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Fat Transfer - Gambling with Your Face - California

I really liked my face.In hindsight,the minimal...

I really liked my face.In hindsight,the minimal "refreshing" I wanted was something that at my age should have been done with fillers.

Myth 1) It's non-invasive.I was shocked at my appearance after the procedure and was swollen for months.It invaded my life.

Myth 2) It improves skin texture.For all this stem cell talk,I didn't get it. In addition to the broken capillaries,minor injection site marks and rippling at the doner site,my skin looked stretched and had an orange peel appearance when the swelling finally went down. The $4,000 I'd spent on Total FX 6 months earlier to perfect my skin was a total waste after this procedure. I'm now going through another less invasive round of skin resurfacing.

Myth 3) An unpredictable permanent fat solution is better and more cost-effective than other more predictable fillers.If you're willing to risk the probability of permanent lumps and irregularities then go for it.If you can afford to pay to fix the possibility of problems,then take the risk. If you're prepared to use even more fillers to correct the asymmetry and areas that weren't filled so everything matches, go for it. If you are prepared to never look the same, sign up. If you are convinced you won't gain weight and inflate the unwanted transferred fat - then do it. I wasn't prepared for those things and I am one very sad person who didn't know what I had until it was gone.

Tip 1) Don't go for the most charismatic doctor. Go for the critical perfectionist who seriously discusses the cons and takes the time to analyze your face and it's current imperfections.

Tip 2) Have him/her draw a picture of exactly where the injections will be so you aren't surprised where they end up.

Tip 3) Establish expectations. Ask how long you will be swollen and what constitutes swelling vs. final results. Ask what the plan is if you aren't satisfied with the results.

Tip 4) Look at his/her staff. Do you like what you see? They've often had something done and you may be able to gauge how conservative or extreme the doctor may be.

Tip 5) Don't just fall for "stock" photos or carefully selected picture books.

Please note: I'm just sharing my experience and opinion. Some people may benefit from this procedure.

I've described my process for F/T removal toward...

I've described my process for F/T removal toward the bottom of this review. The process has included 5FU injections, fillers, and Micro-lip. I'm not done yet, but you can get an idea of what this all entails. What you'll find is that fat is easy to stick in, and not so easy to get it out!!

Here's where the story ends: 3 weeks post micro...

Here's where the story ends: 3 weeks post micro lipo and things are going well. As a critical perfectionist, I'll always see the flaws but I'm blessed to have found a skilled Dr. who was able to undo much of the damage. There are some things I have to accept. You can never go back and I'm a year older, the stress has taken it's toll and my once big smile is now tainted with utter fatigue. . ..but it's time to move on. I can at least have a photo taken without looking like someone shoved little sausage links up the side of my nose. I've never publicly announced the Dr. who did this to me. . .the one who took a year off my life and bank account so that he could make a car payment.However,I will confirm that it is Dr. Jonathan Hoenig in LA who has been meticulous in his approach to correcting this. We'll continue with fillers to tweak things and slowly I'm re-entering life. I went out to dinner in my town for the first time in almost a year and held my head up. It was hard, but baby steps. For everyone who comes to this site for hope. . It's there. . .but it doesn't come without patience, research and a price! Good luck everyone.

The Trade-off: I'm about 5 weeks out from my Micro...

The Trade-off: I'm about 5 weeks out from my Micro and I continue to deflate. My doctor did a good job and my contours are coming back, but you all need to know the trade-off. Yes,some things are fixable. However, I've put my face through hell this year. I now have hollows I never had and probably wouldn't have had based on genetics. I also have a lot of slack skin and poor texture. Ironically, I'll need to be filled to fix that. This expectation was completely set going into my micro. You can't inflate and deflate and torture your face for a year without ramification. I look worse than when I started, but better than I did with the improperly placed fat. I go back for assessment in about 3 weeks. Again, if you decide to do this or are thinking of fixing an FT. . .I'm just providing my experience based on my personal choices.

The final step is where I should have started:...

The final step is where I should have started: Almost a year to the date that I basically lost my mind and made the fateful decision to go through with this procedure, I'm looking much, much better. It has been a journey I wouldn't wish on anyone and I've lost a lot along the way. Apparently I was suppose to learn a very important lesson about what happens when you think you have to be perfect. Things can go REALLY, REALLY wrong. All I ever needed was some Restylane. Thousands and thousands of dollars later, I will still always need Restylane:). Remember that when someone promises a permanent solution. . .it may end up being a permanent problem. Are you prepared for that? I feel really lucky to have been fixed to the extent that I've been fixed, but I'll never be perfect. And you no what? After all this, if I'm smart, I'll quit before I gamble my new found winnings away! Please learn from my mistake and be prepared to own your decision - no matter what it is and what the outcome. After all. . .it's your face.

Hi everyone, It seems that everyday someone pops...

Hi everyone,
It seems that everyday someone pops up on this site who is experiencing the first horrible OMG moment following this procedure. Those of us who have been through it know it well and it’s heart-breaking. As the months continue, you will go through all the stages of mourning, including the feeling that all hope is lost. . . The depression, the anger, the denial, the bargaining, and if you’re lucky, you may come to some sort of acceptance.

For any of you following my story, I am a year and a half out from my initial bad Fat Transfer surgery and have gone through a fat removal process that involved the right doctor, 5FU injections, micro-lipo and time. For the most part, this has been successful. I will say that even after the micro, it took about 7 months more for me be able to say that most of the fat is gone.

Every situation is different. Please know that when you decide to go through a Fat Transfer, successful removal is extremely difficult. A perfect return to your original state is almost impossible. If you haven’t gone through this procedure and your Dr. tells you that you need a “refresher” – stick with fillers! FT is not a “refresher” procedure. It is major surgery and recovery – a lot of swelling. If you like the way you look and just want a little something. This is not a “little something.” Stick with fillers. Fat has a place, but not for minor to even “more than minor” tweaking. It has a lot of risk.

Here’s where I’m at now. . . I’m going in for a conservative brow and upper eyelift. When the fat was removed a few things happened: 1) All the initial “minor” issues are back and they are now bigger issues than when I started - with a few more imperfections and irregularities. 2) My skin has sagged some in the temples and eyes where I did have fat injected. The stress, weight loss, age, and some laser damage (in an attempt to address the FT issues) have all contributed to the sag. I have volume loss, but will stick to fillers after the lift. Doing another ‘round of fat would be like me asking you to hit me over the head with a sledge hammer – AGAIN.

Please read below if you want to know more and are trying to decide if this is something you want to consider. Please think twice. This has been an expensive and painful road to travel. I’m probably one of the lucky ones but it will still take a lot of work for my life to ever resemble what it was. So if you do this, do it with eyes wide open.

I’ve most recently been posting on the thread, “Has anyone ever successfully corrected under eye fat transfer?” If you want to learn more, those posters are also well-versed in the cost of personal and financial well-being following this procedure. They also offer some good information.

Plastic Surgery is a slippery slope with no guarantees. If you weren't crazy going in, you may get a little crazy when you come out if things don't go right. .. but you're not alone.

Can you ever be fixed from a botched Fat Transfer?...

Can you ever be fixed from a botched Fat Transfer? One of the things that we all notice on these sites is that it's rare, if not heard of for people to document getting "fixed".

Here are a few of my thoughts:
1) Many people don't find a solution (it's very, very hard)
2) People never come back to report on what they did to get fixed
3) Once you do something like this, your brain has a very hard time reconciling the difference in the mirror and it can take years to get over the "identity crisis" even if you've been somewhat fixed.
4) Even if you are fixed and look good by most standards, you will most likely still never look like your before pictures so it's difficult to feel fixed.

I probably fall into category 4 (I'll explain in the last 2 paragraphs). I just went through a brow/temple lift to hike up what sagged after all the nightmare of injecting and removing and sucking, etc. Dr. Hoenig is a master in this area and it looks great.

Here's are the catches: I still have some of the injected fat in areas that are too risky to try to remove further, and my asymmetrical cheeks look even more asymmetrical now so there are things that are "off" when you compare before and after pictures. My skin has been through hell and looks tired and lifeless and the original cannula marks are there. I used to be known for my pretty skin - even by the office that did the botched job. I never hear that anymore. And all the expensive crap I've tried has just made things worse.

I've been filler free for a while now, so in a month, we will begin the process of playing with fillers to minimize the asymmetry and continue to improve the baseline we now have. Medium TCAs, Tretinoin and Hydroquinone are being used to improve the skin.

Last week I showed my BEFORE FT pictures to a friend - alongside the pictures of me taken 20 months POST my botched Fat Transfer. Again, I've had 5FU, Micro-lipo, and a brow/temple lift throughout the fixing process. I asked her if she would say I was fixed - because I don't know what to tell you all.

She said, "Well, these are both attractive pictures. You were more attractive before, but no one who hasn't seen the before pictures would know what happened. She said I could be described as a twin. There's is a familiarity, but we're not identical." In other words, I have to accept my new reality. I've been relatively successful. If you can accept the fact that you will most likely never look the same after a botched FT, but that you can get a lot of improvement - then you'll be ok. If you hold out chasing the dream of seeing the exact same face again - it's really dependent on how bad the FT was and probably rare if not, almost impossible - even when you work with a great surgeon. There's only so much they can do.

Well, I continue to test my new "fixed" face and...

Well, I continue to test my new "fixed" face and thought this might hit home with a few of you. Like many of you who have been botched - I went into seclusion. I quit dating. I only went out to do errands at night when stores would be empty, or with sunglasses on. I cut out friends, family and anyone who might comment on my altered appearance. I couldn't stand the quizzical look I'd get, or the sympathy look, or even the interactions I didn't enjoy anymore. It was just painful and I felt like I was slowing dying for almost two yrs.

So, I'm 18 days out from my brow/temple lift and I looked in the mirror this morning and said, "Ok, you look as good as it's going to get and it's not horrible." I put on a cute outfit and went to the Starbucks to get some work done. What sounds like a normal thing for most - was a momumental undertaking for the queen of Jackie O glasses.

HOWEVER, my relief quickly turned to the reality. I stopped at the grocery store. Once again, I removed my sunglasses which had been my lifeline for almost 2 years. BAMM!! Within 2 minutes, I ran into someone who hadn't seen me since 6 weeks PRIOR to the Botched Fat Transfer. He didn't know I'd done it and I'd just disappeared from life. He'd known me for years and we'd even dated. He was the guy that always greated me with "Hello Beautiful". Not this time. He did a double take and said, "I didn't recognize you. Is it your hair? Your face looks longer? I'm mean, you look good, but different." I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could and throw-up.

So, there you have it . . . you have to be really strong after this type of disaster. People don't mean to be cruel - they don't know. But, every time you have to face people from your past, you have to face your new reality and be really tough. It is what it is.

BTW: The reason my face looks longer is because...

BTW: The reason my face looks longer is because the original fat transfer was loaded on my inner upper cheek. It also makes my nose look a little broader. Now that I understand this process and have looked at more photos, I see that it is a mistake that quite a few doctors make. They think they are creating cheekbones this way (even if you don't ask for them.) A checkbone should look like a Nike Swoosh and not start so high up and under the eye. It's very unnatural looking.

So, the last part of my 15-month repair journey...

So, the last part of my 15-month repair journey was to have everything filled back up again with Restylane and it looks really good - temples, lateral brow, cheeks, under eye. That, with the brow/temple lift, has made a huge difference.

I hadn't had any fillers in about 10 months and about 17 months in cheeks, temples, etc. I have such a thin face that it was getting distressing to see all the hollows. In theory - the fat was a good idea. In practice - it was a nightmare. Bad original surgeon, bad technique, horrible outcome and two years of my life down the tubes. All I ever needed was a one syringe of filler for my face in the first place - MAX. For what it's cost me to fix this mess - I could have had fillers in my face a couple times a year for the next 10 years (NO EXAGGERATION).

That said, what's done is done. What a difference the right injector can make. The right Doctor knows exactly where to put everything so you look symmetrical and NORMAL. He or she takes the time to make the filler go as far as it can. A little here, a little there. . NOT a big blop in one cheek and then open another syringe!

Next, I have to fix my skin that was damaged between the swelling from the FT and the laser work. I'm interviewing Doctors now and taking this very slowly. There is no room for error here. I've learned the hard way that patience is the name of this game.

READ ME: Which brings me to my last point. . . IF YOU HAVE BEEN DAMAGED by any cosmetic procedure. Please, please take a deep breath. This is not a sprint, it takes a lot of time and patience to fix this. I know you are in dispair and I know you want to get this fixed because you think you want to die. . .but do NOT rush into having ANYTHING done. It will only MAKE THINGS WORSE and harder to correct.

You are in the information gathering stage at this point. Do not let every doctor you go to do something else. If the original doctor says he'll fix it - wait 'til you get a second opinion. You are not in a great decision-making place and you need to find the BEST solution. You get one real shot at the revision - make sure you find the absolute best Doctor out there. You can only find him or her by doing a lot of research and going to several consultations. I know it's costly. It sucks. I've been there - but please learn from all my mistakes.

Laser/IPL Damage The Possible Cause of Poor Fat...

Laser/IPL Damage The Possible Cause of Poor Fat Take!
WOW, I just has my skin analyzed by a doctor who had one of those machines that can digitally show skin damage. I told him that I was pretty sure I'd been damaged by an overly agressive tech using an ALMA photofacial machine about 6 weeks prior to my original FT. (Keep in mind - the place I went to for the photofacial was recommended by the original Plastic Surgeon's office!) The derm asked why I thought I had been damaged and I explained. We looked at the image and he showed me where the damage (square-like scars) was and explained that the area had clearly experienced devascularization. My mind was racing.

Devascularization is loss of the blood supply to a bodily part due to destruction or obstruction of blood vessels!!! In other words, it is highly probably that this area would struggle to "take" the fat - and in fact, it didn't take on that portion of my face. Studies have been weak in regards to the corrolation between laser/laser-like devices and fat transfer - before or after. Again, buyer beware. Though photofacial is not a laser - damage is damage and I don't think most people know what these machines do.

Now - this is by no means the only issue I had with the fat. It was lumpy and placed incorrectly - and you know the story; however, this is certainly another piece of the puzzle. I'd told the patient coordinator at the office about my experience prior to the procedure. 1) I should have been educated about not having ANYTHING done prior to procedure 2) There was no concern about the fact that I thought I'd been burned. In fact, she told me, she had only heard of there being problems with people having "laser" work done after a Fat Transfer and 3) I'm thinking that people undergoing this kind of stuff should not have any laser work done before or after for quite a long period of time, and be evaluated if they have.

I'm pretty sure my doctor had no idea what he was doing - so him and his staff wouldn't know any different. However, this should seem fairly obvious to someone who is suppose to understand how a Fat Transfer works. What do I know.

My curiosity is - if these image machines are available and can show areas of poor supply - which is an important part of a successful transfer - why don't doctors who are performing these procedures have the machines - or do better job of educating people of these risks? UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Perhaps this is just another hypothesis on my part. . . but it's as good as any I've heard so far.

Hi everyone, It's been 2 years and 3 months...

Hi everyone,

It's been 2 years and 3 months since the original transfer. Many of you have read all the events that have followed. There are so many emotional phases throughout this process. My goal has been to eventually accept what it is and continue to move forward. I don't feel the same way about myself - as I did before the surgery. I'm trying to learn to focus on other things outside my appearance and trying hard to stop wondering what other's see, and trying very hard to stop constantly thinking about how I look every every minute of every day in every interaction . . . .In time, some things do start to fade and the loss you feel may start to subside - particular if you have had some amount of help in revision. You realize you have to survive somehow. I read somewhere that the best curve on a woman is her smile. Instead of being pretty girl. . .I'm trying hard to be the girl with personality :). No one wants to hear about how I messed up my face. . .but it's amazing how people respond to a smile. It's work, but it does work.

So here's my latest tip. When I had my original surgery, the fat right under my eye and near my nose took too well. The outer - not so much and the temples where I was started to need it - nadda!!! The result was a rather ghoulish affect that I've seen others comment about. I have a longer, oval face and due to all the stress and desire to prevent the fat from growing, I kept my weight too low for too long. Unfortunately, this compounded the problem because my temples basically caved in. It's hard to redistribute fat in the temple area once it's gone. So, I had all this fat under my eye and nothing around it.

I just had Radiesse injected into my temples and it has really helped balance my face and offset the injected fat. It also help lift my outer eyes a bit so they look more familiar. Nothing's perfect, but it's amazing how a small change somewhere can impact things so much somewhere else - for better or for worse! Continued well wishes to everyone who is looking at cosmetic intervention. . .and anyone who has found their lives turned upside down by cosmetic interruption!
Name not provided

This doctor has a handful of followers who post on blogs. One person comments regularly and hasn't had the procedure done. This doctor may be a good doctor. Things didn't work out for me. I can say that expectations weren't set as far as swelling.Apparently a lot of people like to be swollen.I'm very small, so the swelling was very, very pronounced.The risks weren't discussed as even a possibility.I thought I was improving the lower outside area of my eyes. There was apparently a communication error because I was told after the fact that we were shooting for stronger cheekbones and that I would be thankful in the coming years because my face wouldn't cave in.Frankly,those two things weren't even on my radar.I also don't think that stronger cheekbones include little sausage-like links that run from my inner eye down my nose.My face looks longer.Juvederm was injected (and not molded) right under my eye. This attempt at correcting things made me swell like I'd eaten a year's worth of salt. I was told that I sounded crazy. I'm a little over-the-top, but I do have an over average IQ and 20/25 vision. Some may say you have to be a little self-critical to go plastic anyway. I also got a couple other professional opinions that I sought without mentioning my areas of concern.Everyone needs to do what's best for them and for some,this may be the answer. This was definitely not the best answer for me and no one has said I look better.

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This is quite a long post and can't really find the beginning. I was looking under Fat Transfer Gone Wrong. I had fat transfer into my upper lip over 13 years ago. I still have lumps OVER my top lip. It has ruined my smile. =( I need help in finding a doctor to remove this. I've searched for years....any tips or leads? Thanks.
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mpharo4249...the review is long because she is sharing her experience over a period of years. It is helpful for those of us who have run into similar problems. Just scroll up on the page & you'll find the beginning of her review. Really wish I could help with a lead or tip for your problem, but I've been following these reviews for years, and as of yet, I haven't heard of anyone who has successfully had their lips fixed yet after a bad FT. The eyes are also a difficult area to repair though a few of us have some small measure of improvement with surgery. I've had 3 different surgeons tell me that FT should never be used for the eyes and lips because if it goes bad, there isn't much recourse. At least not yet. Eventually someone really must come up with a solution as there are many of us having to deal with the aftermath of inferior results in these areas, but unfortunately, for now, the "fix" remains elusive.
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You might want to have a consultation with Dr. Val Lambros in Southern California. Although I know he does liposuction for fat transfer to the cheek area, I'm not sure if he also works on the lips, but it is worth a try. Sending you good energy and hoping you find a skilled surgeon who can help! Ruz
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Thanks, Ruz. I appreciate the reply and the good energy. =)
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What about that doctor in Long Beach ? I can't remember his name ?
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Try dr Lambros in Newport Beach. He fixed my bad fat grafting with wonderful results. He is extremely knowledgable in regards to fixing and removing bad fat grating.
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I too had a blotched fat transfer in my mid-cheeks 10 years ago and had laser done either a few days before or a few days after. Can't remember exactly which. I was overfilled, which is what is normally done, because most of the fat is supposed to be absorbed. It's been 10 years and hardly and very very little has been absorbed. It just sits there permanently like 2 hard balls. Although my right cheek has more than the other which makes me look strange. So there has to be a connection with FT and laser. Unbelievable!
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Still makes me tear.. you should be a writer or a blogger (if your not already)
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I didn't see the comments and don't know what happened, but anyone who says anything bad about GFGB will face a firewall of fury on this site. That girl had a bad event and turned around to help many so people like me who went through the same thing, and I think she is pretty awesome.
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Filler queen, couldn't agree more. GFGB was the first person I met on here after I was devastasted by a bad result myself. I was a mental wreck and she was gracious & kind enough to take the time to talk me thru what I can only describe as one of the worst experiences of my life. She's helped so many here the same way. She took a really bad situation & managed to turn it around into something positive by helping others. I will always be grateful to her...and I'm know that many others feel the same way. Yep, she's pretty awesome.
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Amen!!!!! GFGB was the first one that reached out to me, and her support was crucial in helping me deal with my situation. RedRoxie was another person who provided encouragement and wise words in a time when everything looked grim.
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It is terrible to read about the people who have had less than ideal, and in some cases awful results with fat transfer. In the right hands, on the right patient, the results are natural, beautiful and lasting. It used to be that "bad" facial plastic surgery was characterized by people with hollows above and below the eyes and windswept cheeks. I have done a lot of fat grafting to correct those results. The new trend in "bad" plastic surgery are faces stuffed full of fat, silicone, volume or some other kind of filler. It makes people look bizarre and unnatural. With the transfer of any living material, whether it is fat grafting or the grafting of solid tissue like dermis/fat or fascia/fat, it is intended that some of the transferred material gets revascularized and survives. The majority of the transferred living tissue that does not get revascularized is broken down by the body's natural scavenger cell system. Meticulous surgical technique, patience and attention to detail are required on the part of the surgeon to maximize the proportion of the grafted tissue that persists as living tissue, regardless of what type of tissue the surgeon is transferring. I have seen no cases of palpable oil cysts or chronic inflammation in any patient for whom I have performed structural fat grafting, and have had no cases of postoperative infection. As with any cosmetic surgery, meticulous technique and attention to detail on the part of the surgeon can produce beautiful, natural-appearing results - whether it's a facelift or fat grafting or a breast augmentation. In the right hands, structural fat grafting of the lower lid / cheek junction can produce a natural-appearing, and youthful contour. In inexperienced or impatient hands the result can be lumpy and even disfiguring. So make sure that the surgeon you are seeing is board-certified, has a lot of experience with fat grafting, and can show you photographic examples of the surgery in which you are interested. The lower lid / cheek junction is a challenging area, as the skin is thin and the orbital rim (bone) is immediately below. So there is less margin for error compared to thicker soft tissue areas like the cheeks and jawline. It is certainly not an area for a surgeon to start with if he/she is just learning fat grafting surgery. With lower lids a surgeon cannot afford to 'overdo' it, for if you overfill this area (because you expect that some of the fat will not persist) you may be left with excessive fatty fullness if most or all of the fat survives. So when treating this area I feel it is critical to add fat up to the point where the contour looks ideal, then stop. If most of the fat survives, great; if it does not then you come back 3 to 4 months later and add some more (by 3-4 months any non-vascularized fat has been reabsorbed). I let all patients having lower lid / cheek fat grafting know that there is a pretty good chance that they will need/want a secondary fat grafting procedure to enhance the result in this area. I have never regretted taking a cautious and conservative approach with this area. For any of you who have experienced unfavorable results with fat grafting, there are plastic surgeons who can help you. Take your time in your search and ask a lot of questions. Start by looking at lots and lots of before and after photos. For those considering fat grafting, you came to a great place for information. There is much to learn from the people who share their stories and from physicians sharing their knowledge.
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What a great response. I was starting to give up on the idea of fat grafting. Living in Palm Beach County I should be able to find a capable surgeon. Thx.
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All of us thought we were going to capable surgeons. All of us believed what they told us as experts in the field. All of us were told there was no risk and it was a safe procedure. As laymen we trusted that our medical doctor were telling us the truth & they were properly trained and knew what they were doing. I felt very confident with my choice...until the terrible results told me otherwise. There is no way to predict if your choice is good or bad until you see the results. Knowing what I know now about how risky this procedure is, I would never again consider it or recommend it for anyone. I went to a very expensive, Beverly Hills physician with a good reputation, but the FT went terribly wrong. And I am far from being alone. The reality is there are no guarantees and you are risking destroying your face for the rest of your life. That of course is your choice, but you should understand the risks and realize that once it goes wrong, they are few options for a fix & none where you ever be able to get back to looking like you did before. I am sure Dr. Law means well & may in fact be very successful at using FT, but I heard the exact same assurances from my doctor yet ended up with disasterous results. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but there is no doubt it didn't go well, for me or obviously for many other women who heard the same assurances from their doctors. Anyone who makes the decision to go thru with this procedure, knowing the risks, should also be prepared to accept a major change in their lives if it doesn't go well & plan accordingly. It's a nightmare you won't be able to wake up from.
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I'm sorry I haven't followed the full thread so I'm not aware of what has gone so wrong. We're you over filled? Can more go wrong outside of too much fat being transferred? If a doctor is very conservative in the amount of fat transferred what else could go wrong? I'm so mixed over all of this. I'm also afraid of fillers, what if I have a bad reaction? Also doesn't the body try to reject it? Sounds like you saw who you thought was a skilled doctor. Then again, I did see photos of fat injected celebrities who look like chipmunks and I'd think they go to the best.
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Hi Mary1Florida. Several things happened. Yes, I was overfilled (about 40cc). I'm a petite, small-boned woman, 5'4, 107lbs, who had a thin, angular face with high cheek bones. Given that, the amount of fat injected was especially excessive for my face/frame & I ended up with other docs described as a "moon-face". No definition or refinement to my features remained at all. I was told by the original PS, that it would go down over time, and some of it did, but it did so unevenly so one side of my face looks noticably different then the other. But the worst part is what happened to my eyes. To this day, I have no idea why he even went near my eyes. It wasn't discussed in the pre op. They looked fine & have always been my best asset. After the FT, my once large eyes basically disappeared & looked like pinholes. My left eye no longer closed all the way (still doesn't). I no longer had a crease that normally creates the upper eyelid (he filled it in) and there were several hard lumps along my browbone. Under the right eye, a mass of soft fat formed a large sac between my lower eye rim & above my upper cheek. Hard to describe all of it, but in brief, I aged about 10 years overnight. After 4 months, the same PS tried to recreate a crease by making an incision in the added fat where it was before. It didn't go well & my eyes ended up with a different contour & now with a visible scar. I still had excess fat above and below the incision. A different PS revised the scars, but wasn't able to get rid of all the hard lumps without risking my vision &/or causing more scars. He was able to surgically remove the sac under the right eye, but it was impossible to get my eyes back to my normal without further risk. It also, unavoidably, took some of my own fat so I have a dark shadow under that eye, but at least I can hide it with concealer. I hope that if you do decide to go ahead with FT, that at the very least you will not let anyone near your eyes with FT. The tissue is simply too thin & delicate to remove the fat if you are overfilled. Before the FT, I used temporary fillers for several years without a problem. It looked much more natural & I knew that if I didn't like the way it looked, the filler would be absorbed on it's own. Your body doesn't "reject" it, it just gets absorbed. FT was sold to me as a convenient & cost saving alternative to fillers. But for the cost of trying to repair the damage ($30,000 so far), I could have had temp fillers for the rest of my life with far less trauma. I know there are risks to all types of cosmetic procedures, but IMHO the risks are far less with temporary fills. I also found that the longer I used temps, the longer they lasted. Initially they only lasted 3-4 months, but later I only had to refill once a year using only one tube of product. If you decide on trying temp fillers, I suggest just having one small area done to test it out. If it goes well, you can always add more. If not, then at least you won't have to deal with a situation that can't be repaired. Just a thought.
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wow your responses are always so thorough notsogood. I love it because your cohesive, intelligent way of speaking on this matter enables others to find a voice. It really is hard to stand up for yourself against doctors (whom I have always considered authority figures who can do no wrong) especially in matters of appearance. You aren't some crazy woman or obsessed patient that a doctor can just write off as "one bad apple." There is absolutely something going on that is wrong here, in that I am hearing that too few people were warned of what could happen and TOO MANY DOCTORS are practicing cosmetic surgery when they should be focusing on another area entirely. Personally, if I did a bad job at something, I wouldnt continue to do it. I'd do something else out of self-respect. Each face is a piece of art, and you shouldn't be an artist just because you have a medical degree. I don't remember or know who your doctor was but i am curious about how doctors pass boards and go through the horrors of medical school which is very hard and then end up making such monumental mistakes -- I mean, c'mon, shoving a ton of fat into a thin girl's face is never going to look natural and therefore aesthetically good. That's just common sense, no med school needed to know that you need to adjust a procedure to fit the patient, not do the same exact thing to every single person. That's what beauty and looks are about, in that we are ALL individuals and going against what looks "real" can never, EVER work. So I am curious about who has taught all these docs that you need to overfill like this, and also what happens down the line when the fat dissipates over the years and what does the grafted fat look like much later? Why do some patients go on and on about their flawless skin from fat and how great it all looks from the procedure while others have literally the opposite result? How can the same procedure have such vastly different results? I wonder what is being done differently. But you say it's luck -- like even if the doctor does everything "right," it's all up to chance? Forget it then, I don't gamble.
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Thanks Nadiahoney. Just FYI, I didn't know it at the time of my FT, but I have since learned that some, if not all, of the docs who overfill use a technique called the "Coleman technique" after the doc who invented it, Dr. Sydney Coleman. I found that out after I read the surgery notes that I requested from the surgeon who did my FT, notes that I could show my revision doctors to explain what had been done previously. Since then, I've learned from several other people here that I've talked to, who were overfilled like myself, had PS who also used that method. I have also read that there have been a number of lawsuits brought against Dr. Coleman by patients who were obviously quite unhappy with their results as well. I was never able to find out if any of them prevailed or not. But just last year I saw a video on youtube by Dr. Coleman so apparently he is still in practice and is still teaching his method to other plastic surgeons. Something I truly find disturbing. I don't know how many are still using his technique, but I'm guessing many still are or something close to it. I recall at my first post op after the FT, my PS was actually quite pleased about the copious amount of fat he was able to cram into my face....like it was a really good thing & that it somehow meant I was supposed to feel fortunate that he was able to do so. At the time, it didn't mean anything to me, I was still reeling from the shock of how horrific I looked. It wasn't till much later that I realized what a disaster that supposed "success" would turn out to be. Maybe less PS are using the overfill method now, maybe more, I don't know. But if anyone is still considering risking FT, I would strongly recommend asking if they are using the "Coleman Technique", and if they say yes, I would suggest running out the door as fast as your little legs can carry you.
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Wow, I'm sorry to hear the extent of the damage. I always get nervous signing the waiver stating results may vary per person. It allows the doctor to make mistakes.
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I think Dr. Law made a good point. The doctor has to have a lot of experience in the area. When I decided to have my eye bags treated I went to a board certified ps who specializes only in eyes. I don't trust ps that do everything. I think i read on real self some where that doctors who do it all are McDonald doctors. Btw the doctor I went to is not a proponent of fat transfer.
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I agree with you Mary, the doctor does have to have a lot of experience in it and also, must be conservative in their approach. They must always be upfront and say they will only put in the amount needed (and tell you what that amount is), and then you may have to come back for more. Charging per syringe is a no-no as well because they will put in more to make more money. It's a bit weird to "charge" for your own fat as well. With that beingsaid, I looked at my doctor's B&A pics and frankly they all looked very good as far as fat grafting went. There was even one woman who looked like me (long, thin face) and her result was fabulous. Yet I had an absolute overfill disaster with him. One thing i didn't ask enough about was how the fat grafting would be done. I also didn't see any pics of those patients smiling (they might have looked funny). In hindsight, the planning stage was very hurried (just drew a couple of circles on my face which took about 1 min) and he didn't talk about how he processed the fat or what instruments/amount he was going to use. I just trusted him with the "technical" bits, but this will make or break the result.
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You cannot trust pictures. I've seen the same ones used on different doctor websites. Also, they only show you the good results. The thought of pumping in more fat for extra cash makes my skin crawl. That goes against the hippocratic oath. A woman's looks are so important and to show such disregard in unconscionable.
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Before I had fat grafting (and certainly before I joined Realself), I literally had no idea that there ever existed a trend for either over pulling or overfilling in the first place. I also had no idea that fat grafting existed. One thing that is not realised is that in certain cultures having a very thin face with small features is the gold standard of beauty, not the overfilled face - that is actually the biggest plastic surgery no-no where I live. I assumed that the round faces or huge cheekbones on celebrities were a result of migrating silicone injections, or people who wanted to look strange on purpose (like the cat lady). I am not from the United States, which is where I had the fat grafted, and had never seen an "overfilled" face in person. What I was told is that it's "your own natural tissue", "has stem cells", and can't migrate. It sounded great to me. I also thought that if I made sure to be specific (like in my case I wanted to make one cheek match the other better and get rid of 2 specific hollows) then I would be fine. I also thought that the volume would be injected deep, which was the whole point of getting fat over Restylane. Now, there are fat "clouds" ontop of my face and my skin feels plastic and seems to pull in all the wrong directions. I actually look like a victim of bad facial implants or like some kind of plastic surgery afflicted drug addict, a look that the fat grafting was supposed to avoid! To me, fat was the thing that sounded the least "plastic" - the surgeon told me how all the fillers where I came from were bad and oh, don't go and get one of those. Well, at least I would have been able to have it removed if I had done. Fat is far more difficult to remove than the permanent gel fillers, despite the risks of infection they carry. The point is - you can get rid of it. Fat can also be equally (if not more) disfiguring considering they tend to overfull everywhere, which kind of defeats the point of using a filler that stays in its place and doesn't migrate. No-one needs to be overfilled like we were. It makes absolutely no logical sense to do it.
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I guess if you can't trust pics then there's not much left to trust. I just think maybe in some cases they don't take the time to really analyse faces or have a very rigid idea about what looks good and apply it in every circumstance. It is impossible to know how many people are unhappy with fat grafting but there sure seems to be a lot on here. Seems to be a better filler for brazilian butt lifting and things like that - it's just too heavy and thick for (my) face at least.
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well at least you guys don't naturally have a too long face as I always have had. It sucks! Not much you can do without shaving bone. I never got to be that "pretty" girl, so I don't know why I don't just accept it by now. But at least I don't want to get way worse looking! One thing I don't get: why do people want to fill beneath the eyes? Are hollows considered that bad or am I not understanding the exact place? I don't know that i mind my deep hollows -- not much I can do -- and big deal if that area is a bit sunken, I have seen many beautiful women who aren't all full beneath the eyes. but I don't like how FLAT the sides of my face are, so thin and narrow. I would want it all widened and softened, but avoid beneath the eyes since it's so tough to fix anyway. That is IF fat transfer ever got more predictable. Or can this be done better with implants? Seems like implants would also look unnatural and strange and could have their own awful set of problems. Was there anyone on here who was trying to look more natural and considered implants?
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