Fat Transfer - 5 Frequently asked questions

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Fat transfer, also known as fat injections or fat grafting, involves taking fat from one part of your body and injecting it into the other areas to boost volume and smooth wrinkles.


What are fat transfer injections?

Fat transfer injections are also known as Fat Grafting, Lipofilling or a Coleman Transfer. They are injections of fat that’s been removed from a part of your body where it is unwelcome into another part of your body - where it’s more desirable. Using your body’s own fat as a filler may achieve more satisfying and long-lasting results than synthetic fillers. The most common sites for fat addition are the breasts and face, while the fat is usually taken from the abdomen, thighs hips or buttocks - although procedures such as the ‘Brazilian Butt Lift’ are now transferring fat into the buttocks, in response to the growing fashion for a more rounded bottom.

What’s involved in fat transfer injections?

Fat transfer (lipofilling) is usually done under local anaesthetic and takes just 1-2 hours, although in some circumstances where large areas or volumes of fat are involved, the process may take up to 5 hours and sedation a general anaesthetic may be recommended. Fat is removed by gentle liposuction — usually Microlipo or Vaserlipo — so that it remains an undamaged as possible. Usually the fat will then be refined to separate out damaged fat cells, excess fluid and blood. Then small incisions are made in the desired transferred area and a very fine cannula is used to inject tiny amounts of fat, which will add volume to lean, sagging, hollow or scarred areas.  If you have had a general anaesthetic, you may have to stay in hospital overnight.

What recovery time and results should I expect after fat transfer injections?

There will be some swelling, both at the liposuction site and the transfer site. However some of the swelling at the transfer site will be due to surplus fat; this is because surgeons inject more fat than is needed, as they know only 50-70% of the fat cells will survive. A little bruising is also common. Scarring should be minimal because the surgeon will try to keep the small incsions contained in the natural creases of your skin.

Recovery time varies hugely depending on the extent of the procedure, but most people will be able to return to work within 1-7 days after treatment, although strenuous activity should be avoided for longer and this may mean you need to take more time off work if your job is very physical.

What are the risks of fat transfer?

If you have sedation or general anaesthetic, you should be aware that these carry risks of their own. As with all invasive procedures, fat transfer injections carry a risk of bleeding and infection. There is also a risk of embolism if the fat is accidentally injected into the bloodstream. But both pasts of the procedure are minimally invasive, which reduces the risk of nerve damage and blood clots, so any numbness should be temporary.

How much will fat transfer injections cost?

Some clinic prices for small fat transfer procedures (e.g. wrinkle filling on the face are as low as £640- £800, but the price range for fat transfer is generally £1800 - £8000. Average fees for lipofilling are around £2300- £4300.

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