Many of us have joked about where fat builds up most on our bodies; “It goes right to my hips!” or “I wish I’d gain weight on my breasts instead of my tummy!” Each body has a beautifully unique way of distributing fat where it’s needed. But if you’re considering liposuction for fat removal, fat transfer can be an inspired option to move unwanted fat to another area where it’s more welcome. Let’s talk about liposuction with fat transfer.
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is a procedure that extracts unwanted fat from a specific area of the body using an incision through which the fat is suctioned away. Usually a cannula is used to break up fat underneath the surface, and a vacuum attached to the cannula helps extract the fat.
What is fat transfer?
Fat transfer is exactly what it sounds like; we use liposuction to suck away fat from an area where you don’t want it, to place it skilfully in another location where it’s desired. Fat is transferred to the new body area using injection techniques. This procedure can be combined with other types of cosmetic surgeries.
What is fat transfer used for?
The short answer is everything. We can use fat transfer to improve the shape of almost any area on the body, from cheeks to breasts to buttocks.
We use fat grafting for:
- Breast augmentations, either solo or in combination with implants
- BBLs (Brazilian Butt Lifts)
- Mommy makeovers
- Addressing scars or depressions
- Hips and thigh area, e.g. rounding out hip dips
- To augment areas where there are contour irregularities
How does fat transfer or grafting work?
Fat transfer typically uses a suction technique to extract the fat from one area of the body and an injection technique to deposit it in another. Fat transfer has a myriad of applications to enhance contours, improve symmetry, and smooth skin for optimal results in a range of procedures. We use fat transfer or grafting most frequently as a surgical add-on. Each type of surgery entails a unique way of using fat transfer to enhance results and create a natural outcome. During a facelift, for example, the skin on the face is lifted and tightened for a refreshed appearance. We can use fat grafting in combination with a facelift to improve the youthful fullness and contours of the chin, cheek, or jawline.
How does fat transfer to breasts work?
Breast augmentation surgery is commonly performed in tandem with a fat transfer. During an augmentation we often use implants to enhance and balance the size of the breasts. Fat grafting can be used as an effective surgical tool to extract fat from the thighs, tummy, or buttocks and deposit it in the breast area. Fat grafting is most commonly used to enhance the shape of the breasts, especially on the upper part of breasts to help create a smooth, natural shape. Fat transfer to the breasts can also be performed without the use of implants for a subtle, natural result.
This patient opted for liposuction of the abdomen, arms, and flanks. We then transferred some of the fat to her breasts for naturally enhanced volume and fullness.
How long does fat transfer last?
When performed thoughtfully with expert technique, fat transfer can last a lifetime. We expect 60-80% of the fat relocated during a transfer to stay in its new location, and maintain a beautiful appearance in a way that looks smooth and natural.
What influences how well liposuction and fat transfer works?
The way that fat moves or stays put when it’s repurposed is dependent on two main factors: where the fat is sourced from, and how gentle and effective the surgical technique is when harvesting and placing the fat. When we use fat grafting to repurpose fat on the body or face, we can source that fat from the buttocks, stomach, breasts, or other fat deposits. Each kind of fat has its own set of characteristics depending on where it’s taken from. The way fat is processed is also influenced by the technique; whether it’s purified by washing, placed through a filter, broken up into smaller particles, etc.
This patient added fat transfer to her tummy tuck to fill out her hip dips and create smoother contours, complementing her results nicely.
Can I store my liposuctioned fat and use it later?
The time between extracting the fat and harvesting it is key. A short time frame between when fat is extracted and when it is deposited will help it effectively settle and find a comfortable home in its new location. If you are considering a procedure like a breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, or mommy makeover, we encourage you to talk to your surgeon about whether fat transfer can address any of your other concerns during the same procedure. Liposuctioned fat cannot be stored and used later on—don’t waste your fat!
Book a consultation to explore liposuction and fat grafting today.
Whether you’re curious about breast augmentation, looking into combination surgery, or wanting to enhance symmetry and sleek contours, our surgical team is here to help you get the results you’re dreaming about.