Fat grafting is a technique through which fat can be taken from one area of the body using modified liposuction techniques, and carefully transferred to another. In its simplest form it can be considered as a kind of volume filler, but we are becoming increasingly aware of potential regenerative applications of transferred fat. The effects of this can include improving the quality of damaged skin or scar tissue or to improve skin pigmentation. Mr Urso-Baiarda is considered an expert in this technique, being asked to speak at national and cross-specialty meetings on its applications.
Fat grafting has a huge number of applications, a few examples including facial rejuvenation, breast enhancement and the so-called Brazilian Butt Lift. It is also used extensively for various forms of breast reconstruction.
Small amounts of fat are harvested from wherever you choose - commonly the abdomen, buttock or thigh, using 3-4 mm scars hidden in natural creases. The fat is then processed and injected into the areas requiring treatment.
Fat grafting technique is critical to a successful outcome. Fat contains living cells that must pick up a blood supply at their new location in order to survive for the long term. To achieve this, tiny fat globules are injected one at a time in lines, creating a 3D matrix of viable fat cells interspersed within your normal tissue. The process is labour intensive but is essential to prevent rapid loss of all your grafted fat. With a proper technique, between two thirds and four fifths of your fat graft volume should be retained permanently.
Anaesthetic: General or Local, depending on the amount of fat grafting and whether it is combined with other surgery
Hospital stay: none for fat grafting alone
Surgery time: Variable
Time off work: 2 weeks
Reasonably mobile: next day
Full recovery: 2-3 weeks
Driving: next day
Exercise: 6 weeks
Analgesia (pain relief) - Ibuprofen and paracetamol can be taken
Daily tepid showers will be possible after 48 hours
Surgical skin tapes should be left in place for 2 weeks
The hospital or surgeon should be contacted if you develop a temperature
The hospital or surgeon should also be contacted immediately in rare cases of bleeding or rapid swelling
Patients should take care not to over exert themselves in the first few weeks and to keep pressure off the wounds
Wounds will be checked and sutures removed normally at 1 week
I will see you routinely at 1, 2 and 6 weeks after surgery
Dressing care nurses may see you more often
Swelling reduces after a few weeks
Fat Graft Safety
Historically there have been theoretical concerns that stem cells contained within fat graft could stimulate tumour growth if any tumour cells had developed - for instance, promoting breast cancer. However this has never been demonstrated, and over the years evidence has accumulate to indicate that fat grafting is a safe procedure without such effects. Some examples of the relevant medical literature are listed below.