Fat transfer

What is lipotransfer?
Lipotransfer is a process in which fat from one area of the body is used to build lasting structural changes in other parts of the body and/or face (for example to fill in lines, dents or irregularities, augment the breasts or buttocks). It is commonly known as fat grafting or fat transfer.

How long does the fat last after being placed by lipotransfer?
Fat placed by lipotransfer stays for years or sometimes even permanently.

Does fat grafting really work?
Fatty tissue is extremely fragile and is easily killed. Most techniques used to suction and place the fat traumatize the tissue causing unpredictable results. In our clinic we use special equipments and methods to preserve maximally fat cells.

Can fatty tissue be frozen or stored?
We believe that freezing or storing your fat kills fat cells. Fresh, living fatty tissue is used therefore always removal and placement in a new area is performed on the same day.

Do you use cell assisted transfer in your practice?
We are using a safe and approved method of processing and concentrating the fat we graft and sometimes combined with stem cell grafting- PRP by Regenlab.

Is fat grafting safe?
Yes. People have been grafting fat in humans since 1893. Over the last century the controversy has always involved questions about the survival of the fat, but not its safety.

What type of anesthesia is used?
Most procedures are performed under intravenous anaesthesia provided our board certified anesthesiologists. Some longer procedures are done under general anesthesia and some smaller procedures can be done under local anesthesia.

What is the best place to remove fat from the body for the grafting procedure?
No particular donor area is better than another. We therefore remove fat from the area(s) that will give you the best improvement in contour, or where fat is most readily available (usually abdomen).

If a patient has cheek, chin, or breast implants, is fat grafting possible?
Yes, you can definitely graft fat around implants in the cheeks, chin, breasts, or elsewhere. Sometimes these implants can be visible through the skin and placing fat around the implants can disguise and soften the appearance of the implant, making it look much more natural.

Will the fat move after it is placed by fat transfer?
Your body accepts the transferred fat as an integral part of you unlike silicone or other non-living implants. With fat transfer the fat immediately anchors to the surrounding tissues. Once it has a blood supply, the fat is extremely stable.

What are potential complications?
Complications are rare with fat grafting. However such problems as bleeding, infection, scarring, irregularities and placing too much or too little fat are possible.

Is swelling and bruising severe after fat grafting?
The placement of tiny bits of fat requires multiple passes with the cannula. This tends to create a fair amount of bruising and swelling. In general, bruising will resolve in 2-3 weeks. Swelling where the fat grafts have been placed is usually acceptable in 2-3 weeks, but will take several months to completely heal. Swelling in the donor, or harvesting sites can take 3-6 months to completely resolve.

Will fat transfer help for the aging pace?
As you age and lose the fullness of youth, your face literally becomes smaller. The skin remains the same size, but the layer of supportive fat and connective tissue shrinks with time. Without the underlying structure, your skin retreats into wrinkles and folds. As the missing structure under the skin is restored with fat transfer, wrinkles and folds will become smaller or sometimes disappear.

Why do the doctors make in photographs before operation?
Doctors study photographs before and after operation to determine the changes, to evaluate the results and to show them to patients.

How much larger can I make my breasts with fat grafting?
Fat grafting to the breasts for augmentation requires a large volume of fat. Generally speaking, we can enlarge the breasts by one cup size per surgery. We can usually turn an A cup into a B cup, or a B cup into a C cup. Enlargement beyond one cup size usually requires additional procedures.

How long does it take to do a fat grafting procedure to the breast?
First, care must be taken to remove fat in an aesthetically appealing manner so that the patient’s body shape is improved without creating new problems at the removal sites. Next, the non-living components of the fat are removed. Finally, the fat is layered into the breast both to ensure access to a good blood supply, and also to sculpt the breast in a three-dimensional manner. The procedure takes from 3 to 5 hours on average.

What is the average graft survival rate?
Fat is a fragile tissue that can be easily damaged. The techniques used to harvest fat, washing it by removing the non-living components, and place the tissue in a fashion that ensures it will be close to a blood supply are extremely important. In addition, the patients themselves (health, weight, access to donor tissue, hormonal status, scarring at graft site, etc.) can influence fat survival. Studies have demonstrated a survival rate of up to 85%.

Do you use pre-expansion devices (like the Brava system) for transferring fat to breasts?
We use such devices in cases where we feel the patient would benefit from external expansion, such as in very thin, small-breasted women. We recommend using the device to prepare the breast before surgery by expanding the “envelope” into which fat can be placed, and by helping to increase the blood supply. Such devices are not needed in every breast fat grafting case and the need is decided during the consultation.

When can I come back to work?
Most patients will feel fairly well at about one week after surgery, and may return to work if they feel up to it. However, most patients are still sore and tired for at least 2 weeks.

How long should I stay in Lithuania before my flight?
We encourage out-of-country patients to stay in Lithuania for approximately a week after surgery.

When will I be able to exercise after fat grafting?
Most patients can return to light exercise at about 10 days to 2 weeks. But we do not want patients doing anything that could interfere with the success of the fat grafts. After three weeks, patients can ease back into their pre-operative routines.

How long am I swollen after fat grafting to the breast?
The majority of swelling in the breasts will be gone at 2-3 weeks after surgery. The donor sites will be swollen much longer. It can take 2-4 months for all of the swelling to resolve, but patients feel they look pretty good at 3-4 weeks. The donor sites will be hard and “woody” feeling for a few months. The size and shape of the breasts are not expected to change after the first 4-6 months.

How long does it take to do a fat grafting procedure to correct liposuction deformities or to augment the body?
To obtain the long-term results (filling and shaping), the procedure is meticulous and time-consuming. The length of the procedure is determined by how large the defects are, as well as how much fat the patient has and in what areas it is located. A simple procedure may take less than 1 hour; a complicated one may take as long as 5 hours.

Can scarring under the skin be a problem when correcting liposuction deformities?
In liposuction deformities created by simple liposuction, adhesions or scars causing the skin to be stuck down to the underlying muscles and other tissues are not common. However, after laser liposuction, ultrasonic liposuction, mesotherapy, or liposuction complicated by collections of fluid, adhesions and deep scars are more common. Similarly, deformities induced by trauma or injections are more likely to have troublesome scarring under the skin. We approach such scarring by first placing as much fat into the scarred area as possible. Sometimes this will be enough to release minor adhesions. If an adhesion persists, we can use specially designed instruments to manually separate the scar from the tissue to which it is stuck. The area is much more likely to be smooth if the adhesions are released.

Is massage good to improve recovery?
We encourage lymphatic drainage massage to speed recovery. This is a very light massage to help your body remove swelling, and it should be done by a massage therapist specifically trained in this technique. We discourage deep massage for the first two months or more after surgery. The transplanted fat will usually have blood vessels growing into it by two weeks, but deep massage can disrupt the new vessels in the grafted fat. Touching the skin gently for washing and application of lotions, etc., is not a problem.