SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — The latest kind of recycling does not involve paper, plastics, or old clothes: it involves your very own fat. Doctors in the Bay Area are taking fat where you don’t want it and putting it where you do.

Ginger Copes dealt with a flat chest for most of her life. “I was teased a lot as a child”, exclaimed the Modesto woman.

So Copes got breast implants, but the scar tissue created a problem: a big dent on one breast.

“It was probably gosh two inches, indented maybe a quarter of an inch, to a half-inch. It was definitely visible with a bathing suit,” Copes recalled.

She fixed the problem with a unique solution, called fat grafting or fat transfer. The idea: a doctor takes fat from a part of your body where you do not want it and puts it where you do.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Williams of Tri Valley Plastic Surgery in Dublin specializes in the procedure.

“Most of our patients are bothered by the midsection, the love handles, the muffin top,” Williams said. “And the concept is: using liposuction techniques transferring the fat, processing it then transplanting it back into the body in areas where they do. The breasts the buttocks, or the face.”

Dr. William’s most popular fat transfer procedure is known as the Brazilian Butt Lift.
That’s when a patient’s own fat is trimmed away from, say, the belly or thighs in order to enhance the derriere.

When the right technique is used, the transplanted fat develops its own blood supply and stays put.

“The secret to getting good fat survival is very small volumes in very precise areas,” explained Williams.

With Copes, Williams performed liposuction and took fat from her belly, and injected it into her breast, filling in the dent, even sculpting the shape.

Copes said she feared that she would have large scars, but exclaimed she had “itty, bitty, tiny scars.”

Fat transfers cost more than implants. However, Williams said they feel more natural and cause fewer infections.

“Where we can, we really like to use fat because it is your own body and it feels just like breast tissue,” said the doctor.

As for Copes, she got a firmer belly and a more womanly figure.

“I got kind of it a double deal, a double deal out of it. That’s how I looked at it,” she said, laughing.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (8)
  1. Really? says:

    Don’t women always preach that “You should love yourself and your body”

    So now self mutilation is the popular thing? Slice your face up and tuck this in… break my nose so I can be prettier… Sure stick those toxic globs in me!

    Really… this seems sort of psychotic in a way. Self mutilation that is.

  2. Gumby says:

    Fight back – get a boob job!

  3. Lisa Adams says:

    I think this is a great procedure using your own fat and replacing it where you want it. And when asked by others one can say YES they are real ! or for that matter EVERYTHING is REAL! I feel there is nothing wrong with enhancement of self. And loving yourself and your body is a great way to look at it 🙂 Gee it would be a real break through if you had a mold where you could lay down in and reshape yourself ? Something to ponder in this field. Its your body, a shell that you have for your lifetime.. Take care of it!

  4. Gnids WSsd says:

    Didn’t Tyler Durden come up with this idea?

  5. Really? says:

    @ Lisa – How does one take care of their body if they are mutilating it? Wouldn’t a better way to get a but lift be to work out, run, watch what they eat?
    So it make me wonder about “the phrase “take care of it” that you said…

    This society of instant results is a funny one. People don’t want to work for what they want. They’ll shell over 10,000 dollars to have a stranger cut them up, suck fat out with a straw, and put it in another part of the body instead of “taking care of it”. As for me, when a woman walks in to work with a new pair, a new nose or new tush, I can’t help but laugh at the insecurity that it takes to do that to ones self. But maybe it’s because I love myself enough not to do that.

    But again, that’s pretty sick. But I guess different strokes for different folks.

    1. get real says:

      Actually if you knew anything about the human body you would know that much of how one looks has to do with genetics. Some people can work out 5 days a week, eat a healthy diet and still never achieve a flat stomach or tight butt. It is possible to take good care of yourself and still have a little work done to help with improvements. Plus if you were to be 100% honest with yourself you would admit that there was a time in your life that you were not happy with your body and or looks. Doesn’t mean that you are mentally ill, everyone is there at one time or another.

  6. Courteney says:

    @ Really – I totally agree with you. It is a mental problem that these people have and they are trying to use physical torture as a cure. I think it is disgusting how so many women are always worried about what they look like. I honestly wonder if these women really have nothing better to do.

    And this article highlights the extremes some people are going to but it doesn’t even address the day to day bizare things women are doing. Like having to put makeup on to leave the house or go to work. Seriously, these women need to add up all the time they spend on making themselves pretty and realize how much more productive they could be by doing something else.

    Most of the time, when I see a women is all done up, fake, hair died, fake nails, push-up bra (or fake breast), etc., I don’t see a pretty face/woman. Instead, I see someone who needs some mental help.

    @Lisa – seriously? I think you really need to re-examine what you are saying/thinking/doing. You need help. And I’m not saying that to be mean, I honestly think that people who have that mentality have serious problems. Please, even if you don’t get yourself some help/self-esteem, at least stop spreading your messed up thinking.

  7. Franco says:

    Are there any real women left? Most women I meet dye their hair, have breast implants, fake eyelashes, fake color contacts, lipo suction etc. You have no idea what they really look like. The big problem is that these women have some serious issues. I find a lot of these women go from man to man because they can`t maintain a relationship. I`ll take a natural, real woman anyday.