Fat injections. The procedure and risks clarified

Cosmetic Procedures

What is fat injections?

The technique of fat grafting or fat injections is one of the best ways to resolve the issue of filling in laugh lines, crow’s feet and other areas on the face by simplify using your own fat. Fat is extracted from other areas of your body and then re-injected to your face where there is a need for volume.

The results are more natural looking and long lasting. More so, as it is not a foreign product like Botox, but from your own body, it will not be rejected by your body.

This procedure is not limited to the face. Other areas that can benefit with this treatment are the biceps, triceps, breasts, buttocks, hands, and the penis and calf muscles.

Although fat injections were mostly used to fill in and soften the edges of small, localised areas, larger areas are also been treated with this procedure. That is since normally body implants will be used to sculpt larger areas of the body, such as buttock implant. But surgeons are also now using fat injections to transfer the fat from other parts of the body to the buttocks instead of using an implant. The results are more natural looking than with an implant.

Who is it for?

In your mid-30’s you will start to losing volume in specific areas of your body, like your face and hands. A fat injection can help in these cases.

But to be a good candidate for this procedure you need to have enough donor fat in other areas of your body. These areas can be your abdomen or thighs. If you are a smoker, you will need to stop for several weeks before and after the treatment. This is to reduce your risk and limit complications from this procedure.

In the case where you might not have enough fat, you will need to again some weight before the procedure.

The procedure of fat injections can be used to fill depressions in your skin, but also to revise scars and bring around the vitality of your hands or face.

What are the procedure?

The procedure of fat injections are normally done as an outpatient basis. It will take around 2 hours to complete. Some sedation and other medication will be given to leave you sleepy and numb, but you will still be awake. Alternatively anesthesia might be given if it is combined with another procedure.

The procedure consist of firstly removing the fat from the donor area. The donor fat will normally be the abdomen or thighs. The harvesting of the fat is done by liposuction.

The fat is then cleaned, purified and prepared for re-injection.

Some doctors will spins the fat cells before they are injected beneath the skin. Whereas other doctors strain the fat cells instead of spinning them. A new technology that of Cytori’s Puregraft can be used to clean and spin the fat at the same time.

Secondly the fat is injected into the areas of the face that requires volume and contours.

What are the risks?

Since this is a surgical procedure the same sort of complications and risks involved in a surgery are possible. These can include infection, abscess forming, but you might also experience some swelling and bruising, but the recovery time is normally fast. But there will be redness for the first 48 hours after the procedure. And the swelling might last for several weeks. The bruising will disappear within a few days.

There are also chances for scabs to form where the injections where made.

There are also the risk that the skin’s text can be uneven, or that there are fatty bumps underneath the skin. More so, if the fat injection is done on more than one area, then there is a risk for asymmetry.

As for the pain, your doctor will be able to prescribe pain killers but you should avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs since they might lead to bleeding.

As the doctors will use your own fat, there is minimal risks of rejection, unlike other fillers.


The success rate of this procedure is not high. On average the best success rate will be around 40 %.

That is since, it takes to 3-4 days for the blood vessels to reach and supply the newly implanted fat cells with blood. In that period, around 60% of the transplanted fat cells will die. This is mostly due to over filling the area. To lessen this loss, more procedures might be needed, if not repeated.

There around 3 week’s down-time with this procedure. This is from being driven home, and unable to do some activities. But after 3 days, and the bandages are removed, you will be able to shower.