Lipofilling, known as fat grafting or fat injections is used to restore the body contour by adding volume to a soft tissue deficit. It could also be used to improve the quality of the scarred tissues. Lipofilling is done in three steeps: harvesting of adipose (fatty) tissue from a donor site with liposuction, cleaning of the aspirated fat, reinjection of the purified fat with specially designed needles in a three-dimensional pattern. As many fat cells as possible should have contact with the recipient tissues to obtain enough oxygen and nutrients to survive.
Fat can be harvested from any part of the body where it accumulates, but is usually taken from the abdomen, hips, knees or thighs. There can be an added benefit at the harvest site as it is reshaped with liposuction. Lipofilling can be performed under local or general anesthesia. The procedure may need to be repeated several times, in three to six months intervals, to achieve the desired result.
The most commonly grafted areas include face (cheeks, lips, deep wrinkles), and depressions in the skin contour such as those that have developed following a liposuction or scarring. For detail information about augmentation of the face, breast and buttock with lipofilling please follow the links.
We were born with a certain amount of fat cells. When we gain weight these cells get bigger, and when we lose weight they get smaller. Everything that reduces (liposuction) or adds (lipofilling) the amount of fat cells has a lasting effect.
Fat is one of most well-tolerated fillers available and therefore, has broad applications. It is natural-appearing, permanent, safe and effective. Perhaps most importantly, it spares the patient the inherent risks associated with foreign materials and lowers the risk of infection. Additionally, larger volumes can be restored. Even though, the procedure is more time consuming the price for lipofilling compared to injectable fillers is favourable, as there is no cost for off-the-shelf fillers. However the outcomes of lipofilling are less predictable and the procedure may have to be repeated to achieve the desired result. The advantage is the results are permanent once the transferred fat has settled.
The result depends on how much fat cells have survived and is somewhat unpredictable. Therefore under or over correction of the defect is possible and additional liposuction or lipofilling are necessary to achieve fully satisfactory results. It is known that the fat cells that remain viable after three months will be there permanently. Slight asymmetry or contour irregularity may be due to swelling which is the most common post-operative side effect. Most of the swelling settles down within several weeks. Lipofilling can lead to small calcifications of fat which usually do not cause any troubles to the patient.
No, the result cannot be guaranteed, as the exact percentage of fat take is impossible to predict. With the appealing concept, the procedure has been extensively popularized in recent years and various techniques for fat harvesting, processing and injecting promoted. So far it was demonstrated that the survival of fat cells is influenced by various different factors and many of them are still unknown.