Body Augmentation with Autologous Fat Transfer
Gone are the days when going under the knife was the only way to increase or change the size of the face, breasts, buttocks, calves, etc. Natural fat transfer, or body augmentation, is growing in popularity as it is a great alternative to implants and gives a natural-looking enhancement! Fat transfer, otherwise known as fat grafting, takes fat from one area of the body, where we do not want the fat or can spare it, and moves it to another area of the body, where we do want it. It is a redistribution of fat with the purpose to augment or fill in volume-deficient areas. As the tissue is coming from the same patient that it is being transferred to, fat transfer is often referred to as “autologous fat transfer”. (Autologous means of cells or tissues obtained from the same individual.) Fat transferred is the ideal filler to add volume where it is desired as it is a safe, long-lasting, and well-tolerated procedure that achieves natural-looking results.*
Why use Fat Transfer for Body Augmentation?
For breast, calves or buttock augmentation, fat transfer is a great alternative to implants. Fat transfer can help in cases where an implant is not necessary or may yield ‘unnatural’ looking results. Fat grafting is also a good alternative for patients who prefer a subtle augmentation rather than a more dramatic increase in enhancement. Plus, fat grafting allows for body augmentation without introducing any foreign material into the body. For facial or hand enhancements, fat transfer is also a great alternative to dermal fillers. Fat transfer can help where dermal fillers may be too costly. Furthermore, fat grafting is a better option if the patient prefers a longer-lasting result rather than having regular top-ups.
Benefits of autologus Fat Transfer
Fat grafting can add fat where it is wanted. For example, an increase in breast size. Most of the volume of a woman’s breast is fat tissue. Transferring fat to the breast adds volume while using tissue that is natural for the female breast.
Fat grafting can replace fat where fat has been lost. For example, facial fat is lost with ageing. A facial fat transfer restores the lost fat with the tissue that was lost, mostly in the cheeks and the area around the eyes.
Fat transfer is a minimally-invasive method for a subtle facelift and facial rejuvenation.
The procedure has low risks. The fat is obtained by virtue of Tumescent Liposuction, a very safe medical office-based procedure with short recovery times.
The transferred fat is long-lasting. Other popular dermal fillers typically last between 6 and 24 months and patients need to come back for regular top-ups. Fat grafting allows for more long-lasting results.
2in1: The patient can have liposuction and fillers (bigger breasts, lifted buttocks, etc.) ‘in one go’.
Fat used for transfer is available in large volumes and at a lower cost. The body’s own fat can be harvested and used in multiple body areas at a lower cost than the cost of other fillers. (For example Facial Fillers are charged at ZAR1’500-3’000 per millilitre.
The procedure uses your own tissue, which minimises any chance for adverse or allergic reactions to foreign substances.
Implants are not needed. Fat grafting allows for body augmentation without introducing any foreign material into the body.
Fat grafting can help treat other conditions like scars, dimples, etc.
The transferred fat has other benefits. We now know fat tissue to contain numerous ‘stem cells’ which can assist with other incidental conditions in the treated area/s such as scars and pigmentation changes.
* Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.
Fat Transfer can be used for:
Natural Breast Augmentation – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of breasts.
Breast reconstruction – Fat transfer after e.g. lumpectomy.
Correction of ‘defects’ – Fat transfer to correct uneven breasts and to hide obvious signs of breast implants. For further details on Breast Augmentation, contact us at CapeMAC.
Calf, Hands & Chest Enhancement
Calves or Chest Augmentation – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of the muscles on the lower leg or the chest.
Rejuvenation of Hands – Fat transfer to fill in sunken tissue. For further details on Calf, Hands and Chest Enhancements, contact us at CapeMAC.
Facial Filling & Sculpting
Facial Enhancements (Facial areas that appear creased and sunken) – Fat transfer to fill cheeks, plump lips, fill in lines and wrinkles. For further details on Facial Filling and Sculpting, contact us at CapeMAC.
Buttock Augmentation (Brazilian Butt Lift) – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of the buttock. For further details on Buttocks Enhancements, contact us at CapeMAC.
How is the Fat Grafting Procedure done?
While fat grafting is a 2in1 procedure combining Liposuction and Fillers, it can be explained as a three-stage process: (1) Harvesting of fat: During the first step, (excess) body fat is removed from areas where it is not wanted or can be spared. Typical areas include the abdomen, chest, tights or buttocks. (2) Processing of fat: The harvested fat is then washed and purified as preparation for the actual transfer. The prepared tissue can be further mixed with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to enhance the effects of the transferred tissue. (3) Injection of fat: The harvested fat is carefully injected into the treatment site, an area of the body, where fat is needed to add more volume in order to achieve a desired new shape or to reconstruct a body part where fat has been lost. Typical areas include the breasts, buttock, face, and hands. It may be necessary to repeat the fat grafting procedure a few times to achieve the desired result of the overall treatment.
1) Harvesting of Fat
You and your doctor will decide on which areas are best for fat removal. You are given a sedative to calm you down (depending on your level of anxiety) and then the anaesthetic fluid is slowly infused into the fat layer to be treated. The anaesthetic fluid numbs the areas to be treated and also helps to ‘emulsify’ the fat, thereby ensuring easier removal of the tissue. It also helps to minimise post-operative bruising and bleeding. The Doctor will then create a small incision in the area for fat removal and, using a sterile technique, insert a cannula connected to a syringe to carefully extract fat (liposuction). After the procedure, patients require a relatively short period of observation in a recovery room.
2) Processing of Fat
The processing includes purification and transfer of fat cells. Once enough fat has been obtained from the donor area, the fat is purified. The purification may involve the use of a centrifuge to spin the fat or a filtration device to remove other unwanted tissue from the fat cells. The fat cells are then transferred into small syringes that will later be used for the fat injection. We may mix some prepared PRP with the prepared tissue before the transfer, depending on the area to be treated and the desired outcome.
3) Injection of Fat
After the receiving area has been prepared for the fat injection, the Doctor will insert a specially designed needle or cannula into the incision point of the site being treated. The injection needle is typically passed in and out of the tissue multiple times, carefully depositing a fine line of fatty tissue parcels in the natural tissue planes each time the needle or cannula is withdrawn. This process is repeated until the desired correction has been achieved. The grafted area will then be softly massaged to finalise the desired contour and help achieve a natural-looking result. Depending on the area being treated, the Doctor will place a dressing or bandage over the grafted area.
The procedure is done in a theatre facility. Some degree of conscious sedation may be administered, together with adequate analgesia (pain medications). We will make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible. The total fat grafting procedure commonly takes between 3 and 5 hours to complete– depending on the area being treated with the grafts and the volume of fat that will be removed. You can go home on the same day if all is stable after the fat transfer procedure. Usually, patients are discharged home about 2 hours after completion of the fat transfer.*
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Frequently asked questions
Which areas do women most commonly have Fat Transfer treatment done to
Which areas do men most commonly have Fat Transfer treatment done to?
Am I a suitable candidate?
Which areas of my body will be used to take the fat from?
What are the risks associated with fat transfer?
Does the fat transfer require hospital admission?
How long does fat grafting take?
How much fat can be transferred?
Can I go home on the same day?
Even though you will be able to move about unassisted, it is essential to have a friend or family member fetch and drive you back home after the treatment. We also strongly recommend that you don’t drive yourself for the first 24 hours after your fat grafting treatment.
When can final results be seen?
What can I do to help ensure a quick recovery?
What is the downtime?
Overall, fat grafting is one of the easiest operations to recover from and most patients who undergo a fat grafting procedure to areas other than the face return to work in about 1 or 2 days. Facial fat transfer patients feel more comfortable with taking a week off. At CapeMAC, we usually recommend that our patients take between 3 to 5 days off after fat grafting. During this time we ask patients to rather stay at home and relax. The less active you are, the less swelling or bruising you will experience and the sooner you will recover and see your final result. We do insist that you move about regularly though, so as to prevent any complications after fat grafting such as blood clots from remaining sedentary for prolonged periods of time. If you are pain-free and fully ambulant, then you can always return to work earlier. Keep in mind: Patients who take the full week off end up ahead because they look and feel better sooner.*
What is the recovery time?
When can I embark on air travel?
When can I exercise?
However, on the day after the procedure, take a short easy walk. This promotes blood flow and healing. You might also engage in very mild exercise if you feel up to it in the days after the procedure. Please consult your Doctor for further advice in this regards.
We hope that this helps you understand a little more about Autologus Fat Transfer and assists you in making a better choice for your aesthetic treatments. To find out if Fat Grafting treatment is the right hair removal option for you, please contact us at Cape Medical Aesthetics Centre. Also, if you might still feel anxious about Autologus Fat Transfer, Dr Manoj Bagwandeen will be glad to discuss any queries and questions you may have. You are welcome to visit with us at CapeMAC in Plattekloof, Cape Town for more information and to get further advice on looking and feeling even better.
* Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.