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The sun is shining brighter and longer, and the temperatures are rising. Summer is here! We all know what this means- shedding our winter clothes and showing more skin. Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could take those unwanted areas of fat and move them somewhere else (the butt, the breasts)? Thankfully, we have the technology to do so! The process, called fat transfer or fat grafting, involves removing fat from one area of the body via gentle liposuction and injecting it into a more desirable area.

Desirable areas include, but are not limited to, the breasts, buttocks, cheeks, under-eye hollows, hands, and other parts of the body that have lost volume due to the normal aging process.

Techniques in body-shaping and fat reduction procedures have improved vastly in recent years. Today, the procedure is performed as follows: prior to liposuction, a tumescent solution is placed under the skin to locally numb the area. Unwanted fat is then removed using a safe, blunt-tipped cannula and suction. The suctioned fat is purified and kept sterile to be evenly injected, creating a soft and natural look.

Fat is a glistening, gold color when it is removed from the body, so you will often hear fat referred to as “liquid gold.” Because the fat comes from your own body, people refer to fat grafting as a “natural” surgery. The fat will thrive when placed in a new area without any adverse reaction or possibility of rejection, which has lent to the procedure’s increasing popularity. According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), liposuction was the second most popular surgical procedure in 2018. Although this procedure cannot remove cellulite or solve obesity, it helps to achieve a slimmer body appearance. It is important to note that liposuction is a shape changer, not a weight changer. As fat grafting rises in popularity, I have been seeing more and more patients specifically choose this procedure over a traditional breast augmentation using breast implants. Traditional surgery requires an incision, the dissection of a “pocket”, and placement of the implant with stitches to close the incision site. With a fat transfer procedure, there are only small incisions with very minimal scars. The ideal fat transfer candidate is searching for a relatively small enhancement to the breasts, has natural lift with good bust contour, and has excess body fat on other areas of the body.

When it comes to any surgical procedure, do your research! If you are considering fat transfer or any other plastic surgery, please go to abplasticsurgery.org and make sure your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon. It is likewise important to find out how long they have been offering the procedure you are looking for (the correct answer is over ten years!). In my experience as a board-certified plastic surgeon performing procedures of this kind for over two decades, I caution my patients and those considering cosmetic surgery to not be ensnared in the illustrious promise of deals of any kind. Fat grafting procedures, when performed safely and correctly, can be truly life-changing for patients of all ages.

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