With Fat Grafting on the Rise, Surgeon Issues Warning

Recent breakthroughs in autologous fat grafting have brought the procedure to the forefront of plastic surgery. Dr. Simeon Wall Jr., originator of SAFELipo fat contouring, warns of the dangers some techniques pose to optimal fat grafting results.

Shreveport, Louisiana (October 2013) — A study showing stem cell-enriched fat increases the effectiveness of fat grafting in reconstructive procedures is sparking additional interest in fat transfer. However, Dr. Simeon Wall Jr. (www.safelipo.com), the originator of SAFELipo® body contouring, cautions that certain liposuction procedures pose dangers to optimal results.

"We have all the modern pioneers of fat grafting coming to a consensus that, regardless of the technique, we need to protect and preserve the grafted fat and recipient bed to maximize results," Dr. Wall Jr. says. "Laser and radiofrequency-based techniques generate heat that destroys the targeted fat and damages the surrounding structures." According to Dr. Wall Jr., this is important information for anyone considering fat grafting.

Autologous fat grafting has gained widespread acceptance among plastic surgeons as a safe and effective procedure. It involves harvesting a patient's own fat in order to increase volume in another area of their body. One of the factors hindering its usefulness has been the inconsistent long-term viability of the grafted fat. Although many surgeons have reported viability of 50 to 85 percent of grafted fat, some studies have shown as much as 80 percent of the adipose (fat) cells may not survive after being re-implanted.

But a study a published recently in The Lancet medical journal concluded that using stem-cell enriched fat grafts for reconstructive surgery is safe, reliable and effective. Effective fat transfer procedures require liposuction techniques that preserve the viability of as much of the harvested fat as possible, Dr. Wall Jr. says.

"Whether fat is being removed through liposuction or added during a grafting procedure, surgeons should aim to protect and preserve the fat and surrounding structures for optimal results. Some liposuction techniques actually pursue the opposite goal by killing fat cells with heat."

SAFELipo is a non-thermal liposuction, fat grafting, and body shaping process that aims to minimize bleeding, tissue trauma and contour deformities. It can be performed using power-assisted liposuction and non-power techniques, but is incompatible with internal thermal techniques that "melt" fat and damage surrounding structures, such as blood vessels and tissue.

SAFELipo is relatively new among liposuction techniques, and is often used to correct poor results from earlier liposuction procedures.

"SAFELipo actually incorporates fat grafting as part of the process in every surgery," says Dr. Wall Jr. During the final step in SAFELipo, the remaining fat layer is equalized, which involves redistribution and smoothing of the remaining fat for optimal, even results. This equalized layer of "local" fat grafts acts as a protective barrier preventing waviness and contour deformities. "Fat preservation is critical in the SAFELipo process, and in any fat grafting procedure."

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