Liposuction and fat transfer has a significant impact on how plastic surgery today is performed. The modern approach is to replace likes with likes and make every effort to use the patient’s own tissue, as opposed to synthetic prosthetics. Hence, patients nowadays are not limited to choosing facial, breast, and buttock implants because their very own fat can be used as a “volumizer.”
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says liposuction and fat transfer is particularly helpful in buttock augmentation. Instead of using solid silicone implants to reshape the patient’s derriere, the procedure has allowed doctors to deliver more natural and softer results.
Buttock augmentation via fat transfer is more commonly referred to as Brazilian butt lift. (This is a misnomer since the procedure does not actually lift the buttocks; it only reshapes and augments them with the patient’s own fat usually derived from the hip-flank region, abdomen, and lower back.)
While liposuction and fat transfer has also been successfully performed in breast augmentation procedure, the use of implants remains the gold standard because of their more predictable results and they give more control over the size and projection of the postop breasts.
Breast augmentation via fat transfer is less likely to deliver more than a cup size increase. Attempting to inject large amounts of fats without taking into account the “pressure and strain” experienced by grafts—a particular concern in women with a rather tight skin—will result in low survival rate and less than optimal results, warns Dr. Smiley.
Fortunately, the aforementioned risks are less of an issue in Brazilian butt lift, he explains.
Aside from Brazilian butt lift, the celebrity plastic surgeon says that fat transfer is also helpful in facial rejuvenation procedures, particularly in facelift surgery, which can only address sagging skin and tissue laxity and has no or very little effect on facial volume or fat loss.
With fat transfer, Dr. Smiley says he can correct the flat or aging cheeks, deep tear trough, laugh lines, and hollowed eye socket—without using dermal fillers, facial implants, and other synthetic materials.
But even without the intention of correcting facial volume loss or flat buttocks, Dr. Smiley says that liposuction as a stand-alone procedure could also benefit from fat transfer. For instance, after liposuction he always examines the treated area (which includes sweeping his hands over the skin) while the patient is still in the operating table to feel any dents that could be smoothed out by fat transfer.