Fat Transfer

A More Youthful Contour

Restore a more youthful contour to your face or hands with a fat transfer. This rejuvenating day-stay procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and is effective in just one or two treatments.

The procedure sees fat from your thigh harvested through a tiny hole, and placed in your cheek to restore youthful cheek contours that may have diminished with age.

This procedure can also be used to improve the appearance of aged hands.

What is fat transfer?

Also called fat grafting, this is a procedure which removes surplus fat cells from one area of the body and then re-implants it where needed. Fat transfer fills facial features with a patient’s own fat. The fat used for fat transfer is extracted from part of your body – typically the thigh – and injected into another area that requires plumping.

The advantage of fat transfer is that the fat comes from your own body, so you cannot develop an allergic reaction – unlike other external implant substances that are introduced into the body. Your body naturally accepts the injected fat.

Where can fat transfer be used?

Fat transfer can be used for correcting or improving facial scarring, volume and signs of ageing, such as sunken cheeks and facial lines. Fat transfer lasts longer in larger areas of non-movement, so while it is successful for the correction of grooves under the eyes and sunken cheeks, it may not be as successful for creating fuller lips. Fat transfer can also correct ageing of the hands, where the natural tissue is lost between the bones.

How is fat transfer performed?

Fat transfer is performed at The Skin Centre as a day-stay procedure. First the site for fat removal is prepared by injecting tumescent local anaesthetic. A cannula connected to a syringe is inserted through a tiny incision to carefully suck out fat. The fat is purified either by hand or mechanically to get fat cells for transfer. The area for the graft is prepared, and the needle or cannula is inserted into incision point of the site being augmented. Fat cells are carefully injected into area until the desired correction has been achieved.

After the procedure, avoid massage and excessive facial movement, as this will stop migration of the fat away from the desired areas of treatment. Paracetamol may be used for 24-48 hours to minimise inflammation.

The doctor will schedule to see you about a week after the procedure to check both the donor and recipient sites. A follow-up appointment 6-8 weeks later should see most of the swelling resolved and early results assessed. A repeat procedure may need to be performed if the desired outcome has not been achieved but this should not be within 6 weeks of the first graft.

What can I expect?

There will be swelling for about 3 days in your face and at the donor site, bruising. A bruise on the face is possible but unlikely. About 50% of the fat will be slowly reabsorbed over the first 6 weeks. What stays after that is permanent. The grafted fat is treated by your body as if is still in the donor area. You may lose additional native fat from your face as you age, but the grafted fat will behave like the donor site fat. Around 75% of patients will get enough fat from a single procedure to be satisfied with the result. If your face has lost a lot of fat with ageing, you may require one or two additional procedures. If you are a runner, we strongly advise you to give up this code and try alternate non-weight bearing exercise. Running causes fat depletion from the face and upper body.

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