What is a Fat Injection?
The procedure of injecting the fat taken from the patient’s own body through a certain process in order to give volume to any part of the body is called fat injection. This procedure must be performed by a plastic surgeon to get successful results. Fat to be injected into the skin is usually taken from the patient’s abdomen with special tools. However, waist and hip areas are also frequently preferred as donor sites.
The most common area for fat injection is the breasts and the face, but it can be applied to many other parts of the body.
Where is the Injectable Fat Taken from?
Fats used for fat injections are taken from the patient’s own fat tissues with liposuction techniques. However, the liposuction technique used for this procedure is slightly different. It is important to take the fat with low-pressure injectors. Because the extracted fat tissue needs to be intact. This way, the outcome will be much more successful. Less fat tissue will be taken compared to classical Liposuction. The fat tissue to be used for fat injection can be removed from the abdominal or gluteal area.
How is the Fat Injection Procedure Performed?
For fat injections, sedation anaesthesia, local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia can be administered. If the injections will not be administered to extensive areas, sedation anaesthesia is preferred. The procedure takes between 30 to 60 minutes on average. The patient can easily go home within 2 hours.
What to Expect During the Recovery Period Following Fat Injection?
The recovery period after fat injection varies between 3 and 5 days, depending on the width of the area of the procedure. Swelling after fat injection usually disappears within one week. No scarring is observed where the fat is taken or transferred. The results can be seen after an average of one month. However, the changes in the look can be apparent for the next six months. At the end of the six months, the final appearance is observed. A certain amount of the transferred fat can be melted away after a while, and the appearance of fullness can be lost. In such cases, the procedure can be repeated. However, generally, the transferred fats are preserved.
The longevity of the results of fat injections varies depending on several factors:
- The surgical instruments and cannula used for the procedure
- The techniques applied during the process of taking and transferring the fat
- The process the fat tissue is exposed
- The areas where the fat tissue is taken from
Before Fat Injection
Aspirin-like anticoagulant drugs should be avoided for an average of two weeks before the procedure. To speed up the healing process, the patient should also avoid smoking. If the patient has a medical history of previous or chronic illnesses and if there are medicines that s/he uses regularly, the information regarding those should be shared with the surgeon.
After the Fat Injection
Cold compress is initiated immediately to reduce swelling after the procedure. Ice bags are applied to the areas where the procedure has been performed 15 minutes per hour. The injection site can be washed the next day of the procedure. Moisturising creams can also be used. After 4 or 5 days, light massages are applied to the injection site to distribute the swelling. During this period, the patient must avoid exposure to extreme heat or steam. The patients who have a fat injection do not experience any discomfort except for the first few days. The patients can quickly return to their social life since the edema or bruises will disappear within several days. The tapes placed at the injection points after the procedure can be removed after a few hours. The surgeon may recommend the use of antibiotics for preventive purposes if necessary.
What are the Risks and Possible Complications of the Fat Injection Procedure?
Although observed very rarely, as with all other surgical procedures, some complications may occur from a fat injection. These can be listed as follows:
- Risk of infection
- Redness at the injection site
- Increased pain
- Excessive sensitivity
- Increased body temperature
- Asymmetrical appearance
- Numbness or excessive sensitivity at the injection site
- Discoloration at the injection site
- Possibility of excessive fat injection
The success rate among those who get fat injection depends on the expertise of the doctor as well as the technique and the instruments. Performing this procedure with the best technology available and by an experienced surgeon increases the success rate of the procedure, ensuring the desired body shape to be achieved easily and without problems.
Procedure Summary Table
|Procedure||Type of Procedure||Duration of the Procedure||Type of anaesthesia||Duration of Hospitalisation||Back to Work||Healing|
|Fat Injection||Aesthetic surgery||1-2 hours||General / Sedation||Out patient||7-8 days||Depends on the patient|
Fat Injection Frequently Asked Questions
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Micro fat injection differs from classic fat injection because the fat tissue withdrawn is thinner, and shrunken to pass through a small needle. With the micro fat injection method, fine wrinkles in the facial areas, forehead lines, wrinkles around the eyes, lines between the eyebrows, lines over the lips can be eliminated. A smaller amount of fat is transferred in this method. With the help of micro fat injection, renewal and rejuvenation can be achieved in the facial area.
A small amount of edema may be observed after fat injection. Edema is observed more frequently in patients who undergo fat injection in the lip. However, it dissolves and returns to normal within a few days.
Fat injections can be used to shape the hips or to correct the deformities that occurred after liposuction.
For filling procedures, synthetic materials are used. These are materials produced in laboratories and they contain hyaluronic acids. There are some differences between synthetic fillers and fat injection. The results of fat injections last longer compared to synthetic fillers. Although rare, allergic reactions can be observed with the application of artificial fillers, while fat injections are autologous and do not cause any allergic reactions.
Since some of the injected tissues are absorbed and eliminated by the body, renewal of the procedure can be needed. The elimination rate is between 30-70%. This amount varies, depending on whether the injection area is movable or static. The rate of retention and elimination of fat in areas such as the forehead and chin tip are different from movable areas such as the area around the mouth. Another application on this subject is to withdraw more fat tissue than needed for the first procedure and store the excess amount in a tissue bank for future injections.
For fat injection procedures, areas containing excessive fat tissue are generally preferred for donor sites. The preferred areas are abdomen, waist, and mostly in women, the hips. Breast augmentation procedures are quite limited with fat injections. Therefore, expectations must be realistic. If an excessive enlargement is desired, permanent implants should be preferred. Fat injections can be done first, then, if desired, can be moved on to implant applications.
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon Professor Yazar is available in his private practice based in Nisantasi, Istanbul for appointments to provide detailed and tailored information on the procedure.