Natural Fat Transfer

What is Natural Fat Transfer?

Natural Fat Transfer, or fat grafting, is the process of transplanting live fat cells from an area of your body where you don’t want it—such as your tummy or hips—to an area where you do want it, such as your lips, facial lines, temples, butt, breasts, hands, and even earlobes.

The aim is to remove unwanted fat from an area of the body, such as the tummy or thighs, and use it to smooth or increase the size of another area, such as the breasts or bottom. A surgical fat transfer involving the bottom is often known as a Brazilian butt lift (BBL).

How is a natural fat transfer performed?  What is involved?

A surgical fat transfer can be carried out under a local anesthetic in our office.

It involves 3 main stages:

  • Removing the fat – small cuts are made in the skin and a thin tube is used to suck out small amounts of fat (similar to liposuction); the cuts are then closed with stitches
  • Preparing the fat – special equipment is used to separate the fat collected from any blood and other fluids
  • Injecting the fat – small amounts of fat are injected into the area being treated; stitches are not usually needed

The procedure usually lasts a couple of hours. You may be able to go home soon after the procedure is finished.  If a large area is being treated, your treatment may need to be carried out over 2 or more sessions.

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You’ll be given painkillers if you need them.


Recovery from natural fat transfer

You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

You can start driving again when you’re able to do so without experiencing any discomfort.

The treated areas will probably be quite bruised and swollen for a few weeks. You may want to take a couple of weeks off work.

It can take up to 6 months for a surgical fat transfer to fully take effect, as some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed by your body during the first few months after the procedure.


Possible side effects of natural fat transfer procedure

It’s common after a surgical fat transfer to have:

  • Significant bruising and swelling
  • Temporary numbness
  • Small scars – these will fade, but will not completely disappear
  • Loss of some of the fat from the injected area during the first few months


Possible risks of a natural fat transfer procedure

A surgical fat transfer is generally a safe procedure, but it can occasionally result in:

  • A collection of blood underneath the skin (haematoma)
  • Death of fat tissue (fat necrosis)
  • A blockage in a blood vessel caused by a piece of fat (fat embolism)
  • Air leaking into the space between your lungs and chest wall (pneumothorax)
  • Thick, obvious scars – sometimes known as hypertrophic scars

Any operation also carries a small risk of:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Developing a blood clot in a vein
  • Infection
  • An allergic reaction to the anaesthetic

The physician should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.

Occasionally, another operation is needed. For example, in a surgical fat transfer involving the bottom (BBL), further surgery may be needed, either because 50% of the injected fat does not survive, or the desired volume cannot be achieved in one operation.


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