It seems like everyone today is on board with the "green movement."

Recycling bins are commonplace in public venues like concerts or sporting events. No longer is it acceptable to throw trash haphazardly from our car windows. Boxes made from "recycled material" seem to be de rigueur

But what about green plastic surgery? What is that all about? How can recycling and plastic surgery be related?

As a board certified plastic surgeon, I get offers all day long from friends willing to donate their fat for the use of another’s beauty. Many of my patients are even willing to donate anonymously to an unknown recipient. (Maybe you would be willing to?)

I once heard a story of a surgeon who tried to come up with a mechanism to use unwanted fat cells to power his cigarette-style motor boat. Wouldn’t that be awesome! That would lead to a complete revolution. Talk about renewable resources!

To be “green” with plastic surgery, you have to be selfish — unfortunately, for now, the only way to jump on the green trend when it concerns your beauty is to be entirely selfish.

The only way to recycle anything, for anyone, involves the movement of your own fat back to another area in your own body. We call this fat transfer, and it involves taking fat from one unwanted area and replacing in back into a more desirable location.

The typical harvest sites (where we get the fat from) include the abdomen, thighs, hips and lower back. The recipient site (where the fat goes to) include the buttocks, face, breasts and hands.

This is a bit of a 2:1 surgery where the patient can have a reduction in bulk in one area and a plumping effect in another. This plumping effect of the fat can truly augment the youthful appearance of an area in a patient, especially the face or hands.

Fat transfer starts with liposuction where fat is literally suctioned out with a stainless steel straw called a cannula. This is often done under local or general anesthetic and best done in a hospital or an accredited surgical center.

The fat is treated by a variety of methods that may include use of a centrifuge machine or just washing or rinsing the fat with specialized solutions. The fat is then placed in a different location to have the desired plumping effects with that same cannula system utilized.

Fat transfer can smooth out wrinkles or fill in contours that have become more noticeable with aging. Smaller amounts of fat are utilized in these areas, like the cheeks, lips, temples, and eyelids.

One area often overlooked in rejuvenation is the back of the hands. Often, we focus so heavily on the face and neck region and neglect to include the backs of the hands, which can be a telltale sign of aging in an individual.

Larger amounts of fat can be transferred to areas like the buttocks or to the breasts. While these may be for purely aesthetic improvements and contour enhancement, breast reconstruction can be performed partly or even wholly with fat transfer. Often an implant is utilized to get the majority of projection in a breast reconstruction and fat transfer is used for the "finishing touches" to smooth out any contour irregularities.

Fat transfers can be done on an outpatient basis, where the patient goes home the same day, or can be part of a combination of procedures where the patient may spend a night or two in the hospital. There is minimal pain associated with fat transfer.

The major side effect we see with fat transfer is the unpredictable nature of the fat. Approximately 50% of the fat will be reabsorbed during the healing phases of the fat transfer process. So, like the opposite of a haircut, I can always put more fat in if desired. The good news is that most of us can provide more of this renewable resource if needed.

So I encourage y’all to join the "green plastic surgery" movement that is taking the country by storm. We might just turn the negative obesity epidemic into a positive with a little good old fashion recycling… at least we’ll be better looking for it.

Dr. Michael Burgdorf, author of “The Mommy Makeover: Restoring Your Body After Childbirth," is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder/president of Music City Plastic Surgery in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame, where he played football. He attended medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans and stayed there for his surgical residency. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Burgdorf and his family moved to Mississippi where he completed his plastic surgery residency at the University of Mississippi in Jackson.

[The content provided through this article and www.nydailynews.com should be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the advice of a relevant professional with any questions about any health decision you are seeking to make.]

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