Fat Transfer...don't Do It. -Beverly Hills, CA
My experience with fat transfer has been nothing...
- 9 Mar 2013
My experience with fat transfer has been nothing less than a nightmare that I can't seem to wake up from. Two years ago I was talked into this procedure when I went to have a breast implant replacement.
I actually never had any intention of doing anything to my face. In fact, I thought I looked pretty good for a 60 year old woman and was often told I looked far younger than my age. But he convinced me it was a totally safe, non-surgical procedure that would "perk up my look". I was assured there was absolutely no down-side or risk. I was sponsoring my high school reunion 4 months later & he assured me I would be completely healed by that time. Since I was going to be under anesthesia for the implants anyway, I decided to go ahead.
That decision has turned out to be one of the worst mistakes of my life. Not only was I unable to attend my class reunion, I was too ashamed too leave my home for nearly a year and thereafter only with sunglasses on. My face still looks like a puffed up goldfish. Huge cheeks and no hollow left below them (hollows that I specifically asked to remain). I was grossly "overfilled" and it has never gone down. But the worst part was my eyes. I was left with several hard lumps just above my eyelids near the brow bone, puffy & drooping lids and a sac of loose fat under one eye. The lower lid (the pink waterline) was exposed on one eye. The normal crease of my lid had disappeared and the skin above my eyes was crepey where it had previously been smooth. My once large eyes looked like pinholes and the shape of my eyes was completely changed...and not in a good way. One eye looked completely different from the other. For the first 3 months, I was told it was just temporary, that it would improve over time. That didn't happen. The only place the fat did not persist was the laugh lines, the only place I actually needed it.
In the 4th month I was foolish enough to let the original PS attempt a revision on my eyes. That only made matters worse. It left me with scars from the attempt to recreate a crease in my lid as well as a failed attempt to remove the lumps. After a year, I consulted with several eye surgeons to see what could be done. All agreed it was a disastrous outcome & said that FT should never have been used anywhere near my eyes. One tried injections of 5FU to reduce the lumps, but that was unsuccessful. Surgery was my only other recourse and because of the scars & the difficulty of removing the fat, I was told to expect only minimal improvement. It took an additional year of consults before I worked up the nerve to have the surgery. I simply had to get my life back, even if only marginally.
I am still in the recovery stage, just 6 weeks post op, so not sure how much improvement I might end up with. So far, the sac under the left eye appears to be gone where he removed the fat and repositioned my own to smooth it over. A couple of lumps still persist, but are smaller. He reshaped my eyelids and tho not perfect, are somewhat closer to my originals. The revisions on the previous scars are better...less raised and placed where they are not as noticeable. My eyes still look smaller than before the FT, but he did the best he could given the what he had to work with. I am not the same as before FT, but I've done all that is possible near my eyes without further risk. When I recover from this physically & financially, I will still need to address the huge cheeks, but that will have to wait.
The cost of multiple consults, injections, airfare & hotels for multiple trips to CA, and the surgery is now well over $30,000...and I still don't look like myself. The time wasted on trying to fix this can never be regained. But the worst cost of all has been my loss of self-confidence & self-esteem. I am not the same person. I'm not sure if I will ever really except what has happened. Please don't do this to yourself. Read the many reviews with similar results...and by many different PS. The FT procedure is simply too risky. And if it goes bad, there is little hope of a fix...something they don't tell you when you enter into this. If you must do something, stick with temporary fills. They will cost you far less in the long run.
Dr. Chahin was actually very nice up until the situation with the fat transfer procedure went bad. He assured me that any problems could be easily remedied in a follow-up visit. No problem. When that didn't happen, and in fact got worse, his attitude changed. Distant and defensive, both he & his staff continued to deny there was a problem at all. What I found particularly insulting was the charade they put on by insisting that I "looked just great". No other person (friends, family, or physicians) shared that view. For the past 2 years, I've spent over $30,000 trying to have the lumps, scars, & distortion repaired by other PS and am still facing more procedures simply in an effort to look somewhat normal. Adding insult to injury, after repeated requests for my surgical records & pre/post-op photos from Dr. Chahin, they were ultimately sent attached to a lengthy statement that claimed that I had been informed of all the risks of FT (lumping, scarring, & distortion) prior to surgery. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not one of those words was ever mentioned at any time even after I specifically asked what the "downside" could be. Equally disturbing was his inference that I had "unrealistic expectations" on the results. Since I had never heard of Fat Transfer before entering his office, my only expectations were those offered by himself. Before that day, I had no intention of doing anything at all to my face & was there for an entirely different procedure, a breast implant reduction. I was actually quite satisfied with my face using only occasional temporary fillers. The FT was sold by him as a cost & convenience alternative to temporary fills. I "expected" I would look much the same after FT, but only for a longer period of time. Nothing more. At my final appt, I informed him of the numerous complaints I found online & from people experiencing the same problems with FT. I suggested he might consider not continuing to perform such a risky procedure on others given the sheer number of those bad experiences. Instead of concern, he insisted that he had heard of no such complaints & actually continued to extol the virtues of FT. He dismissed the complaints as insignificant & fabricated. Unbelievable, as he was starring directly into my own distorted, puffy, lumpy, scarred result that he himself had done! Up until that point, I was still willing to give him the benefit of doubt that he truly didn't know just how damaging FT could be & how often it occured. I no longer maintain that view & strongly suggest you steer as far away as possible from this procedure & the doctors who indiscriminately use it with little regard for the risk to their patients.