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What defines a youthful appearance is most often a smooth face accented with soft, rounded contours. The structure of the face can become significantly affected by the aging process as the skin itself changes and the support system underneath the skin becomes weaker. As a result, subsequent birthdays can bring about the development of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as a loss of firmness and facial volume as skin and tissue sag. In some instances this contributes to a gaunt or wasted appearance affecting not only the face but other body parts such as the hands. With fat transfer, this volume can be restored to reclaim a refreshed, more rejuvenated look again.

Dr. Otto Placik is a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in fat transfer to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles and create more youthful contours in the face and hands as well as accomplish augmentation of the breasts (fat transfer augmentation) and the buttocks (Brazilian Butt Lift) and other contour deficiencies, depressions or scars. In addition to this natural treatment option, Dr. Placik also offers many other types of dermal fillers along with a full range of nonsurgical med spa treatments for men and women in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

Please contact us online or call our Chicago or Arlington Heights plastic surgery offices for more information on fat transfer, including prices.

About Fat Transfer

Fat transfer uses surplus fat from the body to fill in lines and wrinkles on the face and restore lost facial volume as well as enhance body contour and volume of the hands, breasts and buttocks. The goal is to achieve a more youthful look using a completely natural and longer-lasting, larger volume approach than synthetic fillers can offer.

Many physicians believe that fat transfer has the added benefit of stem cell transfer and the ability to provide skin rejuvenation with improvements in texture and reverse aging and damage. Numerous ongoing studies have shown correction of radiation damage to the skin and a change in the quality of scars. Fat transfer has been used to improve the quality of skin following acne scarring and atrophy and to treat radiation injury to the breast.

Fat transfer, sometimes called fat grafting, can be an effective solution for patients who aren’t interested in using synthetic fillers or have allergies that prevent the use of other fillers. Fat grafting uses the patient’s existing fat cells to improve the face in several ways, including filling in wrinkles or replacing lost volume in the cheeks, lips, temples, brows, smile lines and even acne scars. The main difference between fat transfer compared to other injectable procedures is that an additional step is required: liposuction must first be used to harvest the fat cells that will be transplanted to the face. When performed in conjunction with a fat transfer augmentation or Brazilian butt lift, it can enhance the overall result by achieving a narrower waistline to accentuate the breast or buttock profile.

Actual
Patient Not a Model

Fat transfer can be performed as a standalone procedure but is often performed in combination with a face lift procedure or other body contouring procedures.

Dr. Placik begins the fat grafting process by using a local anesthetic to increase patient comfort, and will then make small incisions in the donor area to accommodate the cannula that’s used for liposuction. Once a sufficient amount of fat is removed, the cells are put through a cleansing and purification process to prepare them for transfer. Dr. Placik places the viable cells in syringes in order to carefully and strategically inject volume back into the face, improving facial contours and erasing lines and wrinkles, or breasts, buttocks, hands or other contour irregularities.

Fat Transfer to Face

Some initial overfilling is usually necessary in order to compensate for the inevitable partial reabsorption of cells that naturally occurs with fat grafting. Many patients choose to combine fat transfer with other facial rejuvenation procedures such as a facelift, BOTOX® for dynamic wrinkles, or even other dermal fillers or other body contouring procedures.

Fat transfer is typically performed on an outpatient basis, so patients generally go home on the day of their procedure. The recovery from fat transfer is not typically as long as conventional liposuction may require, although there may still be a mild to moderate amount of swelling and discomfort at the donor site. Any tenderness can typically be controlled with medication until the body heals. Although some improvement will be seen immediately, the final results often take months to completely develop, as the transferred fat must become established in its new location. Once this occurs, however, the results are permanent.

Fat Transfer FAQ

Am I a good candidate?

The best way to determine if you’re a good candidate for fat transfer is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Placik. After a physical exam and discussing your goals, Dr. Placik will be able to determine if fat transfer is the ideal procedure for you, or if other facial filler treatments or other procedures may deliver a better outcome.

I’ve heard rumors that fat grafting doesn’t work. Is this true?

Whether fat grafting is successful depends almost entirely on proper technique. When fat is improperly placed or too much fat is placed at one time, the transplanted fat may be unable to maintain the blood supply that is essential for successful transfer. Fat that is placed using conservative, incremental methods, such as those used by Dr. Placik, will have the best survival rate and yield better, longer-lasting results.

Is fat grafting permanent?

How long the results will last depends on several factors. The transplanted fat that develops a healthy blood supply will become a permanent part of the tissues in the face. However, because transplanted fat will behave just like other fat, the cells can be subject to factors such as weight fluctuations and continuation of the aging process. Patients do have the option of having subsequent transfers in the event that they wish to further refine their results, but it’s important to wait for the final outcome of the initial transfer to be evident until touch-up treatments are performed.

How much does fat transfer cost?

The cost of fat transfer will vary from patient to patient and will depend on the areas being treated and the extent of harvesting that is performed before transfer. Dr. Placik and his staff strive to provide excellent value and can help you with financing to make your treatment even more affordable.

Where can fat be transferred?

Depending on your candidacy as determined by Dr. Placik, fat can be injected into lines and wrinkles throughout the face, bags that develop under the eyes and throughout the cheek area that often loses volume and firmness with age. Fat transfer can also be used to plump the lips or improve the contours of the chin. In a similar but more extensive process, fat transfer breast augmentation can even increase bust size, buttock size, hand volume loss, or other contour irregularities.

What are the risks?

Because nothing foreign or synthetic is being placed in the body during fat grafting, the risk of rejection or allergic reaction is largely negated. However, some complications may occur, including swelling, asymmetry and bruising. More serious risks, like bleeding or infection, are rare but still possible.

Dr. Placik promises you his best possible care and attention. If you would like to schedule a private consultation to learn more about fat transfer as an alternative to injectable fillers, please contact us online or call us at 847-398-1660.