Fat transfer (also called fat injection, fat autotransplantation or fat grafting) is a medical procedure that harvests fat from one part of the body where an excess exists, and then places it into another part of the body where the additional volume is needed for aesthetic purposes.
There are several advantages of fat transfer as compared to the use of a synthetic filler:
• patients own tissue is used thus vertually eliminating the risk of infection, allergic and foreign body reaction
• if done correctly, the results of fat transfer have been shown to persist longer as compared to most facial fillers, and sometimes are even permanent
• fat cells (stem cells in the adipose tissue) have been shown to have a positive effect on the skin making the skin look freasher and healthier
The procedure takes from 30 minutes to an hour. First, some fat is harvested using liposuction technique either from the belly or the thigh area through a very small incision under local anesthesia. The fat cells are then separated from the bodily fluids and reinjected into the areas of the face similarly to a filler injection.
Most of the facial areas can be treated with fat transfer. The most common areas treated are: nasolabial folds, marionette lines, midface, tear-trough areas, chin and jaw line.
Common side effects include some bruising and swelling secondary to injection and harvesting. Occasionally, injected fat may appear lumpy, especially in the areas of thin skin.
Overall, fat transfer is a very good technique for facial rejuvenation that may lead to long lasting results with an additional benefit of making a positive effect on the skin quality.