Fat transfer (or fat grafting) is a dynamic procedure which has gained immense popularity for augmenting various parts of the body. The technique involves aspirating fat through special small diameter cannulae. The fat is then treated to remove oil and excess water. This leaves concentrated fat cells which are gently re-injected to fill out the desired area. Common areas include transfer of fat to the face, breasts, buttocks and legs.
The whole concept is based on ‘structural fat grafting’. Fat cells injected by this special method lie in different tissue planes and are able to get an individual blood supply. The end result is that the fat injected persists long term. It is estimated that about 70% of the fat injected survives long term and we overcompensate at the initial surgery, anticipating the loss. However, top up procedures may be necessary. The additional benefit of fat transfer is the therapeutic effect of stem cells which are present in fat cells. This has an emerging role in tissue regeneration and wound healing.