Fat injection techniques have improved significantly in the past ten years, providing more reliable, longer lasting, and in many cases permanent results. The procedure entails harvesting fat from the patient’s body, usually from the abdominal or hip region, and injecting it back into the desired treatment region. Some resorption may occur and repeat treatment may be necessary.
Body Contour Deformities after Surgery
Contour irregularities can occur after body contour procedures such as abdominoplasty surgery, body lift surgery, and most commonly after liposuction procedures. Fat injections can be placed in over-treated liposuction areas while liposuction can be used to compensate in areas of under treatment.
Brazilian Buttock Lift (BBL)
Buttock augmentation can be performed with buttock implants or in a more natural way by fat injection, when fat cells (adipocytes) are harvested from other areas of the body and inserted into the buttocks to provide augmentation in this desirable area. Commonly, it is done in conjunction with liposuction of the abdomen, hip area (flanks), and even the thighs. The goal is to provide a nice shapely buttock region balanced with a fine waist to bring out the natural feminine curves. (See BBL treatment.)
Breast Augmentation Deformities
The main indication for fat injection is for breast implant rippling in very thin patients. This is an alternative to using Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM). The fat like with other procedures can be harvested from other regions such as from the abdomen and hips.
“I don’t think I have one favorite thing about plastic surgery. I enjoy practicing plastic surgery because I find it very creative since there are many ways to approach an individual’s treatment. In other words, each day brings a new adventure. It allows me to challenge my artistic side. I also enjoy the many different people that walk through my office doors and become part of my practice. I treat everyone as if they are a part of my family, and I have made many new friends that way.”
Breast Reconstruction Deformities
After either autologous (using the patient’s own tissue) or non-autologous (using tissue expanders and implants) reconstruction, several different contour issues may develop. Commonly, the upper axillary region is not well reconstructed using either form of breast reconstruction. This area which was previously treated during mastectomy may be very flat and unnatural. Also, due to soft tissue discrepancy issues, contour asymmetries may be present along the border of the autologous reconstruction and the native chest soft tissues. In addition, after an implant reconstruction, the implant may be very noticeable due to the thinness of the overlying mastectomy flaps. In all these situations various revision maneuvers can be performed to improve the contour. Sometimes an Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM) is used, and very commonly in the last few years fat injection has been employed with great success. Fat injection may also benefit patients with radiation damaged skin over their implants or autologous reconstruction.
Facial rejuvenation techniques have evolved. In the past, skin and soft tissue laxity was treated solely with face lifting techniques. As the understanding of facial aging has improved, it is apparent that not only do patients’ skin lose elasticity and sag, but facial atrophy, more specifically facial fat loss, is a key component to facial aging. This is a reason why facial fillers have become so popular. However, most of these available filler products resorb overtime and last an average of six months to a year. They are great products, and Dr. Wallach uses them frequently. Fat injection techniques have improved significantly as the understanding of how to harvest and inject the fat has been refined. With this in mind, may plastic surgeons have been incorporating facial fat injection into their armamentarium of facial rejuvenation solutions. Sometimes this is used as the sole means of rejuvenation, but many times it is performed in conjunction with face lifting procedures. Some resorption of the fat does occur and repeat treatment may be necessary.
Primary Breast Augmentation
Fat injection techniques have been used by some surgeons to perform primary breast augmentation. This is in lieu of using an implant. The fat injection may require revision for further augmentation. Some are using the BRAVA™ System to enhance “take” of the fat grafts. The BRAVA™ System works like a tissue expander on the outside of the skin. It is like a giant suction cup that pulls the breast skin into the device. Patients have to wear the device for ten hours a day for a minimum of ten weeks to allow for the expansion to work properly. Once the expansion is complete, the patient then undergoes the fat injection procedure. In Dr. Wallach’s practice, the majority of his patients want breast implants as the procedure of choice for augmentation because of the consistent and reliable results.
Primary Breast Reconstruction
In a similar way, fat injection has been performed by some surgeons as the sole means of breast reconstruction in delayed cases. Some are using the BRAVA™ System to enhance “take” of the fat grafts and to distract the tight skin envelop after mastectomy. The BRAVA™ System works like a tissue expander on the outside of the skin. It is like a giant suction cup that pulls the breast skin into the device. Patients have to wear the device for ten hours a day for a minimum of ten weeks to allow for the expansion to work properly. Once the expansion is complete, the patient then undergoes the fat injection procedure. In Dr. Wallach’s practice, the majority of his patients want other modalities of breast reconstruction using soft tissue flap reconstruction or tissue expander to implant reconstructions as the procedures of choice because of the consistent and reliable results. He will use fat injection for revisions as a secondary procedure to enhance the results from the initial reconstruction.
If you would like more information about Dr. Wallach and his success with New York City Fat Injection procedures, we hope that you will not hesitate to contact our Manhattan offices at (212) 257-3263 or by mail at 1049 5th Avenue, Suite 2D in New York, NY 10028; or using our contact form to request additional details. For more information, visit the Fat Injection FAQ page, or visit our blog.