Fat transfers or fat injections are used to add volume to an area by transferring one’s own fat taken from a different part of the body. This technique can be used to add rejunvenative volume, as a filler, or to correct deformities both in the face or body. Fat is often used for the improvement of appearance, in the lips, nasolabial folds, cheeks, around the eyes, and other areas of the face, as well as to add shaping fullness to buttocks. Fat transfers can be used effectively to correct deformities after liposuction and more recently, the use of fat for breast augmentation has been under study. Additionally, fat injections can be used in conjunction with liposuction to contour the body to the ideal shape for each person.
The general risks associated with fat injections are minimal. They include bruising, swelling, and rarely infection. Steps are always taken to minimize these risks and it is overall a very safe procedure.
The most important priorities are to assure you are a good candidate and appropriate technique and aesthetic approach are used for an optimal result.
Good candidates for fat transfers for facial volume augmentation are those with volume loss and skin tone that can support fat injections. Individuals with very transparent thin skin may be at higher risk for lumpiness and poor outcomes. For correction of deformities, it is important that fat receives good blood supply from surrounding tissue to survive and that fibrous scarring is released allowing the filling effect to take place without hindrance.
Most important priority in doing fat transfers to the face is the aesthetic vision relative to each person’s age, overall facial proportions, and skin quality. Fat is a very powerful volumizer and can change over time with weight changes so conservative amounts of fat must be used especially in the face. If these variables are not taken into consideration, the results will be obvious and unnatural.
The importance of technique comes into play for both aesthetic and safety reasons. The harvesting, preparation, and injecting of fat must be done with special techniques and instruments, depending on area and goals for the fat transfer (see below for details). For example for facial fat injections, the harvesting and injecting techniques must deliver very small fat particles for best results (see fat micro-transfer technique below).
The Hirmand Technique
Fat Micro-Transfers using stem cell enriched fat cells
This technique for fat transplantation is best suited for eyelid and facial rejuvenation. Fat is harvested fresh using custom-made small cannulas, processed to purify and to concentrate the stem cell enriched portion, which is then separated and injected through access holes, in very small quantities with special small caliber blunt cannulas to achieve the desired effect.
Special cannulas are used for both the harvesting and the injection so as to minimize damage to the fat cells or to the tissue in the recipient site. These cannulas also prevent large fat clumps from forming and result in a smooth fine fat harvest for use. The scars associated with the harvest and injection sites are tiny and measure only a millimeter or two and are often invisible as they heal very well.
There is very little “over- correction” with this technique as most of the fat injected with this technique survives even though there is always a certain amount of reabsorption that occurs after transfer. Micro-transfers done in this manner result in the best “take” and one session may be adequate for full correction. The procedure may however have to be repeated once or twice for an optimal layered correction. The bruising and swelling is less with each transfer, and the recovery is faster.
Technique - For Body Contouring
Similar technique is used for fat transfers to the body to add volume or to correct deformities such as may result from liposuction or after trauma. Larger caliber harvesting and injecting cannulas are used for more efficient delivery of fat. The is a higher probability that the procedure may have to be repeated for body areas to achieve the desired volume as fat take may vary depending on the area and purpose.
It is important to note that even though some fat is taken from the donor site, this will not result in adequate contouring if what you want or need is liposuction in this area. Additional liposuction will be needed for a good final result.
Anesthesia: local and/or sedation
Length of procedure: 30-60 minutes depending on complexity
Adjunct procedures: Any
Recovery: none, there may be bruising and swelling requiring concealer