Why is fat reabsorbed by the body after fat transfer?

Why is fat reabsorbed by the body after fat transfer?

28th Jun 2019


Fat transfer procedures are preferred by many patients nowadays as they help solve at least two aesthetic issues that concern the patient. This is because we have an adding of volume to an area that could use some. In our case, this would be the buttocks that receive the fat cells. But no fat transfer procedure can be performed without liposuction. Liposuction is mandatory to get the fat that is needed for the transfer. This means that the plastic surgeon will target areas such as the tummy, flanks, back, and thighs to collect the excess of fat. The fat extracted is then processed to be purified, and the healthy fat cells are then injected into the buttocks.

One thing that is important to know for all patients interested in undergoing this procedure is that not all the fat cells that are injected into the buttocks survive the first few months post-op. A responsible plastic surgeon will make sure to make the patients aware of this fact even before scheduling the procedure as it can be very frustrating not to know that the buttocks will actually decrease its size in the first two months after the procedure. 

For the fat cells that were grafted to survive in the new environment, they need a blood supply. But it can take weeks or months for this new network of blood supply to develop. If the quantity of fat was large or if too much fat was injected in one area of the buttocks, chances are a larger percentage of fat will be absorbed by the body. The fat cells that are inserted into the buttocks are harvested from other areas of the body, so this means the body won’t reject the fat but absorb it in case it can’t survive.

In the past, majority of the fat transferred was reabsorbed by the body. Now the percentage has dropped to 30%. Keep in mind that to maximize the results and to avoid the reabsorption of the majority of fat cells, you have to choose an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to play out your procedure. A talented plastic surgeon who plays out this procedure routinely will know exactly how and where to inject the fat so that only a small percentage will be reabsorbed by the body in the first months post-op.

The fat being reabsorbed by the body is not dangerous for the patient; the only downside is the alteration of the aesthetic results. Some patients will choose to have a smaller amount of fat injected and more sessions of fat grafting to make sure they get a reasonable augmentation with minimal risks. 


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