Fatgrafting (lipofilling) has been performed in medical applications for centuries. There is currently a revival in the modern procedure of Lipofilling due to ongoing scientific research and recent significant technical innovations, coupled with the growing number of patients desiring cosmetic surgery.
Lipofilling uses a patient’s own fat as a permanent filler to add volume to soft tissues, such as the face and breast. Lipofilling is used in soft tissue augmentation, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, facial reconstruction and breast surgery (both reconstructive and aesthetic). In addition to adding volume, lipofilling reduces scarring, improving the quality and elasticity of the overlying skin.
How does Lipofilling work?
First, Dr. Vanek will identify suitable areas from which to harvest your fat. These include the inner aspect of the knee, the thigh, buttock, abdomen, love handles, back, upper inner arm and neck. Fat is harvested through an intravenous catheter sized needle stick that makes no scar. Then ultra-thin cannulas are used to harvest the fat. The harvest needle stick sites close on their own without a stitch. The fat is collected and processed for re-implantation, then transferred to the desired areas. The donor site is always infiltrated with a mixture of local anesthesia and adrenaline to reduce post-operative discomfort and bruising.
Your tissue transfer stimulates growth from the factors in the fat graft as well as your healing response from cellular and immune activation. The injected fat initially survives by receiving oxygen and nutrients from its surroundings. This source is gradually depleted but at the same time, new blood vessels are growing towards the fat grafts. This again is why patients need to select a surgeon with the expertise of Dr. Vanek for this procedure. If deposits are made with fat particles that are too large or grouped too closely together, the blood vessels will not be able to reach them, the body will isolate the dead fat cells, and the fat graft will not survive.
Am I a good candidate for Lipofilling?
Most patients who are physically healthy and non-smokers are good candidates. Even very thin patients can have fat harvested and transferred to their desired areas like the hands, breast or face. Since most of us have fat deposits that are readily available, and since Lipofilling only deposits your cells removed from other areas of your body, long term improvement is seen and measured. As always, your specific goals need to be thoroughly discussed with Dr. Vanek before deciding on the procedure, so you are completely aware and comfortable with your expectations of the process, the recovery and the results.
For the reasons specified above, it is critically important to seek a board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Paul Vanek to perform autologous fat transfer (Lipofilling). He will determine where, how and when to deposit each microscopic particle of fat, for the highest likelihood of aesthetic and medical success. The volume of fat that can be injected on one occasion is limited by the thickness and softness of the tissue at the recipient site, which varies by individual. For larger volume enhancement goals like in breast augmentation he will discuss that it is common that two or three lipofilling sessions may be necessary to achieve your desired results. For facial or hand rejuvenation with fat transfer, a single session will have a marvelous impact with likely long term results!