Summary: We’re used to thinking about fat in a couple of different ways: it’s either something to burn off or something to avoid getting in the first place. However, modern plastic surgeons have found a few surprising ways to put fat to use. These fat graft procedures are a great way to take the fat away from where you don’t want it and put it where you do want it. This kind of fat re-allocation has turned into a huge trend in the last few years.

2016: The Year of the Fat Graft Procedure

One of the hottest plastic surgery trends to pop up in the last few years is the use of fat. Typically, when we think of fat (especially excess fat), we’re operating under the assumption that fat is simply best when we’ve gotten rid of it. We don’t want. We want slenderness. But it turns out the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, there’s some debate over just how much fat is good/bad for you (and what types of fat fit that bill). Put simply: there’s still a lot we don’t know.

When it comes to plastic surgery, however, the trend today is to put fat to work: to take it from somewhere that it isn’t wanted and move it to a place where it will be more appreciated. These procedures are often referred to as “fat graft” procedures—but surgeons aren’t above giving them sexier names in order to get patients’ attention. After all, getting patients to know about a procedure that could provide them the results they’re after is always half the battle.

These fat graft procedures are used in sometimes expected ways and sometimes novel ways. Let’s take a look at some of the surprising ways that fat is used as well as some of the more reliable ways.

The Brazilian Butt Lift

Perhaps there is no procedure more emblematic of fat graft procedures than the Brazilian Butt Lift. It also happens to be the most popular procedure using autologous fat. So, during a Brazilian Butt Lift, a surgeon will remove fat from an unwanted area and then inject that fat into the rear end. The procedure is minimally invasive. According to the website of the New Jersey Brazilian Butt Lift experts at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, the incision for liposuction is usually quite small (measured in fractions of an inch).

However, recovery for this procedure is quite important. In order to get the best results possible, patients are required to avoid sitting on their butt for a number of weeks. This gives the fat a chance to “attach” to its new home. Additionally, you want to make sure you get a Butt Lift surgeon who is experienced and highly qualified. Many places will advertise a Brazilian Butt Lift as a “non surgical” procedure, even though that’s not quite accurate. So in many ways, it’s up to the patient to find a surgeon who will generate great results.

Lip Injections

In much the same way that fat grafting can be used to give you a bigger rear end, fat can also be injected into the lips in order to create larger, fuller, sexier lips. (At least, “sexier” in a purely subjective way.) These fat injections are fairly permanent; whatever is inject and whatever “takes” to the new area will generally stay for quite some time. This means that patients have fuller lips and they get to keep fuller lips (in contract to, for example, lip injections that use dermal fillers to produce results).

Fat Graft Breast Augmentation

One of the newest areas in which fat grafts are being used is in breast augmentation procedures. We’re used to thinking of implants as consisting as either saline or, more commonly, silicone. But these days, fat grafts are an option sought by many patients. The advantage of fat graft procedures is two fold. First and foremost, the results will tend to look and feel more natural than other implant types. That’s because they’re made of actual fat—not that dissimilar from natural breasts (though natural breasts also have significant muscle tissue).

The other advantage of fat graft breast augmentation procedures is that they are less invasive than traditional breast augmentation procedures. This means healing is faster and recovery is a bit smoother. However, the final size of the implant is more reliable when achieved with an artificial implant, such as silicone. Ultimately, the best implant choice will be decided between the patient and the surgeon.

Two Birds, One Stone

In many ways, fat graft procedures fulfill that old saying, “kill two birds with one stone.” In this way, it simply means that you get a double benefit: you get the fat taken away from where you don’t want it (usually the belly area, but not always), and you get it placed where you do want it. The fat is purified between extraction and injection, so it’s definitely not a do-it-yourself kind of procedure.

In fact, even though fat grafting is a minimally invasive procedure, for the best results you’re definitely going to want to find a surgeon that is experienced and expert.

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