lumps in cheeks after fat grafting (12 days ago). I have been putting ice on them, does this help or hurt?
Do You Recommend Icing 2 Weeks After Fat Grafting?
Doctor Answers (7)
Ice three weeks later for swelling
At this stage you must let your body heal the area and reduce the swelling. Ice initially does help swelling but at this stage put the ice in a drink of your choice to celebrate your beautiful new look
Icing after 3 days doesn't help swelling
Icing, or cooling the skin with ice (applied over an interface like a cloth but never directly on the skin) is a great way to help minimize and prevent a lot of swelling following surgery. We usually recommend keeping your head elevated for the first week if possible. Physiologically you continue to swell for 2-3 days, then peek with a slow but progressive resolution of the swelling which is also called "edema". The ice decreases the formation of swelling but in my experience does NOT hasten its retreat. Further if ice is put too close to the skin it can injure it.
Too much icing is not good
Fat survival is reliant on the vascularity and blood supply to the restored fat. Fat with adequate blood supply is more likely to survive the longest. Icing to long each time or for too many weeks can suppress the blood flow to the new fat decreasing the survival rate.
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Ice and Fat Transplantation
Fat is best iced when it is outside the body waiting to be transplanted. Lowering the temperature of the cells can reduce their rate of cellular respiration and therefore reduce the amount of acidosis the cells undergo prior to re-inserting then into the recipient site. Icing the recipient site theoretically reduces swelling. 12 days after fat transplantation, cells either have a blood supply or they do not. Ice is unlikely to heLp the situation at this time; it may actually be a hinderence.
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Icing is unlikely to help
Icing that long after surgery is unlikely to help with the swelling. Fat grafting survival is dependent on vascularization of the injected fat, and icing could potentially decrease blood flow. Now, if you're not doing it continuously, it likely won't effect things too much, but ice is effective in decreasing edema only the first few days after surgery.
Discuss any post surgical instructions with your surgeon.