Fat injections - benefits, risks, complications and ideal candidates for the surgery

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Fat Injections

Fat Injections

What Are Fat Injections?

The two most popular types of injections that are used to treat deep wrinkles and a lack of youthful volume in the face are collagen and fat injections. The only difference between the two is that collagen is derived from bovine or human sources and can sometimes be rejected by the body. In the case of fat injections, you are the donor. The fat is harvested from your thighs or abdomen and there is no risk of rejection.

In the medical world, the fat-injection procedure is known as autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection. It involves extracting fat cells from the patient's abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere and reinjecting them beneath the facial tissue. Injected fat is used to improve the appearance of the skin's texture and plumpness. It is what plastic surgeons call a “filler” that is used to reduce the depth of creases, furrows, deep lines, wrinkles, skin depressions, shallow scars and sunken cheeks. As per the treatment site in the body, the procedures are know as: fat injections in the nasal folds, fat injections to the face and lip fat injections.

What Are the Limitations of Fat Injections?

Although fat injections can treat most problems, it is important to remember that the results do not last for that long. This is because the fat is sometimes reabsorbed by the body and then it becomes necessary to return to the plastic surgeon for a repeat treatment. It also may not be of any use on very deep furrows or wrinkles nor can it always successfully plump up loose folds of skin. In cases where the skin is older and very loose, it is best to opt for an eyelift or facelift. As fat is very pliable it does not contour the look of the place the way traditional “cut and stitch” plastic surgery procedures can.

One drawback of having fat injections is that it is difficult to determine how long the effects will last. In some people the effects last a year or more and in other people it seems to last only a few weeks. Your age, genetic background, lifestyle and skin type all have bearing on how long your fat injections last. The way you look is what is going to determine how often you go back for repeat treatments.

Are You an Ideal Candidate for Fat Injections?

Like most plastic surgery procedures, fat injections are not recommended for individuals with underlying autoimmune condition or a serious disease. Though cost of fat injections is a matter of concern, your physical condition is is the primary issue. If you are a heavy smoker that might also affect how quickly the injury at the site of both the donor and recipient sites on your body heal. In this case, complications with fat injections in the face might appear.

What is the Procedure of Fat Injections?

The procedure itself is very simple and rarely takes over an hour. It requires no general anesthetic but if you are squeamish, most plastic surgeons offer it as an option. A topical anesthetic however is applied to the skin to numb the pain of receiving the needle. First fat is withdrawn from the donor area of the body with a needle or cannula that is attached to a small vacuum or suctioning device. The fat is then sometimes prepared by being put in a drum and spun until it reaches a state called “microdroplets.” This prepared fat is then injected into the area to be treated with a needle. If necessary a gauze dressing or bandage may be applied to the injection site.

At first site your collagen injections might look a little strange as excess fat will be injected into the site to be treated. This is a contingency to allow for the fat that may be reabsorbed by the body during the healing process that occurs over the weeks following the treatment. This might have the effect of temporarily making your face look fatter or swollen. This effect is usually most apparent in individuals who are using injected fat to fill sunken cheeks or indentations in the skin tissue. The larger the area that is filled with fat, the longer you can expect to look puffy. In some individuals this bloated look can last weeks, depending on how efficiently your body deals with the injected fat.

Fat Injections – After effects

After treatment you can expect some swelling, bruising or redness at both the place you donated the fat and at the place that received the fat injection. It is highly advisable to stay out of the sun at least a week until the redness and bruising has lessened. Unless there is an infection at the site of the injection you can also use make up to conceal any redness or bruising caused by the insertion of the needle.