Fat transfer has become very popular in recent years due to the booming demand for Brazilian butt lifts, as well as concerns about how patients will tolerate prosthetics such as implants. Fat transfer is a highly useful procedure because it uses the patient’s own tissue to augment target areas such as the buttocks and bust. However, it may not be the right procedure for patients with a low Body Mass Index or who have a low percentage of body fat in key areas, which is why we receive a lot of questions like the focus of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. A follower on Instagram asks, “Is gaining weight for a fat transfer good or bad?”
In this case, Dr. Pane says the answer to both may be, “Yes.” This is actually a very common question among patients who are considering fat transfer. Dr. Pane says he wouldn’t necessarily call it a “classic,” but it is certainly common enough to warrant discussion.
In many cases, patients’ weight will drift up and down by a few pounds on either side of a static “normal” for them. This is normal, and for some patients an extra 5lbs or so may make the difference in having sufficient fat to perform a transfer. However, under no circumstances should a patient gain weight solely for the purpose of having a fat transfer done, as this can increase the risk of reaching an unhealthy weight. Also, patients are strongly cautioned not to undertake a weight gain regimen outside of clinical monitoring by a physician, to help ensure any weight which is gained is achieved in a safe manner.
Some patients have a very low BMI, either due to weight loss, diet and exercise and/or genetic factors. For these patients, a certain amount of weight gain may actually be beneficial, as long as it is done in a healthy way. For patients with a higher BMI or who have plenty of subcutaneous adipose deposits in the right areas for harvesting, gaining weight may push them into an unhealthy BMI and actually have a negative impact on both their health and the final outcome from an aesthetic perspective.
One issue which must be addressed is where the fat is going to be harvested from and where it’s to be replaced. Some patients may not have enough fat on the abdomen, which means considering the hips, thighs or buttocks. With a lower BMI, this becomes more likely. In addition, the amount of available fat from the harvesting area versus the intended outcome in the target location must be considered to ensure the best possible results, obtained in the healthiest possible manner.
Another point to consider is that as we age, our bodies tend to retain more fat, causing us to gain weight. Because transferred fat is still fat, patients may notice exaggerated weight gain in areas where transfers have been done. However, the advantage of this procedure is that it is good for a lifetime, unlike implants which may and often do need to be replaced over time due to wear, accidental damage or other issues. Atlantic Coast Aesthetics has an excellent track record of being able to find sufficient fat deposits in patients other places might have turned away, and if a patient truly doesn’t have enough fat to make a transfer feasible, they can guide the patient to gain sufficient weight in a safe and healthy way.
As with any other question, patients are strongly advised not to alter their diet or exercise patterns without being under a physician’s supervision. Also, patients should always have an in-person consultation with the physician prior to starting or stopping a diet and exercise regimen for any reason. This will help assure the patient achieves optimal results and stays within a healthy weight range while minimizing or eliminating the likelihood of problems such as unintended or uncontrolled weight gain.
If you have a question, concern or curiosity regarding any aspect of cosmetic surgery, the clinical and support staff of Atlantic Coast Aesthetics are happy to discuss your interests. Simply call us at (561) 422-4116; contact us through our website; or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Your question may become the focus of a future Ask Dr. Pane segment, allowing us to give you the factual information you need and educate others who share your questions and concerns. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!