Also known as fat transfer or fat injection, fat grafting is a procedure that involves transferring fat from one part of the body to another.
The aim is to enhance or restore volume in specific areas – typically the face, breasts, buttocks or hands.
How does fat grafting work?
A fat grafting procedure involves removing or ‘harvesting’ fat from the body where it is available in excess such as the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. This is usually done through liposuction techniques, whereby a small incision is made and a cannula (thin tube) is inserted to suck the fat out.
To obtain purified fat cells that can be effectively transplanted, the fat is processed using specialist equipment to separate it from blood and other fluids. Once this is complete, the processed fat can be injected into the target treatment area.
Who is suitable for treatment?
A fat grafting procedure is suitable for those who have lost volume in certain areas of the body and have enough fat in other areas that can be safely and successfully transferred.
It may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain health conditions, so a detailed consultation with a relevantly qualified practitioner is essential before going ahead.
What results are expected from fat grafting?
As the fat used comes from the patient’s own body, results tend to look and feel natural. It can take up to six months for the full results of a fat grafting procedure to be noticeable, as some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by the body during the first few months.
Does the procedure hurt?
Local anaesthetic is usually used to numb the pain associated with fat grafting, but it may still feel slightly uncomfortable. You will likely be bruised and swollen following the procedure, which can be managed with regular pain killers.
Are there any risks associated with fat grafting?
Significant bruising and swelling are normal after a fat grafting procedure, as are temporary numbness and small scars which will fade over time.
More serious risks include haematomas (collection of blood under the skin), death of fat tissue (necrosis), a blockage in a blood vessel caused by a piece of fat (fat embolism) and thick scarring known as hypertrophic scars. Infection, blood clots and excessive bleeding can occur.
Only medical professionals in Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered facilities can carry out fat grafting procedures, so it’s essential you find a specialist before booking treatment.