process? What is a “stem cell facelift”?

Stem cells are naturally occurring cells that self-renew and have a special ability to transform themselves into specialized cell types to rejuvenate the skin. As part of your fat transfer procedure you may elect to use your own stem cells – this is sometimes known as a “stem cell facelift” however; it is not technically a facelift at all, just a more comprehensive “entire face” approach to facial rejuvenation via fat transfer. Read more about fat transfer using stem cells here.

Where is the fat taken from?

The fat is taken from your own body’s fat stores – usually from the abdomen, thighs, or hips, via a liposuction method. If you have chose to have a stem cell fat transfer, the fat is then placed into a spinning centrifuge that is used to separate out your own body’s stem cells – a process that allows stem cells to be extracted and concentrated. The concentrated fat is then injected into the facial area/s to be treated along with your own non-concentrated fat.