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Fat grafting to help fill a void

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 10:35 AM EST
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Fat grafting is a surgical procedure that transfers fat from one area of the body to another. Now, doctors are using a new technique to repair a defect in one woman’s leg.

A pediatric nurse for eight years now, Kali Galvan thought she had seen it all!

“I noticed about three years ago, about 2017, that I was having like a fatty growth in my leg,” Galvan recalled.

Luckily, a biopsy came back benign, but about a week later there was a painful infection.

“My leg was very swollen, very red, extremely tender,” Shared Galvan.

Plastic surgeon Joshua Lampert knew he had to remove the infection and let the wound heal.

“The problem is when a wound heals like that, it created a really big crater in her leg,” explained Joshua Lampert, MD, a board- certified plastic surgeon at LampertMD.com.

That’s when Dr. Lampert offered her fat grafting to fill the hole in her leg.

“Fat grafting is a technique where you harvest fat from somewhere on the body where you don’t want it, and then you place it somewhere where you do,” illustrated Dr. Lampert.

While harvesting fat is not new, the technology Dr. Lampert uses is.

“We use a special low-pressure liposuction system, because the low-pressure avoids fat cell rupture,” elaborated Dr. Lampert.

By keeping more fat cells alive fewer procedures are needed. Kali had fat taken from three areas.

“The first one we did my abdominal area, the second one we did my back, and the third one we did kinda like my love handles,” recalled Galvan.

“Once that is harvested and separated, then we are able to inject it deep to the scar and try to push that scar up,” explained Dr. Lampert.

The entire process took six months. But now Kali’s leg is healed. She went on vacation last year and wore shorts with confidence!

“I just felt like I was on top of the world,” Galvan shared.

From a hole in her leg to feeling whole again.

Dr. Lampert says fat grafting is done under general anesthesia and can be used for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy or for adding more volume to the face after a tumor resection, basically to fill any soft tissue defect. Some fat grafting procedures are covered under insurance. Otherwise the cost can be anywhere from $20,000 and up depending on the procedure and amount of liposuction.

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