Fatbanking: Freezing Liposuction Fat for Future Use

Princess 19 on 13 Nov 2012 at 4:00pm

Exactly how to get rid of a "muffin top" - that extra inch of fat that insists on spilling over pants - is a dilemma of its own.  But, what to do with it once it's gone?  An Orlando doctor has one option - store it.

Yes, you read right.  Plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Hartog has actually invented a "fat bank" where you can store body fat removed from liposuction for future cosmetic surgery procedures. Fat transfer procedures such as transferring to the eyes, breasts, or butt have steadily gained popularity and can do everything from restoring lost volume to filling in a crease or irritating wrinkle.  

According to an Orlando Sentinel article, cosmetic surgeons who perform fat transfer surgeries normally transfer the patient's fat immediately after removing it through liposuction - most times, even within an hour of removal.

“Having their fat in the bank would allow patients to draw on it later, when they want to plump up body parts that have succumbed to age,” said Dr. Hartog.
He added that he "will present it as an option to any patient having liposuction."

Store your liposuction fat in fat bank

According to the company’s website, the act of storing the fat is referred to as “Lipobanking.”  The fat is harvested and stored in the world’s first on-site StemSource fat mini-bank at the adjacent AdreCyte Regenerative Medicine and Surgery Center, a state and federally certified ambulatory facility.

"Fat banking takes this [procedure] to a whole new level," said Dr. Hartog.

"We put the patient to sleep once. Do the lipo. Get the fat out once and have as much as we need for later injections."

Apparently, the stored fat can be used for procedures in the long-term future – we’re talking years

According to Dr. Hartog, the cost to store 250 to 300 cubic centimeters of fat, which would fill a coffee cup, is $900 for the first year and $200 a year after that.

But, as all “too good to be true” things in life, there are opponents of this practice. 

Boston vascular and plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Del Vecchio is one doctor skeptical of the procedure.  He's studied fat transfer procedures in depth.

"Animal data shows that frozen fat doesn't hold up as well as fresh fat," said Dr. Del Vecchio.

He claims storing fat in a bank is "a logistical nightmare. There are better solutions."

fat transfer before and after

As with all human tissue banks, there always runs the risk of using the wrong fat, which could have potentially fatal consequences.

He says the practice of using fresh fat is the safest. 

"You only need 30 to 50 cc's for a facial procedure. You can always find that somewhere on a woman's body. And that's the best bank of all."

Assuming it works as well as Dr. Hartog says, storing fat could be helpful if you think you'll be fat-free in the future and want fat fillers.  If you're having lipo now it could save you from going through it again -- but it comes with a sizable monthly price tag.  

And people thought storing sperm was crazy back in the day.…


What would you do – use a bank or go back under the knife?

Photo credit:  Flickr By McNeney and By velouria!

Comments (4)

There are a couple of places that do fat banking / tissue banking. There is AdiCyte (which is different from Adrecyte mentioned above) as well as Biolife and a few others. It looks like the Biolife and Adrecyte labs use the Cytori machine that pulls the cells (the useful stem cells) out of the fat. They can be stored in vials and injected later. The AdiCyte labs looks like they store whole fat and return that to the doctor for filler injections, stem cell therapy, etc. All of these labs are FDA registered and have sophisticated tracking, bar coding, etc. There is no real chance of getting the wrong sample nowadays. Sixty years of blood transfusions have taught the medical community how to track those things properly. I'd look at the AdiCyte labs for biobanking. I had my stem cells stored there. I figure one day I'll probably need a new hip or something. It'll be nice to have 45 year old cells to fix my 80 year old body !!
This is the first time i heard about lipo banking and how it done, i am so thankful for this idea you shared.
wrinkle freeze

I think I'd prefer to just get it taken as and when I needed it. For what it would cost me to store it over a certain number of years, I could just pay for it at the time I needed it. I also wouldn't want to chance the possibility of accidentally having someone elses fat transferred into me!


I guess if you were already getting liposuction and knew you wanted fat transfers on a later date this would make sense. But i'd rather just get one area lipoed now, and then take it from another area when ready for transfers! (hypothetically)