For ages we have looked down upon fat as an ugly and undesirable tissue. The desire to get rid of this burden led to the popularity of liposuction as a cosmetic surgery procedure. However, several recent scientific developments have resulted in better understanding of this ubiquitous tissue. For several decades, fat was being used largely as a filler material to fill up and enhance other body parts. The identification of “stem cells” in large quantities in fat tissue has revolutionized the role of fat in cosmetic surgery.
Depending on the way fat is harvested and the resultant fat particle size, fat is categorized into 3 types:
- Macro-fat – here the fat particles are more than 2 mm in diameter. This is commonly used as filler material but can be associated with poor fat survival and therefore poor long term results.
- Micro-fat – here the fat particles are less than or equal to 1mm in diameter. This is associated with better survival of fat and therefore more durable and predictable results.
Both these techniques rely on transferring living fat cells to the target area so that they may survive and fill the target area.
- Nano-fat – This technique deliberately destroys the fat cells (adipocytes) in the tissue to be transferred and maintains only the “stem cells” in the transferred tissue. The stem cells are almost 100 times smaller than fat cells and therefore the particles are much smaller; it is actually transferred as an emulsified fluid.
Nanofat can thus be injected using very small needles (therefore less painful). This technique does not aim to fill up or volumize the target area, instead it aims to rejuvenate and regenerate the target tissues. Nanofat can be used for the following indications:
i) Improving thick, dark or shrunken scars; on any body part. This helps to make the scar suppler and improves its appearance.
ii) Improving dark circles
iii) Rejuvenating old wrinkled skin, especially sun-damaged skin. For this it may be used on the face, neck, hands as well as the upper chest region (décolletage area)
iv) For improving hair growth
v) For regenerative purposes: Nanofat is used to hasten up healing in old chronic wounds / ulcers