Autologous Fat Transfer

Submitted by Adriana Rae on October 20, 2006 - 09:58.

Here's another excerpt from Beauty Junkies, the bestseller about cosmetic surgery written by Alex Kuczynski. (The photo above is of Kucsynski in this month's issue of AVENUE magazine.)

A friend of mine, a New York entertainment executive in her fifties, does not look her age. She’s got the reedy, semistarved body of an adolescent, and she has avoided the sun with a fervor bordering on religious principle. She’s always impeccably turned out; she’s obsessed with shoes — stilettos, kitten heels, anything to add a supple, curvaceous tightness to the calf muscle.

On a good day, she could pass for thirty-five — in dim light, possibly twenty-five. There are no telltale signs of age on her face, no wrinkles and no age spots. A dusky pink sheen illuminates her lips at all times, the work of a tattoo artist expert in the application of permanent makeup.

At the beginning of the summer, every year, my friend visits Dr. Patricia Wexler, a New York dermatologist whose clients have included Ellen Barkin, Donna Karan, Barbra Streisand, and Sean "Diddy” Combs. Everyone who goes to Wexler or who has heard of her calls her “Dr. Pat.”

Prior to this visit, Dr. Pat has withdrawn fat from my friend’s buttocks and siphoned out enough fat to fill twelve thick vials. The vials are labeled and stored in a freezer along with fat suctioned out of dozens of famous actors and actresses, Dallas housewives, lawyers, television anchors. My friend wears a tightfitting set of Ace bandages for a week after the procedure. An opening at the bottom allows her to perform bodily functions and gives the outfit a distinctly S&M, Helmut Newton affect.

To subject oneself to the ministrations of a New York dermatologist can be a pricey prospect. Just to sit down and talk to Dr. Pat is $500. Laser treatments can run as high as $6,000 and liposuction as much as $11,000. A frequent guest on Oprah and the Today show, she has touted skin tightening procedures like Thermage (about $3,500, according to the New York Times).

Certainly, a patient won’t try everything at once. In the case of my friend and her fat, I watched Dr. Pat bring out one of the vials of fat and, using a fine subcutaneous needle, inject the contents of one of the syringes into the woman’s cheeks and nasolabial folds — the lines that run from the nose to the mouth. The fat was surprisingly thick and bright yellow, a neon sludge that looks almost exactly like the lemon flavored cake frosting you might buy in a plastic Betty Crocker tub at the supermarket. Just greasier.

The procedure is called autologous fat transfer — that is, moving fat from one part of the body to another. Peggy Siegal, a public relations executive in New York who is also a patient of Dr. Pat’s, loves to joke about having had the procedure.

Siegal explains it this way: “The older you get, the more the fat gravitates to your butt. The doctor takes it out of your bottom and puts it back in your face. So when you are kissing my face, you are actually kissing my ass.” Then she gives a laugh, and it is a triumphant sound.

( categories: Cosmetic Surgery | Weight Loss )
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