The Skinny On Fat Transfer

Advanced body-shaping procedure reinjects laser-harvested cells.

When she was 11 years old, Annie* went on a field trip with her sixth-grade class to Washington, DC. Somewhere between the White House and the Capitol, the Maryland native realized what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“I was so fascinated by everything I saw that I decided right then and there I wanted to do something involving history,” Annie remembers. “So, I majored in history in college and then spent 11 years working as a history teacher.”

Annie’s teaching career came to an end shortly after she married and moved to Florida. Now a mother of two, she’s part of a team writing a history textbook for high schoolers. She’s also writing a new chapter in her own personal history.

“I’ve always worked out to stay fit, but no matter how hard I work at it, I have never been able to lose my love handles, the belly fat that appeared after having my children or this extra little bit of fat I have underneath my chin,” the 39-year-old laments. “Not until I met Dr. DeMarta and tried BeautiFill™.”

Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, FACS, FAARFM, a colorectal surgeon and functional medicine specialist, is the founder of the Institute of Health & Wellness in Stuart, where a number of body-contouring treatments are offered by her and her staff.

“An Amazing Advancement”

BeautiFill is an FDA-approved in-office procedure that allows for the safe and gentle removal of fat cells through laser-assisted liposuction and the immediate reimplantation, or transfer, of viable fat cells into areas where volume has been lost.

“BeautiFill is an amazing advancement in body contouring and aesthetics,” Dr. DeMarta raves. “It’s great for people who want liposuction for the abdomen, flanks or thighs or for those looking to enhance areas such as the buttocks, breasts or certain areas of the face.

“For facial aesthetics, it can be used to fill in laugh lines or enhance a person’s cheeks, lips or that area right under the eyes. Because we are using the patient’s own fat cells, it’s more natural than using hyaluronic acid fillers.

“The other benefits associated with the BeautiFill procedure is that it results in decreased downtime and decreased pain. There’s less swelling with this procedure because the laser is less traumatic to the tissue than the old-fashioned liposuction wand.”

Liposuction and traditional fat-transfer treatments other than BeautiFill are time-consuming processes that cause greater trauma to the body, carry greater risk for the patient and typically result in inconsistent outcomes.

Patients settling for such fat-transfer procedures most often complain of problems associated with overfill, underfill or a significant depreciation of the desired aesthetic improvement just months after the treatment was completed.

Those inconsistent outcomes are usually a result of poor fat resorption. Studies show that up to 50 percent of the fat cells used in a traditional breast fat transfer and up to 60 percent of the fat cells used in a facial fat transfer die with three months.

Resorption through the BeautiFill procedure is more consistent. BeautiFill uses a more advanced method of harvesting fat cells that are taken from the problem areas.

Instead of destroying or discarding that fat, BeautiFill preserves it for reimplantation through the use of its proprietary laser instrument, which is designed to extract a high quantity of the most viable live fat cells.

By harvesting a higher percentage of live cells, the chances of fat cells surviving increases. One study of patients having fat harvested through the BeautiFill procedure showed that more than 90 percent of the cells retained their viability. The result on the skin following fat cell injections is an increase in luminosity and volume as well as a tightening due to the mesenchymal cells in the fat graft.

“That’s one of the greatest advantages of the BeautiFill system,” Dr. DeMarta educates. “It’s a laser-assisted extraction that maintains the integrity and viability of the cells because the laser only breaks down the stroma or the fibrous strands between the cells.”

The transfer of the fat cells can be performed in one treatment using a local and tumescent anesthetic. That eliminates the risks traditionally associated with general anesthesia. It also greatly reduces the amount of downtime associated with the procedure.

“The procedure is a very simple one,” Dr. DeMarta emphasizes. “We start by numbing with a local anesthetic in the area where we’re going to extract the fat cells. And again, that could be the flanks, hips, thighs, tummy, or just about any area where there is pinchable fat.

“The physician then makes a small incision in the area of the donor site, adds the tumescent local anesthetic and inserts the BeautiFill cannula. Once the skin is penetrated and the target area is reached, the laser-assisted cannula is used to remove unwanted fat and sculpt the area while capturing fat cells.

“The fat cells are then removed from the body and processed inside a canister through a closed system. Once the cells are processed, they are transferred into the syringes that are used to reinject them into the specific areas where the patient wants to add volume.”

Most patients experience a mild degree of bruising, swelling or soreness for up to 48 hours following the procedure, Dr. DeMarta notes, but she adds that the results are immediate and last years for most patients.

“I Look Better”

On the advice of a friend, Annie first visited with Dr. DeMarta to inquire about the BeautiFill procedure in October. In November, she had the procedure done to remove stubborn fat from her love handles, belly and chin.

During the procedure, a portion of the harvested fat was used for breast and buttock augmentation. Annie says the procedure was quick and relatively painless.

She could not be happier with the results.

“Thanks to the liposuction part of the procedure, I finally have my waist back that I had before I got pregnant for the first time,” she says. “And that little second chin that I always hated is finally gone. And because of the enhancements made through the fat transfers, I look better in dresses, shirts and a pair of shorts or jeans. The BeautiFill procedure has really made a difference for me. It’s given me a lot more confidence in how I look.

“The bottom line is I look a lot younger, and because of that I feel a lot younger. I’m a lot happier with how I look overall now, and I made all those improvements without having to get implants of any kind. That was a real plus for me.

“I’m thankful that my friend recommended Dr. DeMarta. She and her staff did a great job, and I recommend them to anyone. They answered every question I had about the procedure before we did it and, just as I hoped, it turned out great.

“I would say that if you’re looking to lose a little extra fat around any problem areas and you feel like you want to enhance another area of your body, BeautiFill is the way to go. It’s simple, safe and effective, and it worked wonders for me.”

(c) FHCN article by Roy Cummings. mkb

*Patient’s name changed at her request.
Print This Article