The benefits of fat grafting
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Fat injections? It may sound crazy, but it is actually a long-lasting way to keep a youthful - and natural - appearance in your face and other areas of the body.
What is fat grafting?
Our Board Certified plastic surgeons use fat grafting to repair contour deformities from other surgeries or breast reconstruction, or use fat grafting in conjunction with these procedures.
A doctor will suction fat from a problem area with traditional liposuction techniques, process it, and then inject the processed fat into another area through very small incisions. Watch Dr. Schmidt describe the process here.
How can it help?
BayCare Clinic plastic surgeon Steven Schmidt, MD, uses fat grafting routinely in the face. "We used to think just structurally moving tissues would restore the youthful appearance in the face, but we found out more and more that as we age, we lose volume in our faces. In addition to lifting, we also can lift and fill with fat grafting," said Dr. Schmidt.
This procedure can also help plastic surgeons with previous issues patients faced with breast reconstruction. For example, a patient may have contour deformities because of the tissue or implant used. With fat grafting, the transition between implant and chest wall can be made to look much more natural.
Can I have fat grafting?
Candidates for fat grafting must first have enough fat to be removed and then a problem area they would like to address with fat grafting. Of course they must be a good surgical risk candidate, as well.
"I think fat grafting has been a huge advance in terms of really doing our finishing touches, especially for our breast reconstruction and facelift patients. I think it really adds a significant dimension, giving them the most natural outcome we can. It really gives them the confidence to go about their daily activities, not thinking people can notice they have had a procedure," said Dr. Schmidt.
Are there any adverse effects?
There have been questions about fat grafting causing tumors. However, all the recent research results confirm that fat grafting is a safe procedure. We haven't seen the development of new tumors. Another concern is mammography. Questions have been raised about the ability to detect tumors in the breast with fat grafting. Although there is a bit of scar tissue, the ability to detect cancer is still very good in fat grafted breasts. In fact, seventy percent of United States plastic surgeons have used fat grafting techniques for breast operations. More research will be ongoing on this. Currently, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons approves of fat grafting and says it's a safe and acceptable procedure.
Learn more about fat grafting by requesting an appointment with one of our Board Certified plastic surgeons.
Steven C. Schmidt, MD, is a Board Certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Schmidt earned his medical education at Washington University in St. Louis and completed a residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in General and Plastic Surgery where he also completed a fellowship in Hand Surgery. Dr. Schmidt offers complete plastic, cosmetic, and hand surgery services in Northeast Wisconsin.