What is a fat injection?
A fat injection (or fat transfer) refers to the process of taking fat from one area on your body (typically your abdominal area) and injecting it into your facial area. Fat injections can be an effective way to reduce wrinkles, reduce acne scarring, and regain a more youthful appearance.
In this procedure, the patient's own fat is collected (typically using liposuction) from a donor area and re-injected into the area you wish to be treated. Fat transfer may require sedation plus anesthesia if larger amounts of fat are to be collected. Small amounts of fat can be collected and transferred under local anesthesia.
Differences between a fat transfer and any other dermal filler?
Compared to injectable fillers fat transfers are more of an involved procedure because the fat has to be harvested from another part of the body. However, unlike injectable fillers, fat transfers can be used in larger volumes to fill larger defects.
When properly done, a large percentage of the injected fat cells survive. These are “permanent.” Since some fat cells are lost, the effect of the fat transfer is not as dramatic after a few weeks. For this reason, we tend to ‘overcorrect’, or inject more than we need to, knowing that after a few weeks the final result will be more to the patient’s liking. If we inject less, the patient may be happy with the initial result, but be disappointed over time as the results disappear.
Is fat injection right for me?
In general, the best candidates for fat injections are individuals with scarring, sagging or wrinkling on the face or those who are missing some of the youthful plumpness or high contours on the face.
You should also be realistic in your expectations, in good physical health, psychologically stable, and merely wishing to improve your appearance, not alter it.
A fat injection can help fill out:
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet
- Deep facial wrinkles, creases, and furrows
- Sunken cheeks
- Skin depressions
- Some scars
- Thin lips
- The buttocks during a buttocks augmentation
How is the fat injection procedure performed?
A fat-injection procedure is a two-step process.
- First, the “donor site” is cleansed and then anesthetised. Fat cells are then harvested through a liposuction from the “donor site” (such as the hip, inner or outer thigh, lower back, or lower abdomen) and once extracted is aspirated and washed in saline to remove damaged fat cells prior to injection.
- Once treated, the fat cells are then injected with a small syringe (after the area has been numbed) into the desired locations such as the cheeks, under the eyes, the lips, or around the mouth and lips.
Are there any adverse side effects?
Most people experience some swelling and redness for the first 24-48 hours. Itching and mild discomfort is not uncommon. There is no risk from allergic reaction because the fat is harvested from your own body. Infection is extremely rare and if needed, antibiotics will be given for 5 days.