Fat injections use fat from one area of your body to enhance another part of the body. This is the most natural and near-permanent means of augmenting or enhancing soft tissue. Fat is commonly taken from the abdomen, thighs, hips or buttocks using liposuction techniques. It is then processed and reinjected to enhance soft tissue.
Fat injections can be performed to treat very limited regions or for more extensive rejuvenation or augmentation of soft tissue. Fat injections can be performed alone or in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as surgical facial rejuvenation.
Fat may be injected to soften creases of the face or enhance the appearance of the face and lips. Fat may be injected to improve the shape and fullness of your buttocks. Fat may be injected to improve a skeletal or bony appearance of the hands. In some cases, fat may be used as a secondary procedure to improve the outcomes of prior breast surgery, such as reconstruction or augmentation.
Fat injections to treat minor or limited areas may be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic.
Fat injections that are more extensive or combined with other procedures should only be performed in an accredited surgical facility, most commonly on an outpatient basis.
The area from which fat will be extracted will be prepped with antibacterial solution and treated with anesthetic. Either manual suction in the form of a syringe or liposuction using a cannula and powered vacuum suction will be used to extract fat from the donor site, typically your abdomen, buttocks, thighs or hips.
The fat will then be processed to remove excess fluid and to retain viable fat cells.
In the same treatment session during which the fat has been extracted, the area to be treated with fat will be prepped with antibacterial solution. The area may also be treated with anesthetic, unless you are under general anesthesia as the result of accompanying procedures, such as a facelift. The fat will then be injected to the treatment sites.
Some of the harvested fat may be frozen for future use to refine your outcomes.
After Your Injections
The results from fat injections are visible immediately, although they will be exaggerated by the amount of swelling and fluid retention you will experience.
You may experience minor discomfort at both the donor site and where the fat has been injected. You will be swollen and bruised. Cool to cold compresses can help to minimize swelling and discomfort. You may take an over-the-counter pain medication, or your doctor may prescribe medication for you. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may experience several days to weeks of “down time,” where you may feel self-conscious in social situations or in a public setting.
The results of fat injections are generally permanent, although some of the fat will naturally reabsorb within the first year after treatment. For this reason, some doctors will suggest that you “over-correct” in order to achieve your desired outcomes.
If you should gain or lose weight, this will alter the outcomes of your fat injections.
Commonly Injected Sites
- The lips are commonly augmented by fat injection.
- Facial creases and depressions can be treated by fat injection.
- The signs of aging in the face, including a loss of fullness and flattening of the midface, can be improved with fat injections.
- The backs of the hands can be injected to improve a boney or skeletal appearance.
- The upper portion of the buttocks can be injected to create a more rounded, youthful curve to the body.
- Divets, defects and irregularities in the soft tissue of the breast following reconstruction or other breast surgery can be improved through fat injections to the breast.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What is your board certification?
- How were you trained to perform fat injections?
- Do you regularly perform fat injections?
- Where will you harvest my fat?
- Will you freeze any for future touch-ups?
- How many people have you treated with a condition similar to mine?
- Is the facility where my procedure will be performed accredited and by what organization?
- What type of anesthesia do you recommend?
- Who will administer my anesthesia and what are this person’s qualifications?
- Are there any precautions I should take before my injectable treatment?
- What can I expect to experience after my treatment?
- What are the potential risks of treatment?
- How long will my results last?
The cost of fat injections varies greatly depending on the extent of the procedure and whether it will be performed in conjunction with other procedures.
Fat injections generally begin at $2000 or more for limited areas.
Fat grafting to augment the buttocks may cost $8,000 or more.