Fat injections, also known as autologous fat grafts, fat transfer or transplantation, have been used in different clinical settings for volume augmentation or restoration. Techniques for harvesting and injection vary, depending on volume, indications and sites for injection. In a recent article in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 4 different modalities are described.(1) These include autologous fat transfers to the face for volume restoration, breast augmentation with large volume lipoaspirate following breast expansion, breast reconstruction following mastectomy, and wound repair. As discussed, fat injections may be beneficial both in aesthetic plastic surgery as well as in reconstructive cases. In the face, they offer a great alternative to hyaluronic acid fillers, providing long lasting results with wrinkle reduction and volume restoration. They also serve as a very effective procedure in minimally invasive plastic surgery.

When fat is harvested for injection or grafting using a method similar to liposuction, the solution is called lipoaspirate. It is known to contain not only fat cells but also a high concentration of stem cells, which have regenerative properties and promote increased blood flow and improved skin quality. Although some uses of fat transfers, such as for breast augmentation with large volume injections, have yet to be broadly accepted, there is increasing evidence that these procedures are indeed safe and yield long term results. Breast enhancement with autologous fat injections is becoming a viable alternative to breast aumentation with saline or silicone implants.

Fat injections are often used in combination with other cosmetic surgery procedures, such as facelift or neck lift, skin rejuvenation, and mommy makeover procedures. As with any plastic surgery procedure, there are potential attendant risks and complications which should be discussed prior to surgery.

Dr. Olivia Hutchinson is a board certified plastic surgeon in NYC, and performs aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery in the safety and comfort of her AAAASF certified Operating Room in her Park Avenue office in Manhattan. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hutchinson, please contact us or call us at (212) 452-1400.

1. Del Vecchio, D. and Rohrich, R. “A Classification of Clinical Fat Grafting: Different Problems, Different Solutions”. Plast. Recon. Surg. Sept. 2012, vol. 30, pp. 511-22.

Del Vecchio, Daniel M.D., M.B.A.; Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.

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