As we age, fat in certain parts of our body atrophies or dissipates leading to step-offs and hollowness on the face,
and around the eyes. Fat injection procedures known as autologous fat transplantation or microfat injection, involves
removing fat from an area of excess on your body. The fat cells are then injected to fill sunken cheeks or laugh lines
between the nose and mouth, to correct skin depressions on indentations, to minimize forehead wrinkles, to improve
step-offs around the eyelids and to enhance lips. Another excellent area for fat injection is the hand. As we age, the
fat at the back of the hands may atrophy or go away. The tendons and veins on the back of the hands become more visible,
giving the hands an irregular contour full of blue and white “cords.” Fat injection into such hands can replace lost
fullness thereby correcting contour. The fat will also serve to hide tendons and veins on the back of your hands which
are one of the typical signs of aging. As the injected autologous fat is harvested from you, it tends to last longer
than injected bovine collagen or Restylane®.
Either local anesthesia with some sedation or general anesthesia may be used with this procedure. The fat is
withdrawn using a special instrument so as not to injure the fat cells. The art of fat injection is in the removal of
and processing of the fat so as not to injure the delicate fat cells. The prepared fat cells are next gently injected
into the desired site with a special needle. As some of the injected fat cells resorb over the following weeks,
overfilling is necessary. The swelling associated with fat injection tends to be more severe than with collagen. You
may notice swelling especially at the lips for 2 weeks.
If a large area was treated, you should limit your physical activity for a brief time until the injected fat has set
into its new location. Many patients, however, are able to resume their normal activity immediately. You can expect some
swelling, bruising, or redness at both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends on the size
and location of the treated area, as well as the extent of liposuction at the donor site. The swelling and puffiness at
the recipient site may last several weeks, especially if a large area was treated. You should stay out of the sun until
the redness and bruising subsides – usually 3 days. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sun-block to conceal any
signs of your procedure.
The duration of effects of the fat injection varies from patient to patient. Though some patients have reported
results lasting over several years, the majority of patients notice some decrease in fullness within the first 6 months.