If you want to plump up sunken cheekbones, fill in stubborn facial lines, create more supple lips or enhance your breasts, you may want to consider fat injections.
Fat injections are a popular short-term solution to temporarily improve the appearance of hollow cheeks, thin lips, an aging forehead, eyes, and scars. They can also be used on a limited basis to enhance breasts in a process called breast augmentation fat transfer. There is no need for concern about a foreign substance in your body since the fat used in the injection is taken directly from another area of your body.
People who use fat injections may be any age. The best candidates for fat injections are well educated about the procedure and fully able to comply with aftercare instructions. Repeated treatments may be necessary — good candidates are prepared for multiple sessions in order to achieve their desired results. In order to be a candidate for fat injections, patients must have excess fat in another part of the body from which to harvest the fat injection.
The procedure is performed in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia. Patients may experience minimal discomfort from the needle injection. Depending on the extent of treatment, the procedure can take from 30 to 90 minutes. Patients return home shortly after the procedure is finished.
First, an antiseptic is applied to two areas: the location of the fat to be removed from your body, and the target areas that will receive the fat injection.
Fat cells are then removed from the buttocks, stomach, or thighs with a syringe or cannula (a thin hollow tube) that is connected to a vacuum device.
After the fat cells are suctioned, they are processed and purified by the doctor. During the so-called stem cell face lift, stem cells in the fat cells are processed using a special device or “activated” via drugs, chemicals or lasers. The fat is then injected beneath the skin into the target area. A bandage may be applied at this time.
Results are fully evident within one week. Fat fillers never result in 100 percent improvement of wrinkles, scars, hollow cheeks, or thinned lips; nor are the results permanent. Results can last as little as a few weeks or as long as one year.
Transplanted fat cells will die without blood supply within three to four days at body temperature. It takes three to four days until the first capillaries are reaching the injected fat cells. Therefore, the “take” of fat cells is always a gamble; some survive forever, while most of them don’t take and are reabsorbed in the body.
After the procedure, patients may experience rather strong swelling and some bruising. The swelling may last for several weeks or months. The treated area may appear reddish in color within the first 48 hours. Scabs may form as well. Most often, normal activities can be resumed immediately. Patients are advised to stay out of the sun. Unmanageable pain or symptoms that are progressive or abnormal should be reported to the doctor immediately.
Complications and Risk
Complications are possible with any medical procedure; however, complications from fat injections are typically minimal. Complications may include uneven texture of the skin, infection, abscess, and scarring. In some cases, the area may be overfilled or underfilled.
Alternative and Additional Treatments
There may be alternative treatment options, depending on your condition. Other minimally invasive procedures include Botox, Restylane, Laviv and vampire injections. For severe signs of aging, surgical procedures such as eyelid surgery, facelift and forehead lift may be more appropriate.
Your doctor may recommend additional skin-surface treatments, which might include chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing or microdermabrasion.