Fat Harvesting Process for "Live" Fat Injections

How is the "live fat" harvested from the patient? How big of a surgical procedure is the fat harvesting and injecting? Is it done with local anthesthetics (sp) or under IV sedation? What about recovery time? Is it more suitable for younger patients than more mature patients? Thank you in advance for clarifying these points.

Doctor Answers 5

Fat injections are great if well done.

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1) Fat injections are very technique sensitive. They have to be done just right. We use local anesthesia with sedation.

2) The fat is gently aspirated from your stomach or thighs. It is prepared to protect live fat cells . Then it is injected in many tiny amounts properly spread out.

3) Recovery is usually 2 weeks, and age is not a factor.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Fat injections with simple harvesting of your own fat

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As many others have already stated, fat injection is a common procedure and combined with many other cosmetic procedures or done entirely on its own.

Cosmetic procedures for facial rejuvenation with fat use many terms. All plastic surgery with placing fat into the face are essentially the same procedure. Terms which may be used for this aesthetic procedure are fat injection, liposculpture, fat transfer, autologous fat grafting, micro fat graft, fat augmentation, and others.

The procedure takes your own fat via liposuction, usually from around the abdomen, and injects it into areas of the face that require volume. Live fat may also be harvested from the hip, legs, and buttocks. Fat should be harvested, processed, and injected with minimal trauma, to allow the fragile fat particles, cells, and living tissue to survive long-term. The fat is injected as tiny particles via a small syringe. Fat is normally injected into the nasolabial folds, tear trough area of the lower eyelid, cheeks, lips, and midface to name a few areas. Fat may also injected into areas of prior surgery, trauma, or scars.

Cosmetic results last several months, and potentially may be permanent. The procedure may be performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation, depending on patient and surgeon preference.

Fat injections may be performed on anyone, young or old. Each patient has unique requirements. Speak with your plastic surgeon to determine if a fat graft procedure is appropriate for you.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Fat harvesting technique for fat transfer

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Usually fat harvesting and transfer is carried out under IV sedation with local anesthesia. The procedure is intended to be done to rejuvenate global facial volume loss, but can be tailored to smaller areas in younger patients.

The procedure can be performed in younger patients or older, but older patients tend to benefit from incisional procedures at the same time. The recovery can vary from about 10 days to 3 weeks depending upon the amount of fat transferred.

Ed Buckingham

Local Anesthesia Works Well

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If you are considering fat injection in the face, most of the time both the donor and recipient areas can be treated with only local anesthesia. For some patients, a light sedation may be used, especially when larger volumes of fat are being moved. As always, talk with your surgeon about your desires and concerns to determine what is best in your particular situation.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fairly straightforward procedure

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Harvesting fat in smaller quantities can easily be done under local anesthesia. IV sedation may be required if harvesting larger amounts to avoid having to use to much local anesthetic which in very large quantities can potentially be dangerous. The major advantage of fat augmentation is that the fat tends to be permanent to some degree, but some does resorb. The problem with fat augmentation is the recovery time is much longer then hyaluronic or similar fillers. That is because you have to overcorrect to achieve a good result and there is more of a potential for bruising and swelling. I like my patients to try a temporary filler first and if they like the result then we consider fat augmentation if they can deal with 2-3 weeks of downtime to allow swelling and bruising to go away. If placing a smaller amount of fat there is less swelling and bruising.

Samson Lee, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.