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5 Popular Benefits of Fat Grafting

5 Popular Benefits of Fat Grafting

Fat grafting, also known as autologous fat transfer, is a surgical procedure where fat is removed from one area of your body and placed in another. The process has a long history and many applications, and has become one of the fastest-growing cosmetic treatments around.

At PNW Plastic Surgery in Portland, Oregon, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Leo Urbinelli and his team perform fat grafting for their patients who want to reshape their body contours but don’t want the risks or downtime of procedures like a tummy tuck or body lift.

The growth of fat grafting

Fat grafting got its start in 1893 when plastic surgeon Gustav Neuber transferred fat from his patient’s arm to their orbital (eye socket) region to address scars caused by the bone infection osteomyelitis. The next major step came in 1895 when Dr. Viktor Czerny transferred a fatty mass to his patient’s breast following a partial mastectomy to establish symmetry.

It was a great start, but over the next 100 years, fat grafting had trouble gaining acceptance due to the many complications that accompanied the procedure. Doctors lacked standardized and efficient liposuction techniques, and the fat cells they extracted either died or varied in quality, yielding poor results.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that fat grafting came into its own. New York-based plastic surgeon Dr. Sydney Coleman published standardized techniques for all steps of the process: extraction, processing, and reinjection. Now surgeons could reliably use fat grafting to enhance the cosmetic appearance of a wide variety of body parts.

Since that time, physicians have documented therapeutic benefits for fat grafting, too, including healing wounds and scars, and repairing breast tissue following radiation treatment.

5 popular benefits of fat grafting

Fat grafting comes with a number of benefits, including these five:

  1. Uses your own tissue so there’s less risk of adverse reactions
  2. Reduces fat where you don’t want it and puts it where you do
  3. Can treat many body areas
  4. Requires less downtime than other body contouring procedures
  5. Gives immediate results

And the entire process is customized to your individual needs.

Cosmetic applications

Fat grafting has numerous cosmetic applications. It can smooth out facial lines and wrinkles, giving your face a fuller, more youthful appearance. It can complement a surgical face-lift or a minimally invasive dermal filler treatment. And it improves your skin texture, including filling in and smoothing out acne scars.

As you age and lose your supply of structural collagen, you lose volume, developing fine lines and wrinkles, creases, and hollows. Fat grafting can restore lost volume to your cheeks and midfacial region, fill in the hollows around your eyes, and improve the appearance of nasolabial folds, the creases that develop between your nose and mouth.

Fat grafting can also be used for breast enhancement and the Brazilian butt-lift, which gives you a more shapely bottom.

The fat grafting process

When you come in for your procedure, Dr. Urbinelli first administers a local anesthetic or conscious sedation, depending on the area to be treated. Dr. Urbinelli has invested more than a dozen years researching, performing, and teaching state-of-the-art liposuction techniques, so you know you’re in good hands.

When you’re numb or sleepy, Dr. Urbinelli uses liposuction to extract fat from a donor area, usually the thighs or buttocks, where you may have more fat than you’d like. He uses a thin cannula to break up and draw the fat out using a manual method. Lasers or ultrasonic liposuction are fine for general liposuction but aren’t good choices for this procedure, as they can destroy the fat cells.

Next, he processes the fat using decanting and centrifugation, separating out debris, excess fluid, and dead cells from the viable adipose (fat) cells. He may also wash the fat with sterile saline. He discards any cells that aren’t viable enough to survive the graft.

Finally, Dr. Urbinelli reinjects the fat in small droplets throughout the area you want to augment. Using small droplets ensures that all cells have a good blood supply, helping the graft survive.

You’ll receive complete aftercare instructions on what you need to do (and not do) while your body heals from the procedure.

If your body contours don’t match your aesthetic goals, fat grafting may be a good option to get the silhouette you want and deserve. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Urbinelli, give PNW Plastic Surgery a call or book online today.

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