There’s a lot of talk about fat grafting among all ages – and it makes sense to transfer fat from areas that are “overflowing” to places that lack volume! Let’s find out a bit more about the process.
If you’re frustrated with your post-baby body, or if “middle-aged spread” has put layers on where you don’t need it, why not use it somewhere else? Fat grafting, or “lipofilling”, is being recognised as a safer option for breast augmentation, and as a natural post-mastectomy solution.
Here in Singapore, fat grafting is being embraced by AZATACA Plastic Surgery. The practice was set up in 2017 by three accredited, highly trained plastic surgeons originally from Singapore General Hospital who wanted to give patients dedicated attention in a comfortable environment. They’ll listen to any concerns you have and customise a solution, whether it’s a small physical change or replacing something lost to cancer.
We asked the doctors at AZATACA for the “ins and outs” of how it works.
What is fat grafting?
It’s a process that involves harvesting fat from your body’s own tissues via liposuction. The fat is then purified using several methods and reinjected to augment volume – for example, into the face for facial rejuvenation, or into the breasts.
We use several specialised techniques, including SAFE (Separation, Aspiration and Fat Equalisation) Lipo, where a Microaire machine provides more efficient liposuction with reduced risks of irregularities and unevenness, and Puregraft, which purifies fat for a higher yield and more predictable results.
How does this work for breast augmentation?
First, 3D planning using a cloud-based system (Crisalix) allows us to simulate post-op results. The surgeon and patient can plan pre-operatively where and how much fat should be injected. The fat is then harvested with liposuction – usually from the thighs, abdomen or lower back – then processed using Puregraft and reinjected to create larger, natural breasts.
How is it better than traditional breast implants?
Fat grafting involves taking your own tissue and using it to augment your breasts. It’s therefore natural, and once the fat engrafts, it’s permanently incorporated with a blood supply. In contrast, breast implants are foreign materials; they carry a risk, albeit low, of potential infection and complications. Fat grafting can be done via a small cannula that leaves much smaller scars (1-2mm) than breast implants (2-4 cm).
What does your “Mummy Makeover” involve?
It’s a combination of surgeries involving the breast, abdomen, waist, hips and thighs designed to restore the body to its original contours and appearance prior to childbearing. The procedures typically involved are a breast augmentation or breast lift, a tummy tuck and liposuction.
What are the potential risks?
Most of these surgeries – for example, breast augmentation, lipofilling and liposuction – can be done as a day procedure. Others, such as a tummy tuck, are done under general anaesthesia and require an overnight hospital stay. Common risks of surgery include bleeding, infection and scars; specifically for the breasts, there may a small risk of lumpiness and breast cysts with fat grafting.
What’s the downtime like?
You can expect some bruising and pain at the liposuction sites and also the breasts. You’ll need to wear a special surgical bra and garments. The downtime is usually a few days to a week; bruising takes about 10 days to settle and final results may take a few weeks to months.
How long does it last?
Once the fat engrafts (usually by three to four months), the results can be permanent. If there is an increase in weight gain, the breasts may also get larger. Similarly, if there is weight loss, they may get smaller.
AZATACA is a private practice made up of three MOH-accredited plastic surgeons. Working together means they have a team to cover long or complex surgeries in reduced time. They have two practices, at Novena and Orchard, and are certified to practice at most private hospitals in Singapore.
This article first appeared in the March 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!