Fat Transfer Pittsburgh
When people imagine the signs of aging, they usually think of wrinkling or sagging skin. However, the underlying cause of these problems is facial volume loss.
Fat transfers come to mind for people with thin, wrinkled lips as well as the loss of precious fat. Also called fat grafting, fat transfer is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which helps to restore skin volume and give the appearance of more youthful skin.
Dr. Pautler can restore fullness to the lips, cheeks, and other areas of the face with fine, precise injections of your own fat. Taken from other areas of your body – commonly the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks – the results of fat transfer can be quite long lasting, all without the risk of an allergic reaction.
Let’s discuss the procedure of facial fat transfer in more detail.
How Fat Transfer Works
Preparation for the Procedure
Prior to surgery, you will need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pautler. During this time, she will perform an initial examination of your body and ask about your medical history. This information is used to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.
During this time, a donor site will be determined to harvest the fat necessary for the procedure. The areas will be selected based on the amount of fat present and your overall aesthetic goals. Finally, Dr. Pautler will mark the areas on the face where the fat will be reinjected. Pictures will also be taken to have a clear before and after reference point.
The Fat Transfer Procedure
The first step in facial fat grafting is harvesting fat from a predetermined donor site. Dr. Pautler will determine the area of the body from which fat will be harvested. This is usually the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks or flanks. Before beginning, the area will be numbed and small incisions made on the site. If there is a need for larger volumes of fat, you may be recommended sedation or general anesthesia. A gentle liposuction technique will then be used to remove the desired amount of fat
Once the fat is harvested, it will then need to be purified before reinjection. This is a fairly quick step and takes about 10-15 minutes.In the final step, Dr. Pautler will use advanced injection methods to reinject fat into the desired locations on the face.
The procedure takes about an hour and depends on the size of the area being treated. Since it is performed as an outpatient procedure, you can safely return home the same day the treatment is performed.
Fat Transfer to the Face
Fat transfer to the face is a plastic surgery technique where fat is usually harvested from the abdomen and/or inner thigh and reinjected into the face – usually the cheeks around the eyes, temples, or along the jawline. Sometimes the lips can be augmented with fat as well. Very small instruments are used, and small amounts of fat are transferred in several layers to increase the amount of “take.” This can be done alone, or it can be done in conjunction with upper and lower eyelid surgery and/or facelifts.
First, the fat is aspirated with a 10 mm syringe and a small harvesting cannula. The syringes are left upside down so that any blood or bodily fluids are separated so the fat is purer. Then a very small cannula, larger than the needle used for Restylane® or Juvederm® but still very small, is used to inject the fat with multiple passes.
Bruising is extremely common after this, as is swelling. Several treatments may be needed to get the desired results since there is always a chance that some of the fat will be resolved. Prior to any surgery, patients should be non-smoking and in good health, able to tolerate some level of anesthesia, and free from any infection going on in the face. It is also preferable that the procedure be done several months before or after any kind of dental procedure or laser treatment where there is going to be some inflammation and stretching of the face.
Fat Transfer to the Breasts
Fat transfer to the breasts is a technique where fat is taken from other areas of the body to thicken or increase the volume of the breast. It works best for deflated breasts, like after having babies or removing an implant. Harvesting fat for this technique is completely different than liposuction. For fat grafting to the breasts, fat is removed with very small cannulas with a low-suction device, which is slower and gentler than liposuction. It allows for the best survival of fat in its new home – the breasts.
Dr. Pautler uses the Lipografter® device from MTF Biologics. Donor sites are usually the flanks, hips, abdomen, or thighs. Fat is carefully injected into the breast with a very small cannula with multiple passes. The goal is to maximize the survival of transferred fat so that each cell has access to the blood supply. The recipient site, the breast, cannot be overwhelmed with too much fat, or some of the fat will be crowded out of any nutrients, i.e., blood supply, and undergo tissue death. Death of fat results in small oil cysts or calcifications, which in and of themselves are not harmful to your health. However, they can sometimes be palpable under the breast skin and/or visible on a mammogram. In other words, the mammogram can be a little more difficult to read if there are multiple calcifications or oil cysts. There is a limit to how much fat the breast can accommodate at any single procedure.
Recovery and Results
As facial fat grafting is a minimally invasive procedure, the downtime required is quite limited. The results also show up relatively quickly. In fact, most people will see an improvement almost immediately. As time passes and natural collagen production increases, results will become more pronounced.
Most patients are able to resume daily activities the same day as surgery. In cases where a high amount of fat was harvested and transferred, there may be a need for a brief recovery period. It is advisable to avoid the sun for at least 48 hours after surgery. Minor swelling, bruising and reddening are to be expected. This is perfectly normal and will diminish as you heal.
You may also be advised to wear a compression garment on the areas from where the fat was removed.
Fat Transfer Photos
See the results for yourself
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