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fat grafting

Fat can be used as a “filler” as well.  Fat grafting involves taking fat from one area of your body and transfering it to another.  Common areas to be filled are the cheek, lip, buttock, hands, and irregularties from prior liposuction work.

Fat grafting is not new.  We have used fat as a soft tissue filler for years.  The initial issue with fat grafting was poor survival of the newly moved fat.  When you take fat from one area of the body, like your abdomen, and put it in a new area, like your buttock, the fat needs to get a new blood supply to survive.  Fat cells are live cells.  They need oxygen and nutrients brought to them by the blood to survive.  Once in a new place, your body will develop new blood vessels to those cells over time.  The critical time is those first few days.

What happens if fat dies?  Fat will do one of three things: melt away, harden, or form calcifications.  We plastic surgeons have refined our techniques.  We harvest the fat more gently with special cannulas.  We have studied the fat cells after harvest to see what we need to do to make the fat cells as healthy as possible to transfer.  We learned to transfer the fat in teeny tiny cannulas and amounts, essentially seeding the area with new fat, not doing large pools of fat.  Particularly when grafting large volumes of fat, there can be higher rates of loss.  Avoiding pressure on the newly transferred fat, doing “micro” transfer of the fat to spread it out, and trying to improve blood supply all help the newly moved fat live.

She has gone above and beyond what any other doctor would have done to give me a good result.
– D.B., San Francisco

Fat transfer is not done with a quick in-office visit like Restalyne or Juvederm.  This is an OR procedure, with use of sterile technique and a centrifuge to process the fat.  There likely will be more swelling and bruising than a small filler injection, so expect to take a little time off from your busy Bay Area life.  It is not painful- you just will look a little swollen and bruised.

I love fat grafting.  For small areas of fat transfer like to the cheek and face, everyone has enough fat.  In these areas I do microfat grafting with tiny cannulas.  I use a small IV needle to access through the skin, so there is no scar.  For larger volume areas like the breast and buttock, fat grafting may not be a good option.  Some of my Bay Area patients are too thin- I have few sites to harvest the fat from, and for those with poor skin tone, to remove enough fat it may leave the liposuctioned area with loose skin. This is something I assess with you when I meet you at your first visit.

As for fat grafting to the breast, there is some controversy.  But after doing time with Dr. Khouri in Miami and having performed fat transfer for breast augmentation on some of my patients, I am encouraged.  The results are soft and natural.  There is minimal scarring, and it is less painful than breast augmentation with implants.  I have been excited by what I see.  To see if fat grafting or an implant breast augmentation is the right choice for you, please make an appointment and come into the office for evaluation.  See my blogs here:


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*Individual Results May Vary

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