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Fat injection has wide applications in cosmetic surgery. Areas that require volume enhancement injected with fat produces safe, long-lasting and natural looking results as volume is replaced to tissues where fat is diminished. Fat injection basically involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, washing/purifying it and then carefully re-injecting it with specially designed needles into the areas that require augmentation. This whole procedure may be required to be repeated many times in order to achieve requisite results. Swelling is common after fat injection, usually resolves within 2-3 weeks and degree of swelling mostly depends on the area which is being injected.
Patients who desire augmentation or filling of volume-deficit areas are the ones who benefit from fat grafting. Hands, face (including the lips), depressions in the skin contour are one of the most common areas that have developed following liposuction and scarring. Patients in good health are generally considered for fat injections. In case, if you have a history abnormal bleeding or swelling following a procedure, you should consult your surgeon. A smoking history should also be disclosed to your surgeon. Each patient’s anatomy and proportions differ and the decision to utilize fat injection techniques also depends on the goals of the patient as well as of the surgeon.
- Natural, non-allergenic
- Outpatient procedure that generally takes under an hour
- Injections may last from several months to permanently.
- Little or no downtime
- Minimal discomfort, which can be controlled with medication
- Because fat is from the patient’s own body, no pre-testing is required and the fat cannot be rejected.
- Good alternative if the patient is allergic to bovine collagen.
- Cost effective if combined with another procedure like lipoplasty (liposuction).
- Longevity of results can vary significantly from patient to patient.
- Some swelling, bruising-usually about 48 hours. Patient should avoid the sun until the condition subsides.
- Not every area is appropriate for fat injection. Injecting fat into the breast, for example, makes cancer detection via mammography more difficult and is strongly discouraged.
- Lasts longest when reinjected in relatively stationary areas (such as the cheeks)
Fat Injection Risks/Complications/Patient Safety
- Swelling is the most common post-operative side effect. Most of the swelling settles down within several weeks.
- Numbness of the skin overlying the donor and injected areas. This is usually temporary.
- Slight asymmetry or contour irregularity. This usually improves as the swelling resolves.
- Under or over correction of the defect
- Loss of fat viability, with resultant failure of the desired augmentation