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Fat Transfer

Also known as fat grafting, fat transfer is a procedure that uses liposuction to remove fat from an area on the body where the fat layer is thick. These fats deposits are collected and purified, then reinstated into another part of the body that needs volume. Board-certified plastic and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Paul Critelli, offers fat transfer surgery for patients throughout East Texas who desire a natural appearance. Common areas on the body where a fat transfer may be performed include the breasts, buttocks, lips and face. Fat transfers are performed to meet an aesthetic purpose. While the results are natural, beautiful and can last for years, some of the fat may be absorbed back into the body over time. Patients who desire a permanent result may consider silicone implants instead.

About the Surgery

During this procedure, fat is removed from the donor sites via liposuction. A cannula is inserted, which will remove the fat deposits so that they can be harvested and purified by a centrifuge device. During this process, only the healthy fat will be used for reinjection, which will then be prepared in syringes. The surgeon will slowly reinstate the fat into the body part where shape and contour are needed. During the injection process, the area will be slowly massaged so the fat deposits settle in compact layers for the best contour finish possible. Normally, multiple injections are necessary to create an even spread of fat and achieve an ideal outcome.

During/After Surgery

Fat transfer treatment is performed with general anesthesia when it covers larger areas while local anesthesia is used if the area to be treated is small. A good example of this is lip enhancement. Both methods will be treated as an outpatient treatment at UT Health Tyler. The procedure will cause swelling and bruising on both the removal and injection sites. These side effects will subside in a few days. Recovery time depends on several factors, including how many body parts were involved in the surgery, as well as how much fat was transferred. Scarring is generally minimal with this procedure as the incisions made are just big enough for the cannula to be inserted.


How long do results last?

A fat transfer procedure can give results that will last for years. While the concern of fat reabsorption is something to consider, a skilled surgeon will be able to maximize the outcome by using the tested techniques in terms of fat layering.

Loss of volume?

When properly performed, a fat transfer can last a long time. In areas where the fat does get resorbed, the area can continue to be tweaked. For patients who want to continue to have volume enhancement, but desire natural results (i.e., lip enhancement), this is an ideal procedure. This is especially the case for those who are not comfortable using an implant.

How about scarring?

Scarring is minimal during a fat transfer procedure. Any scars that remain will be small (either where the cannula or the syringe was inserted for the transfer). The incisions are usually placed in areas where they can be concealed by clothing.

Other treatments?

For loss of facial volume, there are treatments that may be considered that will also produce positive results. For wrinkle problems, an injectable filler may be suitable. These fillers may include collagen or hyaluronic acid. Every option can be discussed in detail during the initial consultation.