In the quest for youth and beauty, one of the growing trends gaining attention is using fat for cosmetic purposes.

In a process called fat grafting, physicians remove fat via liposuction, then insert it into another area to smooth, and enhance for a more youthful shape. However, because fat graft survival is unpredictable, patients may require additional fat graft sessions and therefore multiple procedures to harvest the fat.

A new study in Japan shows that fat grafts can be stored by freezing to minus 196 degrees Centigrade. The collected fat is frozen, so it can be used multiple times over a period of several years. This eliminates the need to perform multiple liposuction procedures for future fat grafting. EVMS plastic surgery experts aren’t convinced that the procedure is a feasible option.

“The fat is frozen and thawed, so there is cellular damage that occurs during this process which may affect fat graft viability,” says, Lambros Viennas, MD, Chief of EVMS Plastic Surgery and Assistant Professor of Surgery. “Secondly, cost is a factor for freezing, storing and retrieval of the fat which may preclude its use in cosmetic surgery.”  

Dr. Viennas adds that further research to optimize fat grafting, and preservation will certainly help improve patient convenience and outcomes in the future.

Learn more about fat grafting and other cosmetic procedures with Dr. Viennas at the EVMS Aesthetic Center.