At our plastic surgery practice in Chicago, IL, the focal point of our treatment philosophy is harmony. True beauty derives from developing a harmony between the way you look and the way it makes you feel inside. Loving the skin you’re in is powerful, and it opens up many new doors and possibilities when it radiates from your core. Autologous fat transfer, more commonly just called fat transfer or fat grafting, is a wonderful, safe way to shape areas of your body you’re not so happy with, while also naturally enhancing other areas of your body that make both your inner and outer beauty shine.
We all have those little pockets of unsightly body fat that no amount of diet and exercise ever seem to work off. The way body fat accumulates in certain areas and the way it stubbornly sticks around year after year can seem pretty unfair. Genetics, age, and whether you’re male or female are all factors you can’t control, but they all play a role in the way your body fat is distributed and how easy it is to lose. If you’d like to finally take greater control of those “problem areas” and use your body fat to sculpt other areas, autologous fat transfer for your face and body might be what you’ve been waiting for.
Dr. Florence Mussat is a board-certified plastic surgeon. She has provided cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery in downtown Chicago for more than 15 years. As one of Chicago’s leading plastic surgeons, she specializes in facial and body fat transfers. If you’d like to talk to Dr. Mussat about creating a natural, youthful new look with autologous fat transfer for the body or face, please call our plastic surgery practice at (312) 751-9000. You can also contact us through our website day or night, whenever it’s convenient for you.
What Is Autologous Fat Transfer?
Fat transfer can go by many names depending on how the procedure is performed and what areas are affected. If it’s used to add volume to certain areas, such as your face, it might be called fat injections or lipofilling. If fat is transferred from your tummy to your buttocks it might be called a fat graft or a “natural augmentation.” Although there are many different ways to describe a fat transfer and related procedures, an autologous fat transfer is simply moving excess fat cells from a donor site on your body (sometimes shaping this area in the process) to enhance or add volume to another area.
Fat transfer has been around for several decades, but has improved significantly in safety and effectiveness for cosmetic applications since the ’90s. During a fat transfer, tiny incisions are made in the donor site and fat is removed through liposuction. Common donor sites for a fat transfer may include:
- Abdominal area
- Inner thighs
- Flanks (area between the ribs and hips)
- Upper arms
Once the fat cells are removed, they’re placed in centrifuge, filtered, and then rinsed. The result is a pure, fatty tissue that can be injected in other areas of the body to naturally sculpt it and add needed volume.
What Areas of the Body and Face Can Be Treated with a Fat Transfer?
The benefits of a fat transfer are twofold. The autologous fat transfer procedure is versatile and may be used to both sculpt areas—called donor sites—where fat is removed, while adding volume to other areas where it’s needed. In recent years, advancements in the procedure make it a great option for enhancing areas of the body and the face.
Fat transfer for the body: When it comes to the body, fat transfer is commonly used to naturally augment:
Fat transfer for the face: Often referred to as lipofilling or fat injections when it’s used on the face, fat transfer can act as a natural, safe dermal filler to:
- Add volume to cheek depressions
- Smooth out frown lines
- Smooth out deep wrinkles
- Reduce the appearance of certain types of scarring
- Add volume to lips and areas around the mouth
- Add volume to sunken areas around the eyes
In addition to adding volume in some areas, when fat is removed from a donor site, the area can be effectively shaped by Dr. Mussat. When the donor site heals, it encourages production of elastin and collagen, which are important structural proteins in your skin. The result is healthy, tight, smoother skin at the donor site and long-lasting volume in the areas of your choice.
What Is a Fat Transfer Procedure Like?
One of the reasons many patients choose a fat transfer over other, more invasive augmentation procedures is convenience. During your consultation, we’ll assess your need for anesthesia. Typically, we only use a local anesthesia for the donor and injection sites, but your comfort level and areas being treated may require other options for anesthesia.
Depending on the size of the area being treated, appointments may only last about an hour. Most procedures are also outpatient, meaning you can get back to life with very little downtime after your fat transfer. Most patients experience only mild bruising, swelling, and tenderness in the donor and injection sites. We’ll give you some post-treatment care instructions, such as using ice or an ice pack on the treatment area to minimize swelling.
After your fat transfer procedure, swelling will usually subside within a few days and you should be able to resume most activities within 7-10 days. We’ll schedule a follow-up appointment to look at the treatment area and make sure you’re healing well. A second session may be needed because, on average, 25-30% of transferred fat cells do not survive the graft and are naturally metabolized and removed from your body.
Have Questions About Your Fat Transfer? Ready to Schedule a Fat Transfer Consultation?
If you’re interested in doing a fat transfer procedure to sculpt areas of your body or face, choose a skilled physician. For a fat transfer, it’s important to select an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon with an artist’s eye. Smoothing out the rough edges and creating a beautiful, natural form for your body or face begins with making sure you’re informed and your concerns are addressed with a thorough consultation.
During your consultation, we’ll ensure you’re a great candidate for a fat transfer, scope out some good donor sites, and develop a treatment plan that ensures long-term results and great care after your procedure. If you have questions about fat transfer procedures, or if you’re ready to schedule your consultation, please call Dr. Florence Mussat’s plastic surgery practice in Chicago, IL at (312) 751-9000. You can also contact us using our user-friendly website whenever it’s easiest for you.