There are plenty of unconventional body-modification procedures out there—you really can have your nipples reduced or your cheeks fixed up with dimples. But ever since a study was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal last year, one type of surgery seems to be increasing in popularity. And it’s probably not what you’re expecting. We are talking about fat grafting. This is one instance where ‘fat’ is not all bad.
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“Fat grafting has been used by plastic surgeons for a long time,” says Dr Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon at SW1 Clinic. “In the last year, I have seen more women seeking fat grafting for areas such as their breast, their buttocks and even their faces.”
There are a few reasons for this resurgence. Fat was previously abandoned for the more substantial implants (breast, buttocks, cheeks), but as the trend is towards a more natural look and improved safety profile, this has contributed to their stellar rise in fat grafting’s popularity.
With improved techniques which includes centrifuging the fat to extract the more youthful stem cells, fat grafting results are almost permanent, according to experts. This gives it an added edge to facial fillers which may last only a year or two.
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Stem cells are the holy grail to youth, and fat is an oasis for these youth-giving stem cells. Implants and fillers are devoid of these skin-enhancing cells and will not impart the benefits that fat can give.
The most important reason why women would choose to have fat grafting to their breast and buttocks rather than to have implants is because fat is a natural filler obtained from their own body, and has less side effects than a foreign object like an implant. The reasons obtained are also more natural, according to women who have undergone fat grafting for breasts and buttocks.
Here’s the basic rundown of how fat grafting works: A doctor performs liposuction on an area of the body containing unwanted fat. Then the fat is grafted onto the desired area eg face, buttocks, breasts to make them larger.
“Silicone implants have been the most traditional method of breast augmentation” says Dr Tan Ying Chien, “But they also come with risks. Fat transfers, on the other hand, offer smaller scars, the ability to increase size with future procedures, lack of foreign body rejection, and more precise patient adjustment”.
“Patients can expect natural-looking results whether they do it for their face, buttocks or breast,” says Dr Tan. “Just as important, the results improve people’s self-esteem.”
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Dr Tan Ying Chien is a consultant plastic surgeon at SW1 Plastic Surgery Centre who specializes in fat grafting cosmetic procedures.