Autologous Fat Transfer

An exciting benefit of Tissue Engineering research is the finding that your own fat works as a long-term filler.

The popularity of off-the-shelf fillers suffers from duration of action and the variability of results when administered without plastic surgical training.

The structural volume of fat also benefits the overlying skin by improving thickness, texture, melanin problems, scarring, and overall appearance of the face.

Tired eyes and facial volume loss from ageing or weight loss can be managed with this exciting new fat grafting technique that is done without incisions in a single session.

A two-hour treatment session using local anesthesia injection will improve your appearance with long-term results and excellent patient satisfaction.

What is autologous fat grafting?

Taking your own fat and re-tasking it in areas of your body to make your face look younger, your breasts more full, your face more rejuvenated, your lips more youthful and your hands restored to their natural beauty. That is the goal of taking your own bio-active tissues, harvesting them in the operating room and transferring them to places restoring your natural beauty using autologous fat grafting.

How is it performed?

Patients who don’t smoke can be candidates for fat grafting. Vaping and smoking have toxins that transmit to your blood that give lower success rates of fat grafting results. Fat grafting can go into the face, the lips, the breast, the breast that has had radiation, the implanted breast, the droopy breast, the hands, even the joints (NORM link). Dr Vanek has successfully fat grafted abdomen sites where liposuction or tummy tucks have been performed to improve the results of other surgeons.

Brazilian butt lifting has popularized the use of your fat that is transferred into the buttocks to make a more beautiful you! Patients who have had implant surgery, either for reconstructive or cosmetic reasons, sometimes are not in harmony with their implants. Occasionally they develop capsular contractures, stiffness or other symptoms from having the implant not agree with their physiology. For those patients who want to have fuller breasts but may not be the best candidates for implant use, autologous fat may be for you. Harvesting from your abdomen, flanks, thighs and arms all can contribute to the breast size that you may want. Some patients who are already expanded breast tissue with implants are best served to replace some of the volume goals that they have with the fat they have available in their body. If you have these concerns, you may be a candidate for autologous fat grafting.

Depending upon the volume of fat required, the use of Coleman technique or autologous fat grafting using Vaser technology is a method of harvesting the fat that has great results. Dr Vanek will talk over your goals with you. That means the areas that you don’t like are the donor site, and the area that the fat goes is called the recipient site. During your consult Dr Vanek will determine which donor sites will be used to get you the results you want. The procedure of harvesting your fat and transferring it to the area that makes you happy is done in the operating room. Tumescent fluid is placed under the skin and the fat is harvested. The area where the fat is placed is then injected with cannula or needle technique, which will be discussed at the time of your consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fat grafting involves 2 to 4 mm incisions to harvest your fat in the areas that you don’t like and transfer the fat back into areas you want to have enhanced. Typically, patients have tiny IV catheter size sites around their breasts that heal imperceptibly. The fat is harvested in real time in the operating room and cannot be stored reliably. It is for that reason that Dr. Vanek will discuss with you in detail how much donor site availability you may have and how much fat transfer goals you may have so that we can reach an agreement as to what your expectations can be for your fat transfer to your buttocks or breasts. For smaller amounts of fat transfer, the abdomen or the thigh or the arm or any small area can be harvested and that fat required to rejuvenate the face can be then reliably transferred again through small catheters in the face. Depending upon the patient’s age and their rejuvenation goals, some patients may combine their facial rejuvenation fat grafting with face lifting procedures and eye lift or brow lift procedures to enhance already wonderful techniques of facial rejuvenation with the power of autologous fat grafting.

Depending upon the body site that is harvested, there may be some bruising or swelling that will restrict you from heavy exercise for 1 to 2 weeks. The incisions or the access areas usually heal in about 7 days so we have patients avoid hot tubs, tub baths and intense heat environments for about 1 to 3 weeks until they are healed as supervised by Dr. Vanek.

If you have previous scars from previous surgery, the areas of scarring can be improved with autologous fat grafting. If you have tissue areas that have become depressed from trauma, radiation or surgery previously, you may have improvements that are substantial with autologous fat grafting.

Actual Patient Results

Photo of a woman before and after Autologous Fat Transfer performed by Dr. Paul Vanek

This 40-year-old noticed that her breasts have deflated over time. This worsened after she lost her baby weight. Because she wanted a Mommy Makeover with a tummy tuck technique. She talked over her options with Dr. Vanek and decided that Autologous fat transfer of her breast would work for her. This would give her a more full-breasted appearance without an implant placement. She really did not want to have an implant but wished to benefit from having her fat harvested and re-tasked to be transferred into her breasts to give her a natural fuller breast. This is her three month follow up after autologous breast fat grafting and abdominoplasty technique with Vaser liposelection of her abdomen, flanks, and back. The fat was transferred into her breasts and she is very happy.

Before and after photo of a woman who received Autologous Fat Transfer treatment performed by Dr. Paul Vanek

This is a 45 year old woman who noticed as she went into her middle of life that her breasts hormonally deflated. Here is an intraoperative video of her autologous fat transfer and one day post op of this woman who has autologous fat grafting.

Before and after photo of a woman who received Autologous Fat Transfer treatment for breasts performed by Dr. Paul Vanek

This 39-year-old woman had had implants in and out 3 times elsewhere. It left her with a puckered and constricted left breast with scarring that was very unhappy for her. Because of her circumstance and not being in harmony with implants, I discussed with her the use of autologous fat transfer to remediate her implant augmentation surgery. Harvesting her abdomen, flanks and inner thighs for enough fat to remediate her breast I was able to transfer fat to her breasts. She is seen and pictured 7 months post-op.

Image of a man's arm burn, before and after Autologous Fat Transfer

This patient was severely crushed and burned in a rotating rubber production machine that gave him the loss of soft tissues and crushed muscle and nerves. He subsequently underwent expansion and resurfacing flaps to cover his tendons and forearm. However, he had a lot of neuritis and nerve problems as well as soft tissue issues of his forearm skin, because skin grafting does not act like regular skin.

Because of the host of problems from his burn reconstruction, autologous fat grafting was added into the equation a few years after his injury. The patient was able to be restored in his form and function with fat grafting to his forearm and scars. He improved in his neurologic and sensory problems. He had a lot of pain and disability from flexion and extension in his wrist. But after autologous fat filling occurred in his scars, he was dramatically improved in his daily function which enabled him to be able to return to work more fully and enjoy his hobby of restoring cars!

Click here to read the article “Driving Innovation” describing his journey in more detail.

As Seen on WKYC Channel 3 News

We are so proud that our own Dr. Paul Vanek was asked to appear in a TV news feature about his pioneering work with Autologous Fat Transfer. This amazing new procedure is helping people look and feel better – both emotionally and physically. Watch this TV feature from WKYC TV3 to learn more about one of the many ways Dr. Vanek is changing lives with his artistry and Autologous Fat Transfer.