Fat Grafting: Frequently Asked Questions
Fat grafting can add volume to the face and lips — or almost anywhere else you need a little fullness. If you are thinking about fat grafting, you probably have lots of questions and perhaps a few concerns. Here are answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about fat grafting:
- What is fat grafting?
- At what age can fat grafting be performed?
- What does a typical fat grafting consultation entail?
- How is fat grafting performed?
- What should I expect postoperatively?
- When will I be able to see the results?
- What are the risks of fat grafting?
- Are the results permanent?
Fat grafting — also referred to as free fat transfer — is really two procedures. First the fat is harvested from one part of your body and then it is injected into the treatment area. This cosmetic procedure can be used to rejuvenate the face, augment the cheeks or lips, or correct problems such as hollowness around the eyes or acne scars. Fat grafting can also be used as a corrective measure when too much facial fat has been removed during a facial rejuvenation procedure like facial liposuction or buccal fat extraction.
Fat grafting can be performed at any age to help correct deep acne scars or fix facial asymmetry. Its other applications — lip augmentation or cheek augmentation, filling in hollows in the face — are typically reserved for people in their 20s and up.
During a fat grafting consultation, you meet and interview a plastic surgeon who specializes in the procedure to go over your aesthetic goals and learn about your treatment options. The surgeon will discuss what can realistically be achieved with fat grafting, review the risks of the procedure, determine the amount of augmentation you will need and lay out the cost. The two of you will also discuss your medical history. This is also a good time to ask to see photos of previous patients so you can see if you like the surgeon's work.
Fat grafting is an office-based procedure that is usually performed under local topical anesthesia. The fat used in fat grafting is harvested through liposuction from elsewhere in your body, usually an area where you have some to spare. The fat is then sterilized, processed and injected into the target site in a process called autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection.
You can expect to be swollen, bruised and sore at both the donor site and the treatment site. Your surgeon will tell you how to care for the treatment area, including staying out of the sun while you are healing.
Your face may be a bit swollen at first and it might look like you were over-filled. Many surgeons inject extra fat because not all of it will survive in its new location. The swelling will subside and the final results will emerge in three to four months.
Complications from fat grafting are rare but can include infection, asymmetry, fatty cysts, hematoma, fat embolism, seroma, and permanent discoloration from the bruises. Also, it is possible that you will not be happy with the final results.
There are many factors that determine how long fat grafting lasts. Your body naturally absorbs fat, so the surgeon must over-inject initially, and success rates can vary considerably. If you gain a considerable amount of weight after fat grafting, it may show up in the area that was treated.
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Buinewicz Plastic Surgery & Medspa
3655 Route 202
Suites 225 and 230
Doylestown, PA 18902