Sometimes the effects of aging or genetics can cause a part of your body to lack the volume you desire. For some women, aging causes the depletion of fat cells in certain places, causing the skin to lose volume and sag. For others, their genetics didn’t provide them with the contours and curves they desire. These issues and others can be addressed via fat grafting by Dustin C. Derrick, MD, the leading plastic surgeon for Mommy makeovers at Cosmetic Surgery of DFW in Fort Worth, TX.
Having fat on your body isn’t a bad thing. Fat can help create volume in the skin, under the skin, or just about anywhere you feel needs improvement. This procedure isn’t necessarily intended to remove large amounts of fat, but instead to rearrange where the fat is located on your body, providing you with the cosmetic results you desire while leaving you looking and feeling great.
What Is Fat Grafting?
This is a procedure that is personalized for each patient. The purpose of the procedure is to relocate fat from an area of your body where there is an abundance to another area where there is little in order to redefine the area and give it a more aesthetically pleasing contour.
The procedure is both safe and effective, and it provides results that are long-lasting and natural-looking. It can be done in a variety of places throughout the body, including the face, hands, breast, or buttocks.
How Fat Grafting Works
The first step in the procedure is to collect the fat from the donor site you and your doctor have selected. The abdomen is the most commonly chosen donor area among most patients: however, there are many potential sites that can be used, such as the love handles, thighs, and back of the arms. The fat is collected using liposuction and requires only a very small incision through which a cannula will be inserted to remove fat via suction.
The fluid removed during liposuction is treated to remove excess fluid from damaged fat cells. It is washed and purified to remove any potential contaminants and then readied to be reinfected at the treatment site.
Once the fat has been processed, it is re-injected into its new location on your body through the use of special cannulas. Generally, the cannulas are small and designed to be gentle on fat cells. We will inject the fat into several tunnels and layers to ensure the fat is widely dispersed throughout your tissues and doesn’t pool in a single area.
When fat pools in an area, it tends to lead to a decreased acceptance of the transferred fat. Most surgeons expect around 60% to 70% of fat to survive the transfer process to its new location. Survival rates have generally been higher, and patient satisfaction increased when the injections are spread throughout the treatment area.
The procedure has been around for decades, and over time the techniques used have been revised and improved. However, results are still affected by the body’s ability to accept the fat in the new location. Since it’s your own fat, with your genetic material, you don’t have to worry about your body not accepting the fat transfer. It’s your own fat, of course, so your body will accept it.
One of the biggest reasons only 60% to 70% of transferred fat survives the process is because your body will need time to build blood vessels to supply the fat cells with nutrients. This is why the “pooling” of fat cells can be so detrimental to your outcomes. Fat cells in the middle of the “pool” cannot be reached by your body’s blood vessels, often resulting in weaker survival rates.
Doctors are well-aware of the fact that not all fat may survive a fat grafting procedure once it has been injected into its new location, so how the procedure is done will depend a lot on what your overall cosmetic goals are, the area(s) you’re looking to have addressed, and the availability of donor fat in other areas of your body.
Can It Help You Lose Weight?
While some weight can be lost during fat grafting and liposuction, it shouldn’t be considered a weight loss solution. The amount of fat people end up losing as a result of the procedure is pretty small and will probably amount to only a few pounds. The procedure is intended for people who are at or near their ideal body weight already and are simply looking for a way to “sculpt” their body into more personally pleasing proportions.
The desire to lose significant weight doesn’t necessarily preclude you from candidacy, though. Depending on your current conditions and cosmetic goals, you may be asked to lose weight before undergoing surgery. Once the surgery is complete, it will be very important that you’re able to maintain your current weight and are able to keep fluctuations in check.
What Are the Benefits of Fat Grafting?
The procedure has been proven effective at helping patients achieve a slimmer, firmer, smoother body contour. Those who choose to have the procedure done in other areas of their body, such as the face, hands, or neck, can enjoy a drastic reduction in lines and wrinkles leading to a younger-looking, rejuvenated appearance that looks and feels natural.
It Can Remove Fat Deposits
It’s important to understand that having some fat on your body is okay. Fat plays an important role in providing shock absorption to your organs, insulation to help with temperature regulation, and to function as one of the primary forms of energy storage. When you have excess pockets of fat around your body, however, whether due to significant weight loss or gain, it can result in a disproportionate appearance.
This procedure allows you to remove fat from one specific location of your body without having to undergo diet and exercise to do so. While diet and exercise are both important for your physical health, when you engage in them specifically for weight loss, you can never be sure how your body is going to look when you’re done. With fat grafting, these issues can be corrected.
It Can Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite
If you struggle with the appearance of cellulite, know that you aren’t alone. Cellulite, and its dimpled appearance, are caused by fat cells pushing through the structural collagen layer of your skin. Popular opinion often states that cellulite is related to your existing amount of body fat. In reality, it isn’t related to existing fat and can develop in patients of any shape and size: even those who aren’t considered overweight.
The appearance of cellulite is more closely tied to genetics than anything else, and the creams, ointments, and moisturizers that promise to reduce its appearance are often ineffective. When you undergo fat grafting from one area of your body to another, it’s possible to choose an area of your body where you have cellulite as a donor area. By removing some fat, the appearance of cellulite can be significantly reduced.
It Can Alter Two Areas at Once
Most cosmetic procedures and treatments focus on addressing one issue at a time. Depending on what your cosmetic goals are, you may need to undergo more than one procedure to achieve them. With this procedure, you can effectively improve the volume of one are of your body while reducing the volume of another without having to schedule a second surgery.
For example, you can add volume to your breasts while simultaneously reshaping the contour of your buttocks. Or, you can have fat extracted from your upper arms and have it injected into your face, thereby improving the tone of your arms while also reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles on your face and neck.
It Can Boost Your Self-Confidence
Being unhappy with your appearance can have some nasty side effects. A lot of people who feel self-conscious about their appearance habitually avoid certain social situations and activities because of their negative feelings. Maybe you’re avoiding the beach because you don’t like how you look in a bathing suit or you’re putting off dating because you just don’t feel like you look good in any of your outfits.
It’s hard to change the shape of your body outside of diet and exercise, and even then, your results are dictated by your genetics, not what you want yourself to look like. When you undergo this procedure, we can help you reshape areas of your body to better fit the proportions you want. If you want a smaller waist and larger bust, we can do that. If you’d like to turn back the clock by reducing the signs of aging on your face, neck, or hands, we can do that, too.
Why Choose Us?
We know how difficult it can be when you’re dissatisfied with your appearance. That’s why we treat every patient with the kindness and understanding that they deserve. If you’re not sure about which procedures or treatments are right for you, we’ll be happy to go over your issues and concerns and make suggestions based on which services we provide that will be most effective at producing the results you crave.
Dustin C. Derrick, MD
Dr. Derrick is the founder and owner of our office. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he double-majored in biology and kinesiology. After obtaining his degrees, he then attended the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and earned an MD. Dr. Derrick went on to perform his residency at the University of Texas Southwestern/Parkland Program and became a general surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery.
After completing his residency and achieving his board certification, Dr. Derrick continued his education with the Summa Health System Program, where he participated in a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship.
Change Your Body, Change Your Life
No matter what age we are, our bodies won’t always do what we want them to. Sometimes we have too much fat in one area and too little fat in another, often resulting in feelings of self-consciousness, imbalance, or just general dissatisfaction with the shape of our bodies. Thanks to fat grafting, self-consciousness, imbalance, and dissatisfaction can be eliminated.
During the process, fat is taken from an area of abundance via liposuction and then injected into another part of your body where you desire more volume. These areas can be large, such as the breasts or buttocks, or very small, like your face, hands, or neck. If you have any questions about this procedure or about a Mommy Makeover and would like to schedule a consultation with Dustin C. Derrick, MD at Cosmetic Surgery of DFW in Fort Worth, TX, give us a call at 817-529-4314.