British Fat Transfer Allows up to 30 Years Before Use

Brook Flagg

by Brook Flagg | February 28, 2011 @ 11:00AM

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While the trend of fat transfer (also known as “fat grafting”) has been offered in the states for some time, it is now catching on across the pond – in Britain. Yet, it has a slightly unexpected twist.

In the United States, fat transfer involves harvesting body fat from the buttocks and freezing for future cosmetic use as a filler for wrinkles and sagging facial skin. As for the British variation of the procedure, the fat is harvested, frozen and stored in the same manner; but the difference lies in the interim time allowed before the fat can be used. There, surgeons are marketing the procedure as a means of firming up sagging body areas – not only the face, but the breasts and other areas as well – up to 30 years after the fat enters storage.  

At one of the first UK facilities to offer fat transfer, The Private Clinic in London, medical director Dr. Mike Comins said, “In your twenties, thirties and forties, you can extract a substantial amount of healthy stem cells from this fat (adipose tissue). As you get older, the stem cells start to diminish.”

He defends the unusual practice of moving the body fat decades after harvesting as “revolutionary,” saying, “It’s the most natural form of cosmetic medicine, and being able to use tissue from a young you to use in anti-aging treatments in the older you is revolutionary.”

Currently, Dr. Comins’ clinic has set the cost for the endeavor at £1,200 British pounds for the first year (around $1,900 U.S. dollars). An annual fee of  £200 pounds (just over $300 in the U.S.) is due for each year the patient wishes to keep the fat stored.

In addition to fat harvesting, British patients can also request that stem cells be extracted from their fat and stored as well. Stem cells are known to aid in the growth of blood vessels for successful fat transfer.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) offers fat transfer guidelines for patients and practitioners at www.plasticsurgery.org.  

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