Fat grafting is a cosmetic surgery procedure used to enhance or plump up different areas of the body as an alternative to synthetic implants or dermal fillers. During this procedure, fat from the patient’s own body (usually in the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks) is extracted and then injected into another area that is lacking sufficient fat volume and fullness, such as in the face, hands, breasts, buttocks or any other area. Fat grafting of the hands and face, as a stand-alone procedure, can often be done in the office with local anesthesia. If it is done in combination with facial rejuvenation surgery, chemical peels, breast augmentation or body contouring it will be done through day surgery at the hospital. One of the limitations of fat grafting is a patient’s own available fat deposits for transfer. Slight overcorrection is necessary since approximately half the fat is reabsorbed by your body. Final results can be seen within 3 weeks and will last for years. Swelling shortly after surgery is the most common sequela but has minimal complaints of bruising and very little pain. Compression of the donor site is required for several weeks. It is a win-win procedure allowing fat to be taken from a place it is not usually wanted and putting where it is needed.
Fat grafting is a longer lasting solution for volume restoration than dermal fillers. There is also evidence that improved skin quality, after fat grafting, may be a result of increased stem cells from the transferred fat.
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