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Fat transfer surgery

Fat transfer can be used for cosmetic purposes, skin deformities, reconstruction and for traumatic defects.

Surgeon performing fat transfer surgery and holding a syringe
A fat transfer procedure is where fat is removed from one area of your body and injected into another. The fat is usually harvested from areas of your body that store excess fat, for example your abdomen, thighs or buttocks.

This fat is then re-injected into another part of your body in order to add volume or to correct a contour defect.

Fat transfer surgery can be used for cosmetic surgery, skin deformities, reconstruction surgery or traumatic defects. Common areas to have a fat transfer include the face, breasts and buttocks, though it is also suitable for a range of other areas.

Fat transfer surgery has the added benefits of rejuvenating skin and bringing in a new, healthy blood supply to the area operated on. The techniques of transferring fat have evolved significantly since the technique was first used and are constantly being developed.

If you would like to find out more about fat transfer surgery, book an appointment online with one of our experienced consultants, or call our advisors to find out who is the right specialist for you.

The cost of fat transfer surgery will depend on a variety of factors, including the reason you are having surgery, how extensive the fat transfer operation is, and which surgeon you choose. Call today to speak to our advisors and get a tailored quote based on your personal circumstances.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

If you are paying for your own treatment, our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over 10 months to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

Cosmetic surgery is not usually covered by private health insurance policies, however if you are having fat transfer surgery for reconstruction purposes, it may be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

There are a range of reasons why a person may need or want to have fat transfer surgery including:

At Circle Health Group, our specialist consultants are here to advise you on the most suitable option for your individual circumstances. If we think fat transfer surgery is the right option in your case, we will explain everything in detail, going through the pros and cons as well as the alternatives, and together we'll make the best decision for you.

Compared to other types of reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, the major benefit of fat transfer surgery is the fact that it's moving your own fat from one part to another. It is recycling your own fat tissue. It is not from animals or synthetic products and therefore has no risk of allergy or immune rejection. Once the fat has been taken it will remain in the area it has been placed forever.

Fat transfer surgery with Circle Health Group is typically performed by a consultant plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon.

You can usually see a specialist for your initial consultation within 48 hours of booking your appointment with us. Give us a call or book online to find an appointment time that suits you. During this initial appointment, your consultant will ask about your general health and medical history. Depending on the site of your body the surgery will be performed, they may ask you to explain how you want the area to look, so they can attain the best results.

Your consultant will usually examine the area of your body where the fat will be placed as well as other areas where fat can be harvested from. They may also take photos, with your permission, which help them to plan and to get the best results from your surgery.

This consultation is a safe space for you to ask as many questions as you like. It's an opportunity to understand which techniques for surgery are available to you and discuss your preferences. You can ask any questions you have, including those about aftercare and your recovery.

Your consultant will give you a good idea of timelines during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your surgery at a time that suits you.

The procedure is performed under either general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic, depending on the amount of fat required. The fat is harvested into syringes and cleansed to remove impurities before injecting it into the areas to be treated.

Only a certain amount of fat can be injected into an area at one time to ensure the tissue is not oversaturated. Some of this fat (approximately 30%) is expected to reabsorb. Thus depending on the volumes you are looking to achieve, several sessions may be required.

Fat transfer surgery takes around two hours on average, however the time taken will vary depending on how much fat you are having transferred and which areas are being operated on. Your surgeon will give you all the details ahead of time.

You should be able to go home on the same day that you have your treatment, although this will depend on the extent of the procedure and your individual circumstances. You won't be able to drive yourself home, so arrange for a loved one to pick you up. Alternatively, we can help you arrange a taxi.

When you get home, you may be very tired for a while, and you are likely to have swelling and bruising around the affected areas for a couple of weeks. Most people take a week or two off work. Your consultant will be able to advise you on the expected recovery time based on your personal circumstances. This will include when you can go back to work, when you can drive again, and how soon you'll be back to all your usual activities.

It can take up to six months to see the final results of fat transfer surgery, as some of the injected fat may be reabsorbed into your body over this period. It's common to have small scars, which will fade over time. Where possible, any scaring is usually hidden in the natural crease of your body.

There is often bruising, redness and/or swelling which usually resolve after a week. We would advise you to avoid any strenuous activity for a few weeks; your consultant will advise you on this.

Risks associated with fat transfer surgery for breast reconstruction

If you are undergoing fat transfer surgery for breast reconstruction, some additional risks are associated with this type of surgery. One potential problem is the possibility of changes on the mammogram, which can mimic cancer.

Although changes can be seen on a mammogram, experienced radiologists are able to differentiate these from cancer. As an extra precaution, fat is not directly injected into breast tissue, but in the subcutaneous fatty layer above the breast gland.

Rare complications of fat transfer include:

  • A small firm lump or 'fat necrosis'
  • Contour irregularities
  • Infection

All complications will be discussed with you in full by your consultant prior to the procedure. In interest of safety, patients who have this type of treatment must have been screened by mammogram and ultrasound before surgery and followed up with regular mammograms and ultrasound for several years.

You consultant will discuss any risks and complications with you before your surgery so that you feel fully informed before your surgery takes place.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Support by the same compassionate clinical team from beginning to end
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in November 2022. Next review due November 2025.

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