Fat grafting is generating a lot of excitement in the plastic surgery field as techniques improve and more patients realize the long-lasting results they can achieve enhancing several areas of the body. At the same time, it’s easy to overlook the technique that makes fat grafting possible: liposuction. At my New Jersey practice, the combination of liposuction and fat grafting is an ideal treatment plan for many of my patients.
If you aren’t familiar with fat grafting, which is sometimes called fat transfer, it’s a technique that re-injects a patient’s purified fat into areas of the face that are often treated with synthetic dermal fillers. It’s also used for cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery. The fat is harvested from other areas of the body using liposuction. That makes it a “win-win” procedure; a patient who wants a more youthful face, for example, also gets slimmer thighs.
The procedure may take one or more stages, with facial procedures usually taking one stage. The surgeon first removes the fatty tissue and processes it to remove contaminants, leaving behind only the purified fat. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves a few days of recovery time at a minimum.
Next comes the injection stage. One of the challenges of fat grafting that I addressed in an earlier blog post is the unpredictable viability of fat after it’s re-injected. In simple terms, some of the fat cells used in grafting won’t survive and will be naturally absorbed by the body. One key to harvesting fat for use in fat grafting is removing it using a gentle liposuction method to prevent damage to the cells.
HydraSolve® is an ideal technique because it uses a low-pressure stream of a saline solution, bathing the fat and removing it in a simultaneous procedure. There are no thrusting cannulas with sharpened edges. The liquefied donor fat for a grafting procedure consists primarily of healthy fat cells rather than damaged ones, making HydraSolve ideally suited for the technique, so much so that the FDA has cleared it for that purpose.
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