Neil J. Zemmel, MD, FACS
Megan J. Goff, PA-C
Rachel M. Duke, NP, CANS
Short Pump Office
11934 W Broad Street, Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23233
804-464-3801

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Body and Breast Fat Grafting

Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer, is an innovative surgical procedure that involves harvesting excess fat from one area of the body and transferring it to a more desirable location. This is considered a more natural method for cosmetic enhancement since it uses the patient’s own tissue. Highly experienced in this procedure, our plastic surgeon Dr. Neil Zemmel can provide beautiful augmentation results in the area of concern with the added benefit of contouring the donor area. Fat grafting can also be used to help combat signs of aging by acting as a filler for areas that have lost their youthful appearance.

How does fat grafting work?

The fat grafting procedure begins with liposuction of the donor area, during which excess fatty tissue is removed. Common areas of the body that tend to work well for this include the abdomen, flanks, hips, and thighs. Dr. Zemmel is meticulous in this stage of the transfer process, ensuring you receive the most natural-looking contour results.

Once harvested, the fat goes through a purification process to allow for safe reintroduction back into the body. Your doctor will strategically inject this tissue into the target area according to your aesthetic goals.

The amount of fat needed will vary based on the area being enhanced, as well as the purpose of the injections. Fat grafting can be used to augment areas like the breasts or buttocks, smooth scar depressions, or treat signs of aging.

What areas can be treated with fat grafting?

shutterstock_111102404In addition to facial fat grafting, Dr. Zemmel perform the procedure on the following body areas:

  • Breasts
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Hands
  • Feet

What can I expect during the procedure?

When you come in for your fat grafting procedure, you will be able to ask any last questions you may have. Prior to the surgery, you will be given anesthesia to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the process. If you are undergoing a larger fat transfer, you may need general anesthesia. Should the procedure only require minor fat grafting, this is typically well-tolerated with a local anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, your plastic surgeon will perform liposuction to gently extract fatty tissue from the donor area. Once processed and purified, the fat is reinjected in small droplets into the target area. This is done to maximize the natural aesthetic of your results, as well as ensure each fat droplet receives an adequate blood supply for the graft to survive.

What does recovery from fat grafting entail?

Following your fat grafting procedure, you may experience mild pain at the grafting and donor sites, which can typically be controlled with oral pain medications. Numbness is also common in these areas, but this should mostly resolve in about 6 weeks, though it may persist for up to 6 months. It is normal to develop moderate swelling in the beginning stages of your recovery. As this fades over the course of a few weeks, you can begin to notice your results. Minor swelling may persist for as long as 3 months.

The long-term results from fat grafting will ultimately depend on how much of the grafted fat survives. On average, about 30% of the grafted tissue is absorbed by the body. Due to this absorption gradually occurring, your results may continue to change over time. If one transfer procedure did not provide the desired amount of enhancement, our doctors can provide additional treatments to achieve optimal results.

Fat grafting can also be used to help combat signs of aging by acting as a filler for areas that have lost their youthful appearance.

Are there any complications?

Fat grafting can provide beautiful results for the right candidates, but like all surgical procedures, it has some risks. However, since the liposuction and transfer injections are performed by our board-certified plastic surgeon, potential complications are rare and typically minor. Risks associated with fat grafting include:

  • Hematoma (blood clotting below the skin)
  • Asymmetrical results
  • Uneven skin surface
  • Temporary numbness in the target area
  • Infection

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Contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery

For more information about fat grafting and how it can enhance your appearance, please contact Richmond Aesthetic Surgery to schedule your consultation.

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