4 Places Fat Transfer Can Be Used Instead Of Fillers

Injectable fillers have become a mainstay for improving visible signs of aging and myriad other beauty concerns, but fat transfer can provide longer-lasting results with a patient’s own unwanted fat. Plastic surgeon Dr. Stanley Poulos of Plastic Surgery Specialists in the San Francisco Bay area explains how this procedure works—and shares the areas of the body that can benefit from fat transfer.

Fat transfer is essentially what it sounds like… Fat is taken from one area via liposuction (or a more limited liposuction-like procedure) and moved to another part of the body. Although injectable fillers comprised of hyaluronic acid and other materials have become the go-to for smoothing fine lines and deeper wrinkles as well as restoring lost volume in the face and hands, fat transfer has a few distinct advantages. First, using a patient’s own fat in lieu of injectable fillers provides results that stand the test of time. In addition, because fat is a patient’s own tissue, it’s 100% natural and there’s virtually no risk of reaction. And finally, most patients like the fact that fat transfer requires taking fat from an area where it’s unwanted—such as the abdomen, hips or thighs—so the “donor” area’s appearance improves as well.

The techniques used for fat transfer have improved dramatically in recent years, and doctors can now optimize the amount of fat that “takes” through careful pre-transfer processing and actual placement. (In the past, it was often necessary to overfill target areas to ensure an adequate amount of fat would stay for the long-term.) The areas that can benefit from fat transfer may surprise you, and here are the most common and effective uses for this procedure.

Fat transfer can basically take the place of any brand or type of injectable filler. From improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to restoring volume that has decreased over time, a patient’s own fat is up to the task. Once fat is removed from the abdomen, flanks or thighs, it can be used to enhance the contours of the cheeks, chin, under-eye area, lips, nasolabial folds, marionette lines and upper eyelids.

One of the most common signs of aging on the hands is increased visibility of bones and veins, and this is primarily caused by the loss of fat over time. Although injectable fillers can be used to restore the “padding” that hides these underlying structures, fat transfer can provide longer-lasting, natural rejuvenation that helps turn back the clock on the appearance of the hands. Keep in mind that treatments or procedures such as laser resurfacing are often recommended in conjunction with fat transfer to the hands to address age spots and discoloration caused by sun damage.

Breast augmentation doesn’t always require implants, and fat injections to the breasts can provide a modest volume boost as well as better symmetry. Often used to improve minor divots or deformities after procedures such as biopsies and lumpectomies, fat transfer offers the benefits of breast enhancement along with sculpting of the donor area—which allows patients to enjoy contour-enhancing benefits in two areas with just one procedure.

The Brazilian butt lift (or BBL) has seen a surge in popularity over recent years, and this procedure is an effective option for enhancing the size and shape of the buttocks without the need for implants. As with other fat transfer procedures, the Brazilian butt lift involves harvesting fat from the abdomen, flanks or thighs before it is injected layer by layer into targeted areas of the buttocks (depending on the results the patient would like to achieve). This combination of liposuction and fat transfer can dramatically enhance the silhouette of the midsection and lower body to deliver the curves that many women crave.

Fat transfer is a wonderful option for rejuvenating the skin and improving one’s appearance on both the face and body. However, it’s important to understand that this is a technique-dependent procedure that requires a physician who has extensive experience performing fat transfer, and a proven track record for achieving natural-looking outcomes.

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