Fat transfer, or grafting, from one’s own body to another site on the body, has been used in aesthetic and rejuvenative surgery for decades.
In recent years, however, a new form of bioregenerative medicine, known as nanofat grafting, has been gaining popularity.
In this technique, pioneered by Belgium plastic surgeon Dr Patrick Tonnard, fat cells, usually from the abdomen or thighs, are harvested using thin microcannulas and are then mechanically emulsified and filtered by passing through a 500-micrometre filter.
This liquefied fat, known as nanofat, has high levels of mesenchymal stem cells, growth factors and stromal vascular fraction which have been shown to promote endothelial proliferation, collagen creation and new cell creation and differentiation.
This fluid is centrifuged to maximise the fat concentration and is then reinjected along the hairline to stimulate the hair follicles and promote hair regrowth.
There are over 100 published peer reviewed scientific articles on the use of nanofat transfers. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Aesthetic Surgery showed that nanofat grafting had beneficial effects on the treatment of scars, wrinkles, and skin discolouration.
And a recently published article in the same journal showed that 91 per cent of patients experienced improvements in facial scars that were treated with nanofat.
Oolala Cosmetic & Laser Clinic Director Dr Mark Jeffery says that the benefit of nanofat is that it’s your own regenerative material that you’re putting back into your scalp. “The advantage of nanofat compared to PRP treatments is that you generally only need to have one treatment to have quite a long-lasting effect. Whereas with PRP you need to come in regularly to have treatments,” Dr Jeffery said.
“Once we have aspirated the fat cells, we then put that tissue through a series of mechanical disaggregation, so in other words what we do is we break down the fat cells. And between the fat cells are what we call stromal cells, and they line the connective tissue between the fat cells and when we mechanically disaggregate those cells, what we end up doing is getting a very rich regenerative tissue transplant to put back into someone’s hair loss areas.”
Suvi Mahonen is a Surfers Paradise-based journalist. Her work appears in The Australian, the Australian Quarterly, Mamamia and other health and lifestyle publications. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube and online art-selling platform Redbubble.