What causes fat necrosis?

I am going to have a tummy tuck and a breast lift and unfortunately seen people with fat necrosis ;( which made me really nervous. How can you prevent fat necrosis? Ps I don't smoke

Doctor Answers 4

Fat Necrosis

hi There 
Thanks for your question. Fat tissue or adipocytes are exquisitely sensitive to any ischemia or blood supply disruption. When either their cell wall integrity is disrupted or they lose blood supply, fat necrosis often ensues. Hope this helps. Good luck 

Sydney Plastic Surgeon
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Fat necrosis

Being a non smoker is a good way to start. Fat necrosis is simply areas of fat which do not have enough blood supply to live and die creating hard spots clinically. You are likely confusing fat necrosis with some skin/wound breakdown necrosis which can occur from either a tummy tuck or breast lift procedure. Your surgeon can discuss this in further detail during your pre-op evaluation.

What causes fat necrosis?

Thank you for the question. Fat necrosis refers to the process where adipose tissue does not receive enough blood supply, leading to death of the fat cells.  Clinically, this may present as firm tissue and/or drainage (often with a foul odor).

 The fat necrosis process can be seen after operations  that involve mobilization of tissue;  when tissues are "mobilized", their blood supply can be compromised.  Typically, these types of concerns can be seen with tummy tuck, breast reduction, breast lifting surgery… You are correct in that  factors such as nicotine use may contribute to decreased blood flow.

 There are certain patients (for example overweight patients), based on their initial anatomic starting points, that may be at higher risk. Your plastic surgeon will be able to help you with more specifics.   Best wishes.

What causes fat necrosis?

I have not observed fat necrosis after breast lift or tummy tuck.  Fat necrosis tends to be more common in fat transfer procedures, though this is still a small rate.Kenneth Hughes, MDLos Angeles, CA

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.