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Florida plastic surgeon opens 'fat bank'

Sept. 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- A Florida cosmetic surgeon says he is opening a "fat bank" where patients who have had fat removed during liposuction can store it for future use.

While plastic surgeons commonly transfer patients' fat from liposuction procedures immediately to other parts of the body, usually the breasts or the face, the "fat bank" would allow patients to draw on it later to fill out body parts that have succumbed to age, Jeffrey Hartog, a Seminole County plastic surgeon, said.

"I will present it as an option to any patient having liposuction," he told the Orlando Sentinel.

At Hartog's Liquid Gold center, fat harvested during liposuction is drained, cleaned and put in containers for freezing.

Some medical experts question the safety of such a "bank."

"Animal data shows that frozen fat doesn't hold up as well as fresh fat," said Dr. Daniel Del Vecchio, a plastic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital who has studied fat transfer.

Storing patients' fat in such a ban could be "a logistical nightmare," he said. "There are better solutions."

Del Vecchio says it is much safer to harvest the fat and use it immediately when it's fresh.

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

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