A fat transfer is the process of surgically transferring fat from one area of the body to another. At Adelaide Plastic Surgery our surgeons commonly perform a fat transfer on its own, as well as to compliment other procedures and create soft, natural looking results.
In relation to the face, a fat transfer is a useful technique when looking to add volume to areas which, as a result of the natural aging process, have had a loss of fat. This includes cheekbones, under the eyes, or the creases between the mouth and nose known as naso-labial folds. Your surgeon may also recommend a fat transfer, or fat grafting, to help improve the appearance of depressed scars.
One of the benefits of a fat transfer is the ability to use your own fatty reserves rather than relying on a synthetic product. As this fat naturally occurs within the body, it has minimal risk of adverse reactions and is particularly beneficial for people who are allergic to other injectable treatments.
Because a fat transfer does not utilise synthetic products, your body will naturally reabsorb a percentage of the transferred fat. Therefore, in order to achieve the final result you’re after, your surgeon will account for this by over-correcting the treated area.
If you would like to find out more, one of our specialist plastic surgeons would be pleased to discuss your options in an initial consultation.
The Procedure + Surgical Techniques
As only a small amount of adipose tissue (fat) is needed for facial fat transfer, only minor liposuction is required. Your surgeon will harvest the adipose tissue with a fat transfer cannular into a syringe, commonly from the buttock, thigh or abdomen. Your surgeon will pre-determine the volume required and the best suited location for this liposuction during your initial consultation, which is dependent on your individual body type.
Once harvested, the fat is then re injected into the face using a sterilised syringe and needle. This technique is similar to those used for cosmetic injections with dermal fillers. Our plastic surgeons take care to distribute the fat smoothly and evenly. This is to ensure best possible aesthetic results, as well as improve the likelihood of the fat cells finding blood supply and surviving in this new location.
For further information on this procedure we highly recommend watching the animated video on our website.
Hospital Stay and Anaesthesia
Depending on individual circumstances, your surgery can be safely performed either under a general anaesthetic with an anaesthetist present, or, in our rooms in our accredited theatre with just a local anaesthetic. In most cases, an overnight stay is not required. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your choices in your initial consultation and determine which option is best for you.
In order to keep your consultation as smooth and efficient as possible, we ask that you please bring all relevant documentation with you on the day. This includes your referral letter, Medicare card, private health insurance details and any third party or return to work insurance information.
During your initial consultation with one of our specialist plastic surgeons, you will have an extended opportunity to discuss expectations and desired outcomes, along with any questions you may have about the procedure. And remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question!
You will then meet with one of our experienced nurses, where you will have clinical images taken in our blue room as a before and after reference for both yourself and your surgeon (please note that all our images are confidential and are stored securely online with the current privacy act).
The final stage involves meeting with your surgeon’s personal assistant. You will be given an in-depth quote, outlining the surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist fees, along with some take home information your procedure.
There is a lot of information to take in after your first consultation. We encourage our patients to go home and discuss their procedure with loved ones and come back for a subsequent visit. We find our patients almost always come back with additional questions they hadn’t previously thought of, and this second visit allows you to go into your surgery feeling confident and fully informed about your procedure. We recommend that you allow an hour for this consultation. Please keep this in mind when organising parking so that you don’t feel the need to rush.
Before your procedure
There are a number of things you can start to implement before your procedure, to encourage a smooth recovery and ensure you are as comfortable as possible post-surgery.
It is important that you:
- Exercise, having good physical health will significantly help your recovery process
- Provide a complete medical history for your specialist plastic surgeon, including all current medications, as some may need to be stopped prior to surgery.
- Quit smoking
- If you’re having general anaesthesia, it is important that you pre-arrange someone to transport you too and from your surgery, as well as stay with you 48 hours after returning home.
- Ensure you follow pre-operative instructions, such as fasting times, or your procedure may have to be cancelled.
- You may wish to pre-purchase medical grade camouflage makeup, to help cover any residual redness or bruising post-surgery. Many of our facial procedure patients find this helpful when getting back to day-to-day activities. We are pleased to offer our patients the entire Jane Iredale collection, a medical grade mineral makeup that is safe to use post operatively
Prepare your recovery area! You’ll want to have everything you need to recover easily accessible and within arm’s reach. We suggest comfortable pillows, icepacks, prescribed medications, emergency contact details, a phone, as well as things to keep you entertained.
Recovery time is highly individual and your time frame for recovery will vary depending on your individual surgery details, the nature of your employment and your overall level of health. Your surgeon will discuss this with you prior to surgery, and it is important to allow yourself the recommended recovery time.
On discharge, you will be given specific postoperative instructions to facilitate recovery, and a follow-up appointment will be made with your plastic surgeon. These instructions will cover everything you will need to know in order to make your recovery as smooth and comfortable as possible.
There will be a very small wound from your donor site (location where the fat was harvested). A small tape dressing will be applied to the area, as the entry point from the cannular is very small and does not require suturing to close. It is common to experience bruising and swelling to the face in areas that have been injected. This usually settles within a two-week period, after which, normal activities and work can be resumed. During this time, it is important not to massage or rub the face, as this may disrupt the final outcome of your procedure. A post-operative appointment will be booked for you two weeks after surgery, at this time your surgeon will review your results and check your recovery process.
It is safe to use mineral makeup to help cover any residual redness or bruising if you wish, and for your convenience, we offer a complimentary camouflage lesson using the Jane Iredale mineral makeup range. As a practice our philosophy is built around holistic treatment. For this reason, during your makeup consultation you will also be given the opportunity to discuss ways you can care for and protect your skin, post-surgery and in the future. This includes skincare, make up, non-surgical treatment options and most importantly – sun protection! Our team is here to support you to make a swift, uncomplicated recovery. We offer a 24/7 on-call medical assistance service for all our post-operative patients.
Ready to book an initial consultation?
If you are ready to book your initial consultation, please book online or call us to book with one of our helpful team members. We’ll be pleased to help you start your journey.
Not quite ready or have a question to ask?
Stay up to date
News – March 23, 2023
Will my surgery leave me with a scar?
Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Anthony Porter and Jo Herreen RN discuss everything you need to know about post surgical scarring in our latest blog post. Read it now