Lipofilling describes the process of taking fat from one part of the body (the donor site) using special techniques, processing it, and injecting it into another area of the body (the recipient site) for aesthetic or functional reasons. It often requires more than one session (procedure) to produce the final desired result. This is because the fat needs to develop a blood supply from its new “home” and if too much is put in at any one time, problems can occur (see below). Therefore as much as is safe is injected at any one time to avoid complications, but often this is not enough to complete the final desired outcome in one sitting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Small volume lipofilling may be performed under a local anaesthetic (with you awake), but it is normally performed under a general anaesthetic (with you asleep). First of all, fat is harvested from previously agreed areas, such as the abdomen, the flanks or the thighs. This is done through very small incisions using a technique similar to liposuction.
Subsequently, the fat is filtered and washed in saline, to purify it and remove any blood or excess oil. Once ready, it is put into syringes and can then be injected via tiny “stab incisions” into the desired location.
Lipofilling uses your own fat, which is therefore 100% natural. Once injected, a proportion of the fat will be reabsorbed by the body (up to 50% in some circumstances), however the remainder will last as a permanent filler. The final consistency is soft and pliable, replicating the areas where it is administered.
The length of surgery depends upon the volume of fat to be transferred and may take between 1-3 hours.
Initially there will be bruising in the area that fat was harvested from (this may last 2-4 weeks but continues to improve with time), and you may have some straw-coloured fluid oozing from the donor site wounds temporarily. Wearing a supportive pressure garment for 6-weeks following the surgery may help to speed up the resolution of any swelling at the donor site.
At the site of fat injection, there will be swelling which lasts around 6-weeks. It is important to be aware that this swelling will subside, which then shows the amount of fat that will permanently remain – if you are not aware of this, it can be disappointing to see the swelling disappear! As mentioned above, it is usual for more than one session of fat grafting to be needed to achieve the final desired result.
Most people will be able to return to work at 1-2 weeks following surgery, but you may need longer if larger volumes have been transferred. Any discomfort and pain may be relieved with painkillers and you are encouraged to gently walk after the operation.
Strenuous activity should be avoided for at least 2-weeks. You may be able to drive from 48-72 hours after surgery, but remember that you need to be comfortable in performing an emergency stop or similar manoeuvre.
The Lipocube™ is a state-of-the-art mechanical digestion device for the isolation of SVF from lipoaspirate.
Autologous fat is harvested from the patient under local or general anaesthesia. The fat tissue is mechanically processed using the Lipocube™ in a closed sterile system. The stromal vascular fraction is mixed with fat harvested from the patient to improve the uptake of fat within the breast or other area. Cellular Optimized Nanofat improves the likelihood of better regenerative outcomes.
You can expect an increase in volume of about one cup size from fat grafting. It is possible to repeat the procedure a second or third time to improve the final results.
Yes, lipofilling can be combined with breast augmentation in a technique called hybrid breast augmentation. This can reduce the size of the implant required whilst increasing the volume of autologous fat transferred to the breast,
It is particularly useful for improving the upper pole fullness and cleavage area of the breasts to enhance then overall result of a breast augmentation.
A key outcome of our consultation is that I understand your expectations and you understand the risks.
Our consultation will establish the aims of your surgery: what it can and what it can’t achieve.
We will then discuss what will happen before, during and after your operation, what you will experience and the impact on your daily life during the recovery period.
I will describe the effects of surgery including some of the unavoidable consequences, such as the scar and areas which may become numb. I will illustrate these with photos and provide written information.
I will explain the risks of surgery such as bleeding, infection and wound healing problems and how to mitigate against them. I will also advise you about the risks from the anaesthetic such as a DVT (venous blood clot in the legs) and how we reduce these risks.
The consultation is a bespoke interaction between us to help you reach a considered and informed decision.