Thanksgiving is around the corner and it’s time to secure that turkey. Is it worth it to wait a couple of days before Thanksgiving to get a freshly-killed never-been-frozen model? If your motto is, “A bird in the freezer is worth two in the bush,” you will simply lug home a frozen turkey now and sit back smugly, bird resting quietly in freezer, while others do the last minute scurrying. But if you’re a purist, you know that nothing compares with a freshly-killed turkey and you will brave the traffic, seeking an exotic turkey farm, or take your chances in the wild west of your supermarket a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
Now, plastic surgeons have a similar dilemma. For years, they have been taking fat from one part of you and moving it to another by injecting it. Most commonly, the fat travels from a southern to a northern body part, i.e., love handles, buttocks and thighs to aging areas of the face.
When faced with the notion of fresh vs. frozen fat for facial injections, a Palm Beach plastic surgeon argues that most patients have donor sites of fat that can be used for fresh transfer, so frozen is not necessary. Further, without a body of scientific research available, it is difficult to make the argument that you can get equivalent results from frozen fat as fresh fat. “I think the verdict is still out as to the optimum way to preserve fat, and certainly it’s well understood that fresh fat tends to retain viability of the transferred fat cells and stem cells probably better than when the fat has been processed through a cryogenic preservation freezing process, then thawed again.”
A Florida plastic surgeon, interviewed by WPBF.com, November 3, 2011, has a less conservative view. In fact, he runs a frozen fat bank. “Having a bank available makes fat literally an off-the-shelf product.”
Fat storage became crucial to his wife, Michelle, after she was diagnosed with an invasive cancer in her left breast. She decided to remove both breasts but did not want reconstructive surgery with implants. At the time of her mastectomy, she had liposuction and then a fat transfer. She would need multiple procedures, so the rest of the fat was frozen for later use. Hopefully, there will be a follow-up story soon with a glowing report about her reconstruction.
As for the holidays, fresh or frozen, it’s all about family!
For more, visit surgery.org