There’s new hype over freezing your fat cells for future use in cosmetic injections. Fat works as a great filler for your nasolabial folds, cheeks, and eye hollows. Using fat tissue from your own body has the added benefit of allowing your own stem cells to improve collagen growth and blood flow, an advantage over using synthetic injectables like Juvederm and Restylane.
The September issue of Bazaar reports that plastic surgeons are recommending their patients to place their fat “on ice,” particularly after liposuction. The first fat bank in the United States, BioLife Cell Bank in Dallas, has had an increase in activity since late last year, with the number of people banking their fat doubling every three months.
Meanwhile, a plastic surgeon in Orlando, Florida has also opened a “fat bank,” the Liquid Gold Center. Freezing the fat at a negative 192 Celsius degrees, it can be defrosted later for use in cosmetic injection procedures. The doctor says that his patented method of freezing fat benefits patients by making extra surgeries to harvest fat unnecessary.
The Ideal Age to Harvest Your Fat Cells
Don’t wait until your 50’s and 60’s to harvest fat – the best age to remove and store fat cells is during your 20s, 30s, or 40s, when your stem cells are still potent. Fat is able to be banked for at least 20 years. Therefore, if you bank it at 30 years of age, you can use it for cosmetic injections when you’re 45 years old, the common age where fat loss and tissue descent happen.
Thanks to new liposuction techniques, the process of harvesting fat has improved and become more reliable. New and gentler liposuction techniques used by Body-Jet and Vaser break down fat into small particles and then use a low pressure vacuum to suction it out.
What If You Don’t Need Liposuction?
Your plastic surgeon can remove 10 or 12 ounces of fat from your thighs or buttocks, which is enough fat to use as filler for a lifetime – within an hour and without pain.
The Procedure And Costs
After your fat is harvested, it is shipped to the bank, where it is stamped with a barcode and put into liquid-nitrogen vapor as a preservative. The fat storage costs $1,700 for the initial first year, and then $200 a year after that. All in all, the procedure can cost $2,500 and up.
When it’s time to use some fat filler for a cosmetic procedure, a part of your stored fat and stem cells is divided and recombined, put into a syringe and shipped to your doctor’s office via Fed Ex for about $2500. Although this may seem pricey, an article in the Bazaar magazine reports that if you reinject the fat in 5 years, this costs approximately the same as paying for Juvederm and Restylane injections twice a year for 5 years.
To store 250 to 300 cubic centimeters of fat, the Gold Center charges $900 for the first year and $200 every year after that.
Pros And Cons of Storing Fat Cells for Future Use
Both the ASAPS (American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and Surgery.org endorse the use of autologous fat as a long-lasting and safe filler that can be used to replace volume with natural-looking results. Fat grafting involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, purifying it and re-injecting it in specific areas of the face.
However, some doctors say that injecting frozen fat is a dicey proposition. A Georgetown University professor says that no substantial data supports the effectiveness of frozen fat and whether it is metabolically viable.
A Boston plastic surgeon who has worked extensively on fat transfers also asserts that the best fat bank is the human body, and since only 30 to 50 cc’s of fat is necessary for a facial procedure, it is easy enough to harvest this out of the human body.