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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Fat grafting: What is it?

August 28, 2014, 11:27 pm

fat-graftingWhat is your first thought when you hear the word “fat?” Perhaps, “Ugh! Gross” is your first response, especially when you consider the idea of adding fat to the body. Why would anyone want to add fat to their body? The answer might surprise you, particularly when you find out where the fat comes from and why it might be a great cosmetic surgery option for you. What we are talking about here is fat grafting, or taking unwanted fat from one part of the body and using it to fill and correct other areas of the body. So, what exactly is fat grafting and why might it be a good idea?

What is fat grafting?

Fat grafting makes use of the body’s natural fat deposits to correct or augment areas that may be showing signs of aging. As we grow older our skin begins to lose its elasticity, and the underlying collagen and fat stores, particularly across the face, begin to thin. By using the body’s own fat deposits, you ensure that you are using natural materials that your body already is accustomed to. Nothing artificial, and nothing foreign. Even better, the donor fat may be taken from the body’s trouble areas — making fat grafting a double duty procedure.

Cosmetic benefits of fat grafting

Thinning lips, hollow cheeks, and increased lines and folds in the face are all natural parts of the aging process. Unfortunately, the more they progress, the older we look. Fat grafting may smooth and balance out the appearance to create a fuller, more youthful look. Fat grafting may be used to augment the lips, fill skin depressions such as hollow-appearing cheeks, fill facial creases and folds, or correct asymmetries across the face.

How is fat grafting performed?

Fat grafting begins with liposuction. As mentioned above, fat grafting may be a double duty procedure. First, you may address your trouble areas with liposuction, but instead of disposing of the excess fatty deposits, they are recovered, purified, and prepared for use in the areas to be treated. The treatment areas are carefully cleansed and prepared to receive the donor fat, and then the fat is carefully injected at different depths beneath the skin’s surface to create a scaffold, or supportive grid, of fat to fill, firm, or plump up the area. The area may appear overly full at first as it may be slightly overfilled as the body will naturally absorb some of the fat. Over time, the excess fat should diminish, leaving behind a softer, smoother, even appearance.

Recovering from fat grafting

After fat grafting, you may have dressings, tape, or compression garments applied, depending on the areas from which fat was obtained and to which it was applied. Many patients benefit from massaging the treated areas regularly during the recovery process to aid the injected fat cells in settling into position and also to possibly help reduce swelling and bruising. However, it may take two to three weeks before the swelling and bruising resolve. Most patients experience only mild pain or discomfort and do well with over-the-counter pain medications for relief. Rarely are stronger medications required.

To learn more about fat grafting, liposuction, or other cosmetic surgery procedures, call Kansas City Surgical Arts today at (816) 286-4126 to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Matt Hlavacek. We look forward to meeting you soon.