Dermal and fat grafts

Dermal and fat grafts use your own skin and fat as a natural, permanent filler to restore volume and correct contour problems in the face and body.

There are many situations where dermal and fat grafts can be useful to improve your appearance.

  • Both clinical experience and the medical literature have shown that ageing causes a loss of volume within our skin, fat, muscle and bone leading to a saggy and deflated appearance in our face.
  • Dermal and fat grafting is often used during other facial rejuvenation procedures to enhance the effect of your surgery.
  • Very few people are born with symmetrical faces. Symmetry is a sign of beauty and can be achieved with dermal and fat grafts.
  • Larger amounts of fat can be used to improve the angles of your face eg improving cheek projection.
  • Loss of volume and contour problems commonly occur in the body as well. Some people have a condition know as “lipodystrophy” (hollowing or an excessively large pocket of fat at only one particular part of the body) or have suffered an injury that causes a deep scar or volume loss at one point of the body.

Temporary fillers such as hyaluronic acid are excellent for improving your appearance but only last 4 to 12 months. Natural fillers such as dermal or fat grafts have the advantage of being borrowed from your own body and being permanent. Permanent, synthetic fillers are widely used in plastic surgery but are not recommended at Southern Aesthetic Plastic Surgery as they have a higher chance of foreign body reactions and infection and cannot be easily removed once injected.

What does the procedure involve?

After a thorough consultation with one of our surgeons, your concerns will be addressed and a surgical plan developed.

A dermal graft is a strip of the deeper layer of your skin used to bulk up a similarly shaped part of the body. It is best for sharply contoured and well defined hollowed spots eg fat loss after an injury.

A fat graft involves borrowing fat cells from your lower tummy, hips or knees and re-injecting the fat into another part of your body. Fat grafting is best for creating smooth contours over a more diffuse area of the face or body.

In both situations, the graft is dependent upon its new surrounding tissues for its blood supply and nutrition. The process whereby the graft gains a blood supply and “takes” to the new area occurs over weeks. During this time, it is important to avoid trauma to the area. The size of the graft used is initially larger than what is needed, as a small portion of your graft will not “take” and will therefore shrink in size.

Both procedures require a general anaesthetic and are only performed at accredited hospitals. In most cases, dermal or fat grafting surgery can be performed as day surgery, and you will be discharged on the same day as your operation.

Who should perform dermal and
fat grafting surgery?

Dermal and fat grafting surgery is real surgery, and even in the most straightforward cases should be performed with sophisticated surgical technique for the safest and best results. It carries real risks, and as such should be considered carefully.

We recommend that the procedure is only ever performed in an accredited hospital. We also recommend that you carefully consider your choice of surgeon. Unfortunately doctors without surgical qualifications beyond their medical degree are allowed to perform surgery. Your surgeon should be appropriately qualified with at least a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). FRACS is the standard qualification required in Australia to perform surgery in private and public hospitals. Members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons have a FRACS and specialised training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including dermal and fat grafting surgery.

Our surgeons, Dr Amira Sanki and Dr Ilias Kotronakis are fully qualified Plastic Surgeons. They have both received Honours degree in their Sydney medical schools. They both have FRACS qualifications as Specialist Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and are members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. They both have extensive experience and training in dermal and fat grafting, including the most advanced and up to date techniques. They are committed to giving their patients the safest and best treatment available.

Where to get more information

A consultation with a qualified Plastic Surgeon is the best place to get more advice. More information on fillers is available online at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website.