Today, we’ve become more conscious of reducing our waste and recycling where possible. Food packaging is designed to be recycled, public bins offer a place for people to dispose of their rubbish correctly and the ‘ban the bag’ movement is growing traction.

The drive to maintain a green lifestyle is not just limited to food manufacturers, the building industry and transportation. Being green isn’t just about solar panels and rain water harvesting. The cosmetic and plastic surgery industries are doing their part by recycling fat rather than discarding it as medical waste.

Scientists have previously suggested that human fat could be turned into biofuel to power vehicles offering a solution to toxic pollution. Sadly, medical waste is yet to be used as a renewable fuel resource thanks to stringent medical regulations. However, there is a way to recycle fat and it’s becoming more popular than ever.

Fat recycling uses unwanted fat to enhance other areas of the body

The only way to recycle fat is to transfer it from one area of the body to another. Typically, the fat is harvested from sites of the body where there is an excess such as the abdomen, thighs and hips. Rather than seal it up in biohazard bag and throw it away, the fat is used to create volume in other areas of the body such as the buttocks, breast, face and lips.

Fat recycling begins with a standard liposuction treatment where the excess fat is suctioned out with a stainless-steel cannula under local or general anaesthetic. The cosmetic practitioner removes the fat of the problem area to enhance the patient’s natural contours and define their figure.

The removed fat is then treated through specially designed machines which rinse the fat before it’s re-injected into the desired location.

Large quantities of fat collected from areas such as the thighs, can be transferred into areas like the breast or buttocks to enhance contours and improve aesthetics. Buttock procedures are particularly popular at Cosmos Clinic, especially amongst men who are desiring more volume in their derrière region. Fat transfer into breasts is also growing in popularity amongst our clientele with Dr Mitchell Kim considered one of the experts in this field. This enables women to increase the size of their breasts and perfect the shape without the need for implants.

Dr Kourash has recently been seeing great results when using smaller amounts of fat to plump up lips and smooth out wrinkles. While Cosmos Clinic doesn’t currently use fat recycling in the facial area, some doctors use the technique to reduce the signs of aging by filling in contours and smoothing out fine lines in the face. Hands, calves, chests and biceps are also popular areas for fat recycling.

Fat transfer is offering patients a natural alternative to breast implants, facial fillers or Sculptra used to enhance a patient’s buttocks. In some cases, recycling of the patient’s fat may also be used in conjunction with other cosmetic surgery. For example, in a breast augmentation surgery an implant may be used to create volume and the fat transfer can be utilised to smooth out any contouring irregularities.

While there is growing interest from the public for cosmetic practitioners and doctors to offer a fat donation service, it’s not currently offered. For now, being “green” with cosmetic surgery means you need to be selfish, as fat can’t be transferred from one patient to another.