It is the middle of 2019 and this is far from a novel trend, but fat grafting is now one of the most important procedures that we in the industry have at our disposal. At TSLMS part of our job is to provide educational opportunities to our membership – and while we focus primarily on lasers and laser surgeries we are inclusive in the topics that we focus on for educational purposes. Afterall, the goal of the Tennessee Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (TSLMS) is to promote patient welfare and advance the science of laser technology in the health care professions. The Society was established for the purpose of maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards in the practice of laser medicine and surgery.
Anyone who attended SCALE Music City this year, or in prior years, is likely looking forward to our 2020 program for this reason. The educational opportunities go far beyond the laser into other surgical and treatment methods. This includes the processes involved with the various fat grafting for beauty procedures.
Fat Grafting As A Science
Fat grafting involves liposuction, processing the fat, and then the implantation of that fat strategically into new areas of the body. While this is done in some cases for reconstruction or to build up the body, most of our clients and patients that get fat grafting are requesting procedures to enhance or retain their looks in a way that is actually optional and personal. Helping them understand the science behind their procedure can help them have a lot of confidence in you as their practitioner, as well as having realistic expectations regarding their results.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons describes the history of fat grafting procedures quite thoroughly:
The first ‘fat grafting’ procedure dates back to the late 19th century, 1893, when a German Plastic Surgeon, Gustav Neuber (1850-1932) transferred fat from the arm to the orbital (eye) region to correct scars formed from osteomyelitis (bone infection). Only two years later, 1895, Dr. Viktor Czerny (1842-1916) transferred a lipoma to the breast to establish symmetry following a unilateral partial mastectomy. However, fat grafting had trouble gaining acceptance during the next 100 years due to the many complications that routinely accompanied the procedure. Modern liposuction techniques had not yet been developed or standardized and the extracted fat was generally of inconsistent quality, which yielded poor results.
In the 1990’s, Dr. Sydney Coleman, a New York City Plastic Surgeon, began publishing papers describing standardized techniques for fat extraction, processing, and injection. Since that point in time, the procedure’s popularity has only increased along with a wider variety of clinical applications.
There is evidence that the donor site of the fat is not relevant to the success, safety, and efficacy of the fat grafting success. When the fat is taken out the body it is typically liquified through either centrifugation or sedimentation. It is then slowly injected into the recipient area. When done with careful attention to the details of the application, this can be used in a number of beauty enhancement procedures that include areas of the body such as the face and the breasts.
Breast Augmentation Via Fat Graft
Also known as lipo-modeling, the use of ones’ own body fat for breast enhancement is an exciting advancement in the field. It provides the promise of more healthy and natural breast augmentations that run less medical risks of complications than other types of implants do. It is increasingly popular, like many fat graft procedures. Popularity for these types of procedures becomes even greater when the beauty industry and its major lifestyle publications introduce them as the next big thing.
For instance, in 2017 BAZAAR wrote about this, highlighting the benefits of lipo-modeling for breasts:
In the case of a natural looking breast augmentation (think an undetectable boob job, either by a modest size increase or a balancing of asymmetry), it is considered to have a more natural feel than silicone and saline solutions which are traditionally used to fill implants. Whether you get the very specific size or shape you’d like isn’t for certain, though, given that it’s difficult to predict exact sizes or measurements.
Professor Sforza does guarantee, however, that in keeping with its natural aesthetic, any scarring is minimal. “Only a very fine cannula is needed to perform the treatment” he says, “so the incisions are incredibly small and usually very well-hidden”.
Plus, given the avoidance of synthetic fillers, “patients are less likely to experience allergies, infections, or a high rejection rate…”
This and other stories helped to propel the market. This, in turn, has led more and more practitioners to focus on fat grafting techniques for breasts, buttocks, and faces (along with other body parts that people want plumped).
Unique Lipo-Modeling Techniques
In the world of cosmetic procedures, there are some pretty interesting and unique procedures. Some of them come about because they are cutting edge and some of them are simply related to beauty trends – and trends are always changing. As more and more plastic surgeons move toward these techniques with their patients, the possibilities of some pretty unique approaches come into play. So while we are not seeing much in the way of outrageous facial morphing yet, we can expect to start seeing people do and redo their appearances more frequently with this less invasive and safer set of techniques.