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Home >> Getting Informed >> Fat Transfers/Body Implants
Fat Transfers/Body Implants

While the U.S. trend appears to be recently emerging, such procedures have been available for quite some time. Implantable materials have been used in orthopedic surgery for decades. Breast implants have been used for many years. Today's body fat transfer and body implants can be applied to the chest, bicep or tricep muscles, buttocks, calf muscles, or breasts. The body fat transfer procedure may also be performed on the hands or penis.
What are the most common reasons that your patients seek a body fat transfer or body implant?
The two most common reasons are

*aesthetic reasons
*reconstructive reasons

Patients may want to enhance a specific bodily feature by creating more volume or increasing size. Other patients wish to have a more muscular appearance for a particular body area. There are also patients who want to correct congenital defects. In these cases, patients may not have any muscle at all. Also, some liposuction patients return to a plastic surgeon's office to correct a previous liposuction defect such as an uneven appearance of the abdomen.
The Body Fat Transfer
Body fat transfers can be appealing for many body areas in several ways. Patients with small localized areas that require treatment may be served well with a shapely, even appearance through a body fat transfer. Without question, body fat transfers are non-allergenic, ensuring no risk of rejection. The goal of a body fat transfer is to create volume by filling in an uneven or saggy area.
Patients considering body fat transfers should realize that three to four fat transfer procedures may be necessary in order to maintain an ideal result. They must also understand that fat transfers are unpredictable. This is because up to 40 percent of the fat may be absorbed after treatment. On the upside, the remaining fat can last forever. Doctors work closely with patients until the final re-absorption occurs to determine the next step for a fully satisfactory outcome. However, body fat transfers will not lend a muscular appearance. Nor are body fat transfers suitable for the treatment of a large area.
The Body Implant
Body implants provide a more muscular appearance, increasing volume and size. Body implants may work well for patients who wish to treat large areas of the body. Silicone body implants are one of the preferred implant choices because they give the "feel" of muscle and greater biocompatibility possibilities than some others used in the past. However, body implants are generally associated with a higher complication rate. There are usually treatment options available to address complications, but recovery for a patient with complications may be longer.
Other Options
There may be more suitable alternative treatment options available for certain patients. For example, patients who seek to create a "six pack" abdominal appearance opt for a liposuction technique called abdominal etching. Candidates who qualify for this procedure have less than 12 percent body fat as well as underlying muscles that would serve well by being exposed through abdominal etching.
In addition to body fat transfers, other non-invasive body contouring procedures have been gaining in popularity recently. Zerona, a body slimming laser, has been used to help patients eliminate inches from their thighs, hips and waists. Other available options include Thermage, Accent, VelaShape and Zeltiq CoolSculpting, a fat-freezing procedure.
What are some of the common patient concerns about these procedures?
Knowledgeable body fat transfer patients are aware that if they lose weight, the body fat transfer area may lose volume. If a body fat transfer patient gains weight, the treated area may appear larger. In the case of a body implant, even though the implant does not change over time, the body might lose body fat content as part of the natural aging process. In this case, the implant may become more palpable or visible under the skin. Though rare, the body implant may need to be replaced at a later date.
Patients understand that there are risks, though infrequent, for infection, fluid formation, capsular contracture, asymmetry between areas, migration, or incompatibility of the implant. Some patients may be concerned about having a "foreign" implant in their body despite significant supporting body implant research. These patients may opt for body fat transfers instead. Many patients are fully satisfied with the outcome of either procedure.
The best technique in a body fat transfer is one that is associated with a high fat survival rate. Doctors prepare injectable fat cells differently. Some doctors will "spin" the fat cells before injecting them into the treatable area. Other doctors will not. Some techniques for either procedure may be considered safer than others

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