Fat Transfer with Microfat and Nanofat
Fat transfer—also referred to as fat injections or fat grafting—is a procedure that is very common in plastic surgery and has become one of the most important adjuncts to many face and body treatments performed today. With aging, we all develop tissue sagging and some “deflation” in our faces or other delicate areas of the body due to losing fat, collagen, and even bone. Fat grafting is a simple technique that involves taking fat from one part of the body, purifying it, and then reinjecting it into another targeted treatment area. The areas of the face that are most common for fat injections are the lips, nasolabial folds (smile lines), corners of the mouth, chin, and under the eyes. In addition, fat grafting can be an excellent option for rejuvenating the backs of the hands.
Dr. James F. Boynton performs fat grafting in the office or in surgery, depending on the complexity, volumes, and areas being addressed. While 30–40% of the harvested cells will be reabsorbed by the body when the fat is reinjected, the remaining fat cells take root in their new location, obtain a blood supply, and become a permanent “filler” in that particular area. To achieve an ideal contour improvement, multiple fat transfer sessions may be necessary.
Types of Fat Used for Fat Injections
There are three “types” of fat used for fat grafting: macrofat, microfat, and nanofat. Macrofat is mainly utilized for the augmentation and/or enhancement of areas like the buttocks and breasts. For example, macrofat can be injected into the breasts to help disguise potential ripple lines from an implant for a patient who is quite thin. Contrarily, microfat and nanofat consist of smaller fat particle sizes, enabling them to be injected into more delicate areas of the body—i.e. the face or hands—without a concern for the “lumpiness” that may occur when larger fat particles are injected via bigger instruments. In fact, most of the facelift, neck lift, and/or hand rejuvenation procedures Dr. Boynton performs have some component of microfat or nanofat injections done concurrently to further improve their results.
Obtaining Microfat and Nanofat for Fat Transfer
To obtain microfat and nanofat, a patient’s own fat tissue is first harvested from a donor area, such as the hips, abdomen, or back. Once collected, a special centrifuge is utilized to isolate a concentrated graft of healthy, useable fat cells—a process that Dr. Boynton believes helps significantly improve the survival rate of transferred fat. Next, the isolated fat is passed through a sequential series of three separate devices designed to break down the size of the fat particles until microfat or nanofat is achieved. (The difference between the two is that nanofat is filtered through an ultra-fine mesh.)
Once obtained, this all-natural microfat or nanofat is then reinjected into targeted treatment areas using very fine injection cannulas to rejuvenate, smooth, and/or volumize the skin with exceptionally natural-looking results.
Fat Grafting with Microfat
Due to its smaller particle size compared to conventional macrofat, microfat injections can be an excellent option for restoring lost volume and/or improving contour in areas that require absolute delicacy and precision, such as the:
- Hollows underneath the eyes
- Backside of the hands
As an added benefit for many patients, the volumizing effects of microfat transfer in these areas can often help improve the appearance of overlying skin.
Fat Grafting with Nanofat
Nanofat particles are too small to provide a notable “volumizing” effect, but studies suggest that the stem cells present in nanofat help to rebuild dermal support structures—such as collagen—and regenerate healthier, more youthful-appearing skin. As a result, some of the most common aesthetic skin concerns that can be improved with nanofat grafting include:
- Fine lines
- Texture irregularities
- Sun damage
- Poor elasticity
- Superficial scarring
Currently, Dr. Boynton uses nanofat transfer in the face and backs of the hands, as these areas have responded particularly well to nanofat injections.
Contact Boynton Plastic Surgery
To learn more about fat transfer, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boynton, please contact our practice online or via phone today.