During a fat injection (or fat transfer) procedure, Dr. Carman takes fat from the tummy or hips and injects it into areas of hollowness. Fat is removed using micro-liposuction techniques and centrifuged under sterile conditions before it is reinjected. Any excess fluid or damaged cells are discarded, resulting in the injection of pure, healthy fat. It is this approach, first described by Dr. Sidney Coleman, which ensures that the fat survives as living graft, resulting in permanent volume enhancement.
Anyone who lacks volume either in the face or in areas of the body such as the breasts, hands, or buttocks may consider this procedure. Fat injection can reverse the effects of aging by restoring fullness to treated areas. While fat grafting is most often performed to add volume to the face, Dr. Carman performs fat injection to add volume to a number of body areas. These include fat injection to the buttock area, to improve breast symmetry, or to fill in scars and depressions.
The volume of fat injected during the fat injection process depends upon the available donor sites and the areas that require enhancement. Your consultation with Dr. Carman will determine the areas that would benefit from the procedure and the appropriate volume of fat to be injected. The specific goals of each patient are addressed and a surgical plan individually developed to achieve an optimum result.
Fat injection involves taking the patient's own fat, therefore there are no allergy risks associated with fat injection whatsoever. Furthermore, if performed by an experienced surgeon, fat injection produces a permanent, natural result—something that is usually not possible when using synthetic fillers. The possibility of lumpiness or unevenness (a frequent problem with injectable fillers) is not an issue when using a patient's own body fat. Once healed, fat feels as soft and smooth as it would anywhere in the body.
Fat injection is not major surgery. Dr. Carman performs all of his procedures in his fully accredited private surgical facility. Fat injection is done as day surgery under a light general anesthetic. Patients wake up and they're done! This approach allows for the most accurate placement of injected fat, as there is no distortion from local anesthetic. Patients are also spared the need for multiple injections to freeze both donor and recipient areas. Afterwards, patients may take a mild analgesic to relieve any soreness, especially in the area of the donor site.
All surgery contains inherent risk. However, fat injection is one of the safest procedures performed in the field of plastic surgery. Bruising and swelling are the most common reactions to fat grafting and can be controlled by medication, ice, and rest. Prevention of infection is always a priority. Dr. Carman prescribes a short course of antibiotics to ensure that the risk of infection is minimal.
Fat injection is a relatively simple procedure with minimal down time. Most patients feel quite comfortable within 24-48 hours following fat injection, but strenuous activities should be avoided for seven days following fat injection surgery. Typically, facial areas are treated; swelling can last for a week or more, especially when the lips are enhanced. Most patients take a week off to allow any bruising and swelling to resolve.
Yes. When performed by an experienced surgeon using proper techniques, fat injection is permanent. If fat injection is not correctly performed, a larger portion of the injected fat will be absorbed back into the body and the results will not be as long lasting. It is for this reason that older methods tended to be less predictable, giving fat injection a reputation for unpredictable results.
Dr. Carman finds that patients are extremely satisfied with the changes that fat injection can create. A fresher, more youthful look is always the goal, but creating a change that looks very natural is equally important.
It has been found that fatty tissue is a rich source of stem cells. These cells, which occur naturally in our bodies, are able to regenerate tissues that have been damaged by aging or trauma. This unique ability to initiate regeneration has made stem cells the topic of research worldwide. The impact on plastic surgery patients has been significant.
Over time, the stem cells contained in the fat will migrate into surrounding tissues such as the overlying skin. Skin texture and smoothness show significant improvement, even though the fat was injected beneath the skin,rather than into it. Areas that have been damaged by radiation treatment for tumors have also shown marked improvement in elasticity and texture. The potential for stem cell utilization is only just beginning.
Generally, the time needed for the regenerative process is around 6 months. Contour improvements are immediate, but the changes in skin smoothness and softness take longer to evolve.
To a certain extent, the answer is yes, but the injected fat will respond to body weight changes in a proportionate way, so so that the treated area remains natural-looking at any body weight. If it ever became necessary, fat could be reduced with liposuction or added with further injections to maintain an ideal appearance. This is very rarely necessary.
As we all know, the aging process never stops. Patients who have had fat injections with pleasing results will sometimes benefit from additional injections over the years. The original fat remains in place, but the changes caused by further aging may need additional steps to maintain a desirable appearance.