How common is Calcification after fat transfer? Should I be concerned?

I had a fat transfer in February- and at this point I am worried about certain things that I did not know at the time I got my transfer. I had fat into my forehead, cheeks and nasolabial folds. My surgeon used a 18 gauge needle. Now I'm afraid I will have calcification- I never heard about this until recently. How common is this after fat transfer? I have no idea which method my dr used and not qualified to make judgement. I also heard that it can cause blindness!! Can somebody please answer me?

Doctor Answers 3

Fat Transfer to the face

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Fat transfer to the face is very delicate experience intensive procedure. All measures must be taken to minimize the risks. Each plastic surgeon has his/her own method of harvesting the fat, preparing the fat and injecting the fat to minimize the risks of fat transfer.
For the face the fat is harvested through a small cannula, 2-3 mm. fat cleaned and centrifuged to get the pure  fat. The fat in injected using a blunt cannula to minimize the risk of injecting into a blood vessel. one of that fat will not take and may form micro calcifications, in rare cases a major calcification. That depends on the technique used. These micro calcifications will not cause problems in the face, major calcifications cause hard lumps. The use of cannula for injection of fat , and to that fact all fillers, with side opening decreases the risk of injecting into a blood vessel and that can cause disastrous complications.
Fat transfer is an art and a science, and require understanding of the fat compartments of the face and the complex anatomy of the face.
Samir Shureih MD. FACS

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Calcification rare

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Calcification is quite rare, and even if it happens, unlikely to have a cosmetically adverse outcome. Though the opening to inject the fat is often made with an 18 gauge needle, the actual injection of the fat was likely done with a blunt cannula to minimize risk of injection to a blood vessel. And as others have suggested, the incredibly rare risk of blindness with fat injection is present only at the time of surgery, not days or weeks later.

Allow your body to heal. 3-4 months after surgery is when you should have a good idea regarding the final results.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Fat transfer and calcification

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It is pretty unusual to see calcification after a fat transfer.  That occurs more commonly after liposuction where some of the fat is damaged and can then calcify.  And if you were going to get blindness, which can occur, it would already have happened.  So relax and let yourself heal - you are still very early in the healing phase.    

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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.