How Fat Grafting Works?

Most people have a general understanding of skin grafts. This medical technique uses skin from one part of the body to cover another area that lost its protective dermal layer. Fat grafting works in a similar way. However, instead of using skin as a “bandage,” it uses fat cells to restore lost volume.

In East Windsor, New Jersey, Dr. Matthew J. Lynch uses fat transfers for breast augmentation and breast reconstruction procedures. He shared these insights into the procedure and why it’s emerging as a popular option, especially when combined with other reconstruction techniques.

Fat grafting basics

Using fat to fix minor imperfections in the breasts isn’t new. For years, doctors have used a technique called lipofilling to address small balance, shape, or position differences in reconstructed breasts. Those early successes led to surgeons using fat grafting to rebuild an entire breast.

Fat grafting — or autologous fat transfer — involves three basic steps:

When used to reconstruct or augment the breasts, this approach can offer numerous benefits. First, if your transfer heals well, you end up with breasts that feel and look natural. It’s also possible to improve the shape and appearance of your breasts without needing an implant.

Finally, fat grafting with breast reconstruction comes with small incisions and few complications. Plus, eliminates unwanted fat from other parts of your body while improving your breasts at the same time.

How fat grafting works

First, Dr. Lynch discusses your breast concerns and overall goals to determine the best approach. Based on your unique situation, he could recommend fat grafting combined with other breast reconstruction techniques, like flap reconstruction or implants.

During the fat grafting procedure, Dr. Lynch starts by using liposuction technology to extract your donor fat. This step involves making a few small incisions in the area and inserting a thin tube that helps vacuum fluids and adipose fat cells from the site. Depending on your body and the amount of fat needed, you could have more than one donor site.

After harvest, your fat undergoes processing to eliminate unwanted debris, excess fluid, and dead cells. When complete, your fat graft contains the most viable adipose cells available, which ensures higher rates of success.

The last step of your fat graft involves injection into the recipient area. Fat cells are living tissue that needs a healthy blood supply to survive, so Dr. Lynch introduces small droplets at a time into the deepest layer of your skin. This area, known as subcutaneous tissue, contains most of your body fat. 

Dr. Lynch performs fat grafting while you are under general anesthesia, so you sleep the entire time. It generally takes between one to two hours. You may need multiple fat grafts for best results, especially if your goal is to increase your breast size.

Ready to see if fat grafting is right for you? Contact Matthew J. Lynch, MD, to schedule a consultation by calling 609-448-6200 or requesting an appointment online today.

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