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Modern advances in technology have made the procedure of fat transfer or grafting more popular with reliable and predictable results. It can be performed on its own or combined as a part of another procedure. In a face lift procedure the fat tissue is often used to rejuvenate areas more difficult to reach surgically. The fat tissue not only fill out areas that are loose and wrinkled, it also bring stem cells and “reparative” cells that help to make the skin look younger. For example when performing liposuction of the thighs, is it common that some of the removed fat is inserted back into the upper aspect of the buttock to give the effect of a lift. Even the breasts can be enlarged and reconstructed with the patient’s own fat tissue. With the transfer of fat, it is difficult to predict how much of the fat cells will survive as it depends on which area is treated and on individual factors. In general approximately 20-50% of the transferred fat remains and therefore multiple treatments may be needed. To improve the survival of the transferred fat tissue the Aesthetic Institute has developed two new techniques. Segmental fat transfer – this technique is suitable for small procedures such as lip enlargement, but can also be used for breast enlargement ect with fat tissue removed from an abdominoplasty. Stem cell separation – this technique has been used in Akademikliniken since 2009. After filtration of removed tissue, the stem cells are concentrated. The stem cell rich fat is then injected in the areas that need to be reshaped or enlarged. The stem cells help to improve the healing process, which often leads to a better end result. Areas that can benefit from this technique are:  
  • Face, during this face-lift fat tissue is used to rejuvenate areas more difficult to reach surgically. The fat tissue not only fills out areas that are loose and wrinkled, it also brings stem cells and “reparative” cells that help to make the skin look younger.
  • Buttocks, after liposuction of the thighs the removed fat can be inserted in the upper aspect of the buttock to give the effect of a lift.
  • Breast enlargement or reconstruction with the patients own fat tissue will lead to a more natural result.

Fat Transfer

As you age, the skin loses elasticity, muscles lose tone and stretch, and fatty tissues in the face lose volume. These natural changes mean that lines, folds and wrinkles gradually become visible. Following illness or accidents, some people develop contour defects in their faces and bodies. These changes can result in patients feeling uncomfortable about their appearance.


Reasons for Fat Transfer

Fat transfer can be appropriate for patients who wish to address face or body contour defects, or who wish to add volume to particular areas and choose not to use implants or fillers. For some patients, particularly those looking for long-term results or a subtle change in shape or volume, fat transfer or fat grafting can be an appropriate option.

At The Aesthetic Institute our surgeons sometimes combine this treatment with other procedures such as facelift, where appropriate, in order to achieve optimum results.

The Surgery

At The Aesthetic Institute our surgeons perform two types of fat transfer: segmental or standard. It usually involves taking fat from one area (often the tummy) via liposuction and implanting it into another area of the body. It is normally used to correct contour defects or to fill out lines such as those between the nose and the lips. It can be used to fill out certain areas like the lips.

The first procedure is normally carried out as a day case in theatre. Following the transfer, a certain amount of absorption of the transferred fat by the body is normal (about two thirds of it within 6 weeks). The rate of this depends on the patient. This means that sometimes the procedure may have to be repeated on a number of occasions to achieve the desired volume. For this reason, it is not commonly used for breast augmentation or for significant changes in volume over large areas. However, if this is procedure you wish to consider, the surgeon will certainly discuss it with you at your consultation and indicate what results are realistically possible.

On the day of your procedure, you will arrive at the hospital fasting. Before the surgery you will meet with your surgeon again and he will mark the surgical sites. Depending on the size of the area being treated, local or general anaesthetic may be used. Following the surgery you will be closely monitored while you begin your recovery and the effects of the anaesthetic wear off.



After Surgery

Most of our patients who undergo fat transfer as a stand-alone procedure will go home the same day. If it is performed as part of another procedure, a hospital stay may be required. While in hospital, you are taken care of by professionals with extensive experience of this surgical procedure. After the procedure you may need to wear a support garment, depending on the area being treated. On discharge you will have been given an appointment for your first post-operative visit to The Aesthetic Institute, but patients are welcome to contact us before that if they have any concerns.

A little bruising and swelling is not unusual for a few days after the surgery. After about a week the stitches are removed at The Aesthetic Institute and most patients can return to work at this stage. Until then you should remain relaxed and well rested. After about 6 weeks the results of the transfer will be evident and repeat treatments, if required, will be scheduled.


If you have any questions about fat grafting which were not addressed here, or if you would like to book a consultation with the consultant plastic surgeon to discuss treatment options for you, please call 01 491 5738, email or complete our Enquiry Form.