The recent realization that fat tissue contains high levels of growth factors and stem cells (known as adipose-derived stem cells) has led to a rise in fat grafting procedures over the last decade. Fat grafting is fast becoming one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures.
Dr. Chia Hui Ling, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon from SW1 Plastic Surgery Clinic explains the differences between Microfat and Nanofat. Dr Chia specialises in fat grafting and researched extensively on fat grafting techniques.
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What is Microfat grafting? How is it carried out?
The procedure starts with harvesting fat from the body using liposuction, an added advantage if you are considering body contouring. The fat is processed into Microfat by filtration and purification to remove impurities such as oil and fibers. The purified fat is injected back into areas where it is needed, to add volume and to iron out deep wrinkles. It is important that the fat grafts are “micro”, which means it is processed into small particles. This helps the body to retain the fat better and to avoid lumpiness.
In the face, it is ideal for sunken eyes or temples, and to plump up forehead, chin and cheeks to give a more youthful V- or egg-shaped face. Deep neck lines can also be softened with fat grafting. In the body, the fat can be re-injected to fill up the breasts and buttocks. Microfat grafting brightens the lower eyelid
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Are the results permanent?
Our body will retain only a portion of the fat after each procedure. With good technique and modern equipment, the permanent retention can be up to 50-70%.
You may need more than one session to achieve the desired effect. For fat injection, often less is more. Being overzealous and injecting too much fat at one session, may results in fat cysts and lumps.
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How is Nanofat different from Microfat?
Similar to Microfat grafting, we collect fat using liposuction. Instead of using the fat cells for volumising, the fat is emulsified and filtered to remove the cells. The liquid remaining, which is rich in stem cells and growth factors, is injected back into the skin for repair and rejuvenation.
Nanofat grafting is good for
- Dark eye circles and crepey skin around the eyes
- Superficial fine lines, common around lips and on the décolletage
- Thin, sun-damaged skin
The effects may not be immediate and will take effect after around 6 months, the time needed for cell regeneration. Nanofat grafting is often combined with Microfat grafting. Their synergistric effect both refines the skin and volumizes.
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Who should avoid fat grafting?
Fat grafting is considered a minimally-invasive surgery because it is performed through very small incisions. It is safe for most, unless you have a serious medical condition, or have blood disorders or take medications that may cause excessive bleeding.
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What are the side effects and downtime?
Swelling and bruising will improve within a week for Nanofat grafting alone.
With Microfat grafting, this may last for 1-2 weeks after each session. This depends on how much fat grafting is done. Lumpiness at the injected site is possible. It is crucial that the fat is processed and injected meticulously to avoid this.