How does fat transfer (fat grafting) work? What is the fat transfer procedure like?

A: How fat transfer or fat graft works

A fat transfer or a fat graft is a method of moving fat from one area to another area. This involves harvesting or removing the fat using gentle liposuction techniques from an unwanted area, for example, the abdomen. Then the fat is spun down to separate out the blood and fluid from the pure fat cells. The pure fat cells are then carefully injected, using a thin metal cannula or needle, into the desired area, such as the cheek or facial area. The idea is to restore volume or fullness to an area which has atrophied or shrunk with aging. It can be compared to a transplant, where you are taking tissue from one area (ex. abdomen) and transferring it to another area (ex. face).

In order to survive, the transferred fat needs an adequate blood supply at the donor site. Since the face has an excellent blood supply, fat transfers to the face usually do very well. Some of the fat may not survive (20-30%) and can shrink, therefore you may need an additional surgery to restore some of the lost volume.

Fat transfer is also commonly used to other parts of the body, such as the buttock area to create a fuller, larger buttock. Since the buttock area does not have as good a blood supply as the face, there is a tendency for less of the fatty tissue to survive.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon prior to scheduling any fat transfer procedures.