Lipofilling — also referred to as free fat transfer or fat grafting — is a procedure to fill up areas with your own body fat instead of using a chemical filling or an implant. This is a highly efficient procedure as it is not very invasive and produces natural results. About 60% of the fat stays for ever. Lipofilling often gives the final touch in your facial feminization surgery.
The fat used for fat transfer can be extracted from any part of your body like the abdomen or thighs by liposuction, and it will be injected where needed. This cosmetic procedure can be used to rejuvenate the face, augment the cheeks or lips, or correct problems such as hollowness around the eyes or scars.
Fat grafting is usually performed under local anesthesia. If it is combined with other procedures it will mostly be done in general anesthesia. The method used by Dr Bart van de Ven is called the Coleman method.
Liposuction—The fat used to re-inject in the face can be taken through means of a liposuction from any part of the body having a sufficient amount of fat, in most cases from the abdomen or the upper legs. After injecting local anesthesia, which minimizes bleeding in this particular area, a very small incision is made and fat is aspirated using a blunt needle with multiple perforations and a special aspirator. The small incision is closed with one stitch.
Filtration—This fat is filtered to separate blood, oil and local anesthetic from the fat cells.
Fat injection—The place where we want more volume is injected with a minimal amount of local anesthesia after which the fat cells are injected with very fine canulas.
The trick of the fat transfer is to inject only a very small amount of fat with each pass of the canula. This way the grafted fat will be in direct contact with the surrounding tissues and will make it possible for the fat to grow in the vessels really fast. Thus the fat can survive.
About 70% of the fat stays forever. Therefore a little overcorrection is done during the operation.
Repeating—After 6 months, if necessary, another fat graft may be performed until the desired effect has been obtained. Repetition is needed for about 50% of our patients.
Recovery of a lipofilling
Swelling—Immediately after the surgery the cheek will be quite swollen and bruised. In about 3 weeks time approximately 80% of the bruising and swelling will have disappeared. After 4 months you can get a good impression of what the final result after 6 months will be. About a week to ten days after surgery you will feel confident about going out and resuming a normal social life. If any bruises have developed, they might remain visible for a little longer but you can hide them reasonably well with a good concealer.
Exageration—In the beginning the correction may still look rather exaggerated. We usually over-correct, which means injecting more fat than is actually needed. We do that because about 40% of the transplanted fat cells do not survive. The final result is assessed after 6 months.
Correction—A second session may be scheduled to top up any shortfall in volume. There are many factors that determine how long fat grafting lasts. Your body naturally absorbs fat, so the surgeon must over-inject initially, and success rates can vary considerably. However, some fat is reabsorbed by the body and sometimes only a certain percentage is permanent although newer techniques are showing an increased longevity.
If you gain weight in the future—If you gain a considerable amount of weight after fat grafting, it may show up in the area that was treated.
Want to get a personal quote?
You have 3 options to receive your personal quote from Dr Bart van de Ven:
1 – Pictures evaluation (50 euro)
Dr Bart van de Ven will make a personal analysis of your face and give his surgical opinion of which procedures you need to feminize your face. He will send you a quote for these procedures and a simulation of the FFS result based on the pictures you upload. The payment of the 50 euro is processed by Paypal (you don’t need a Paypal account to pay with Paypal). You can upload the requested pictures as instructed in the form.
The Skype consultation combines the pictures evaluation with a Skype consultation.
After booking your Skype consultations you will receive an email with instructions to send your pictures.
Before the actual Skype consultation, Dr Bart van de Ven will make a personal analysis of your face and give his surgical opinion of which procedures you need to feminize your face. He will send you a quote for these procedures and a simulation of the FFS result based on the pictures you upload.
During the consultation, Dr Bart van de Ven will answer all of your questions and explain the procedures suggested.
The available hours are the same as the Antwerp consultation below (every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, and Friday morning, Brussels time).
3 – Live consultation (50 or 100 euro depending on the location)
Book a live consultation with Dr Bart van de Ven in Antwerp or one of the other cities he will be visiting. During your appointment, you will be able to address Dr Bart van de Ven with all of the questions you may have and he will give you his professional opinion on the procedures you might want or need. This is what you can expect from your FFS consultation. He will also make professional pictures and send a simulation of the FFS result based on the pictures after the consultation.
That is a very difficult one. It depends very much upon your healing and we can’t give you any guarantee about how long it takes before you look good enough for a photoshoot.
It could be 4 months, but it could also be a year. Of course it also depends on the amount of work that has been done.
In general 70% of the fat stays forever. Therefore a little overcorrection is done during the operation. Repetition is needed for about 50% of our patients. There are many factors that determine how long fat grafting lasts. Some fat is always reabsorbed by the body, the amount can vary considerably from body to body. The fat that stays after 6 months, stays forever. After 6 months, if necessary, another fat graft may be performed until the desired effect has been obtained.
FAQs after surgery
You still have another question? Feel free to ask! We will answer your question and if generally applicable add it to the FAQ of this page.