A person’s own fat may be used to improve the appearance of the body by moving it from an area where it is less needed (usually the thighs or abdomen) to an area that has lost tissue volume due to aging, trauma, surgery, birth defects, or other causes.
Typically, the transferred fat results in an increase in volume of the body site being treated. Fat transfer has also been used to improve the appearance of breasts reconstructed after cancer treatment, to improve the appearance of breast deformities, and to enlarge breasts for cosmetic purposes.
Before the procedure, the areas from where the fat is being removed may be injected with a fluid to minimized bruising and discomfort. The fat may be removed from the body by a narrow surgical instrument (cannula) through a small incision or may be cut out directly through a larger incision.
In some cases the fat may be prepared in a specific way before being replaced back in the body. The fat is then placed into the desired area using either a smaller cannula or needle, or it may be placed directly through an incision. Since some of the fat that is transferred does not maintain its volume over time, your physician may inject more than is needed at the time to achieve the desired end result.
Over a few weeks, the amount of transferred fat will decrease. At times, more fat may need to be transferred to maintain the desired results. Fat transfer procedures may be done using a local anesthetic, sedation, or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the procedure.
Every procedure involves a certain amount of risk, and it is important that you understand the risks involved. An individual’s choice to undergo a procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to its potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience complications, you should discuss each of them with your physician to make sure you understand the risks, potential complications, and consequences of the procedure.
Other more serious complications have been reported to be associated with fat transfer procedures, however, these are very rare. Such conditions include, but are not limited to:
In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single procedure. It is important to understand that more than one treatment may be needed and therefore to discuss with your physician the costs associated of repeat treatments.
Should complications occur, surgery or other treatments may be necessary. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited above are the ones that are particularly associated with fat transfer procedures. Although good results are expected, there cannot be any guarantee or warranty expressed or implied on the results that may be obtained.
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