How Long Do Fat Transfers Last?

If you’re concerned about breast volume loss after nursing, you can achieve results that look and feel natural with a fat transfer at East Bay Aesthetic Surgery in Pleasanton or Danville, CA. This procedure can also enhance the appearance of other parts of your body, like your buttocks, your face, or the backs of your hands. Keep reading to discover how long the results of the procedure last and what you can do to maximize the results. 

How Long Do Fat Transfers Last? 

The final results of a fat transfer are considered permanent. Between the ages of 16.5 and 18.5, your body loses its ability to produce new fat cells. This means that once fat cells are taken from the donor site, the donor site permanently has fewer fat cells. Furthermore, fat cells that are settled in an area cannot be destroyed without outside help, like liposuction.

How Long Does it Take to See the Final Results of My Procedure? 

It usually takes around six months to see the final results of a fat transfer. It takes approximately this long for your skin to return flush against your new, leaner contours after liposuction. Furthermore, it takes roughly half of a year for all of the transplanted fat cells to take hold in the recipient area. Don’t be discouraged if a month or two has passed since your procedure and your results still aren’t perfect. With patience, they will be.

How Long Does the Procedure Take? 

The length of the fat transfer procedure itself can range anywhere from an hour to over four hours. If you’re restoring youthfulness to the backs of your hands, not much fat needs to be grafted and not many injections are required. If a more complex procedure is required, such as a Brazilian butt lift, the procedure can take four hours or longer. Not only must more fat be grafted and harvested, but more injections are required.

What Happens During the Procedure? 

This procedure is performed in three steps. Once the donor and injection areas are cleaned, liposuction will be performed in the donor area. However, the liposuction performed for fat grafting is extremely different from traditional liposuction. Traditional liposuction involves suctioning out excess localized white fat cells as quickly as possible. Liposuction performed during fat grafting that can only come from years of practicing and mastering the craft.

The second step of this procedure is processing the harvested fat. During the processing portion of the procedure, the harvested fat is cleaned. Once the cells can be inspected closely, the fat cells that were undamaged by the gentle liposuction process are separated from the damaged cells. Finally, the strong, healthy fat cells are drawn up into a syringe and injected into strategic locations in the recipient site.

What Can I Do to Ensure the Most Satisfactory Results? 

To ensure the most satisfactory results, it’s important that you don’t lose weight during your first six months post-op. In other words, you need to consume as many calories as your body needs to maintain its current weight. If you’ve been maintaining your weight for at least six months, you can probably eat intuitively and not worry about tracking macros. If, however, your body fat percentage fluctuates periodically, you will need to track the macros you consume.

What Are Macros? 

Macros, or macronutrients, are the four major types of nutrients that you get your calories from – fat, protein, carbohydrates, and alcohol. It’s better to track macronutrients than calories because if you only tracked calories, you may end up maintaining your body fat percentage but not fueling your body appropriately.

How Do I Track My Macros?

Tracking macros ensures that you are getting enough protein in your diet for your skin to bounce back after your fat grafting procedure. Once that’s accomplished, you can decide how to split the rest of your calories among carbs, fat, and alcohol. To track your macros, calculate your total daily energy expenditure and daily protein needs.

Multiply the grams of protein you need per day by four, the number of calories in a gram of protein. Then, subtract this number from the total number of calories you need to eat daily to maintain your weight based on your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level (your TDEE). Typically, you want to aim for 10 to 35% of your daily calories from protein, 20 to 35% from fat, and 45 to 65% from carbs.

How Do I Calculate My Daily Fat Needs? 

Once you’ve subtracted the calories you need from protein, you know how many calories you have remaining in your daily caloric budget. To budget the rest of your calories for a given day, you need to know that a gram of carbs has four calories, a gram of fat has nine calories and a gram of alcohol has seven calories.

Let’s say you have a TDEE of 1,800 calories, and you want 35% of your daily calories to come from protein to keep you full and keep your skin healthy. Multiply 1,800 by 0.35 to get 630 calories from protein, or 157.5 grams. Subtract 630 from 1,800 to get 1,170 calories remaining. If you want only 45% of your daily caloric intake to come from carbs, then 20% of your calories should come from fat. This is 360 calories or 40 grams.

How Long Does the Recovery Process Take After Fat Grafting? 

The recovery process following fat grafting lasts approximately six weeks. You will only need to take one to two weeks off from work depending on whether you work an office job or your job is physically laborious. After that, the only “recovery” you need to worry about is not lifting anything over 10 pounds until six weeks post-op.

Keep in mind, everyone heals at a different rate. Furthermore, the amount of fat harvested, the number of areas the fat was harvested from, and the recipient area are just a few of the factors that affect how long your recovery will be. If you had fat transferred from your upper arms to the backs of your hands and you feel like you can engage in moderate weight training before six weeks has passed, let Dr. Eric Bachelor know.

What Should I Expect in the First Week Post-Op?

In the first 24 hours post-op, you are going to feel tired. Whether you opted for general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation, you are going to feel the need to rest. This is perfectly normal, and you should listen to your body. We recommend having several movies you’ve already seen available so you can engage your brain when you want to and disengage without missing the plot twist at the end of a new TV show or movie.

After the first 24 hours, as long as you listen to your body and doze off when you feel the need to, you will start to feel like your old self. However, it’s perfectly normal to nap a lot in the first two or three days post-op. Your skin is working hard to adjust to heal the incision made during liposuction. After a week of sleeping adequately and resting when your body needs it, you will be clear to return to an office job.

How Should I Sleep in the First Week Post-Op? 

How you should sleep in the first week following your procedure depends on the locations of the donor sites and recipient sites. If excess fat was removed from your lower abdomen and transferred to your breasts, you should sleep on your back. Contrastingly, if excess fat was transferred from your lower back to your buttocks, you should sleep on your stomach.  

It’s absolutely crucial that you get enough sleep during the first week after your procedure. If you need to sleep in an unusual position after your procedure due to the locations of the incisions and injections, we recommend that you practice sleeping that way for at least two weeks before your procedure. If you find it uncomfortable after the first week of practicing, find a way to make it more comfortable by supporting your spine with towels or throw pillows.

Can I Do Cardio in My First Week Post-Op? 

No. You can perform neither anaerobic (resistance) nor a traditional aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise in the first week after your procedure. You can absolutely engage in light aerobic exercise, like walking in the first-week post-op. However, you shouldn’t walk at an intensity that causes you to breathe heavily. If you’re having trouble holding a conversation, reduce your intensity immediately.

If you’re anxious to get back to your workout routine, remember that the more you focus on rest in the first couple of weeks after your procedure, the sooner you can get back to your regular workout routine. To put your mind at ease, we recommend walking around your living room, doing some static stretches, doing some yoga, and then walking to your mailbox. If you’re feeling invigorated, walk around the block. You’ll be back to your old self soon enough.

How Soon After My Procedure Can I Take a Bath? 

Wait one week after your procedure to take a bath. When you bathe, use tepid water, mild body washes, and pat yourself dry gently with a soft towel. Don’t fret, though. It is perfectly okay to take a shower 48 hours after your fat grafting procedure. Again, you should wash with tepid water and mild body wash. If you feel the need to wash your hair within 48 hours of your procedure, use dry shampoo.

How Soon After My Procedure Can I Smoke? 

You should wait at least two weeks after your procedure to consume nicotine or alcohol. This waiting period mitigates the risk of elevating your blood pressure to an unhealthy level during the most important phase of your recovery process, the first two weeks. However, there are other advantages of not smoking or drinking alcohol early on in your recovery process.

Consuming products that contain nicotine or alcohol stresses your body as it tries to rid itself of the harmful chemicals being consumed. This means the body has less energy to divert to healing the skin. We strongly recommend that you wait at least six weeks after your procedure to start consuming products that contain tobacco or alcohol.  

Discover How to Restore Your Natural Beauty Today

While not every fat cell that is transferred will survive the transfer process, those that have survived after the first six months will remain forever. Furthermore, the donor sites involved in the transfer will permanently have fewer cells. If you want to learn more about this procedure, please contact us right away at East Bay Aesthetic Surgery in Pleasanton or Danville, CA to schedule an appointment with Dr. Eric P. Bachelor, MD, FACS.

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