The irony of staying in shape as we age is that keeping our bodies sleek and fit may actually make our faces look older.This dilemma was aptly described in a quote attributed to the iconic French actress, Catherine Deneuve, who proclaimed, “After a certain age, a woman must choose between her fanny or her face.”

But that was then. Now you don’t have to choose between the fanny and the face. In fact, you can use the fat from your fanny to make your face look lovely, revitalized and youthful.

Welcome to the wonderful world of fat grafting, otherwise known as autologous fat transplantation! The more you know about this remarkable anti-aging and aesthetic technique, the better prepared you will be to decide if this is the right rejuvenation method for you.

What Is Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting is the process of using autologous fat to plump up the cheeks, midface, or other areas of the body to improve aesthetics and/or compensate for the fat and volume lost during aging, weight loss, or injury. Autologous fat is fat that has been taken from your own body. Because it is already part of you, a fat graft will not be rejected by your immune system when it’s transferred to the site you wish to volumize.

As part of your fat-grafting consultation with Dr. Julio Garcia, a fat transfer surgeon las vegas , you will not only discuss what areas of your body you would like to improve by adding fat, but also which fatty areas you’d like to minimize by using it for fat grafting.

When Can I Use Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting can be used:

  • As soon as you notice age-related volume loss in your face
  • After a major weight loss that makes you look gaunt
  • During a facelift, to make your results look more natural
  • After an injury or surgery
  • When you’re ready to make an aesthetic improvement

Where Can a Fat Graft Be Applied?

A fat graft can be applied to most areas of the body or the face where you would like more volume. Some of the most common areas that can benefit from a fat graft are:

  • Mid-face and cheeks — adds volume and youth
  • Cheekbones — builds them higher, to create a mini face lift
  • Wrinkles and creases — fills them in, smooths them out
  • Tear troughs — fills in the hollows, rejuvenating the eyes
  • Buttocks — adds volume to a Brazilian Butt Lift
  • Breasts — can be used instead of implants during a breast augmentation; also used for post-mastectomy breast reconstruction
  • Hips — creates a more hour-glass figure
  • Legs — makes skinny legs more shapely
  • Hands — fills out age-related volume loss
  • Feet — restores foot pads on bony feet
  • Contour defects — fills in pits and irregularities that resulted from an injury or scar
  • Wounds or scars — can aid in healing

Where Does the Fat Come From?

One of the bonuses of fat grafting — as opposed to using dermal fillers to plump up your face — is that you not only get a rejuvenated face, you can also remove fat from an area where it is unwanted, such as:

  • Abdomen
  • Submentum (under the chin chin)
  • Jowls
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Back
  • Bra area
  • Upper arm
  • Or any other area where you have excess fat

What Happens During a Fat Grafting Procedure?

There are three major steps that occur during a fat-graft:

  1. Liposuction or a syringe is used to extract fat from the donor area.
  2. The fat is processed and purified using decanting and centrifugation.
  3. The purified autologous fat is injected into the areas that require more volume.

What Kind of Liposuction Is Used to Remove the Fat?

When removing fat for grafting, Dr. Garcia will use a tumescent liposuction technique. Because it is important to maintain the integrity of the fat cells, your fat grafting surgeon will not use popular modalities such as lasers or ultrasound energy, which kill fat cells. Fat cells need to be alive in order to create volume in a treated area.

A fat-graft plastic surgeon chooses very small liposuction cannulas (suction tubes) to remove the fat manually. Many patients opt to do a full liposuction procedure and an autologous fat-graft transfer at the same time.

Combining cosmetic surgeries and procedures during one treatment session minimizes downtime and recovery. Common donor sites are the submentum (under the chin), jowls, or fat bulges on the abdomen, hips, thighs, backs or arms. If you don’t want to donate any more fat than you need, Dr. Garcia may be able extract enough autologous fat by using a small syringe instead of liposuction.

How Much Autologous Fat Will I Need?

The amount of autologous fat that must be removed will vary depending on where the fat is going to be placed and how much volume you need.

Hands or Feet: 10 cc to 20 cc

Face: 10 cc to 100 cc

Breasts (2): 50 cc to 800 cc

Hips (2): 200 cc to 600 cc

Buttocks cheeks (2): 400 cc - 2600 cc

How Is the Fat Added to My Face or Other Areas?

Using a syringe and a blunt needle, Dr. Garcia will inject small droplets of the processed, purified fat throughout the treatment area. The injections place the droplets into the subcutaneous tissue — a layer of connective tissue that lies directly below the skin. The rich blood supply of the subcutaneous tissue nourishes the injected fat cells so that they can survive and the fat graft “takes.”

Will I Need to Undergo General Anesthesia?

Both the fat extraction and the fat grafting can be performed using only local anesthesia. Twilight or general anesthesia can also be chosen, if desired.

What Are Some Side Effects of Fat Grafting?

The side effects associated with autologous fat grafting are the same as those for dermal fillers and liposuction: Temporary soreness, swelling, and possible redness or bruising. These should resolve within a few days to two weeks, at most.

Is Fat Grafting Permanent?

Fat grafts, like other dermal fillers, are eventually metabolized by the body. Within a few months, some percentage of the injected fat cells will die. But in most patients, a well-performed fat graft will continue to give volume and lift to the treated area forseveral years, which is significantly longer than dermal fillers. Many patients opt for touch ups to keep their rejuvenation looking fresh over the long term.

Does Fat Grafting Look Natural?

Fat grafting not only looks natural, it feels natural. And that's because it is natural: It's all you. In the hands of an expert plastic surgeon, fat grafting is a wonderfully efficient procedure that can keep both your fanny and your face looking smooth, contoured and youthful for years to come.

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