Fat Transfer to Face - Austin, TX 1-12-15

I have always had a pretty face with very large...

I have always had a pretty face with very large cheeks. I love my smile, my eyes. As I age I notice that I am getting hollows under my eyes. With makeup, these hollows become more pronounced. Lately, I've had some people comment that I look tired. I researched fat transfer to face here on RS and read some pretty good reviews and seen very good results.

I told Dr. Chike-Obi that I was concerned of how "cadaverous" my face is becoming with age, and since I was getting lipo done, would he be able to do a fat transfer to fill in my face with some of the fat that is pulled? He said sure. "It would help."

I really thought that I would look a lot better and I don't. Before the surgery, at the preop meeting a week before, I had shown him a picture of J-Lo. Her face has definetely had a couple of procedures, and the disappearance of her under eye circles (hollows) is incredible. He laughed and said it was photo shop. I should have taken that as a big red flag. I really thought he was joking! I have seen some beautiful and really well done fat transfer to face transformations here on RS, so I know it is possible! He did such and incredible job on my breasts (BA last year) I really thought he was being completely humble.

I honestly had no idea what to expect, other than that fat would me injected around the areas I want improved. One review I read by a doctor describing what he does told of very small injections. Okay, I thought to myself. I could deal with that.

Now, a month and a half post op I now have a crooked face, huge huge huge and ugly cheeks, and no improvement what so ever of the hollows under my eyes. Perhaps, they are even worse since my cheeks are so pronounced? I really am upset. My left laugh line is half as long as my right, whereas they were completely even before. My left under eye hollow has a horrible wrinkle in it and both hollows seem more pronounced than ever. My right cheek ridge is higher than my left one. My face is now crooked.

The procedure for the fat transfer:
I was punctured about a dozen times throughout my face, and cheeks with numbing fluid prior to the lipo. to my thighs. After the lipo was performed the fat injections to my face started. They freakin' hurt! Every squirt of fat felt like a bullet going in under my skin, and a marble was left behind. I remember reaching up to my right cheek during the procedure at one point, after a yelp. The Dr. seemed to pretty much stop after that. Because I had smart lipo performed before the fat graft, I was still wearing the adhesive eye protectors. I was blind.

The injections were started from my chin and jaw line, and with a very long needle, the fat was inserted up along my high cheek bones under the cheek fat pad vertically upward. No where else. I felt every puncture and every squirt. Two stitches, one on each side of my mouth at my jaw line, were done up, and my head was bandaged.

My face swelled up so bad, especially my cheeks, I couldn't stop biting the inside of my face every time I closed my mouth. The next day at followup I showed the Dr. the inside of my mouth. The horrid inner cheek bite marks and swelling. He didn't seem to care. He was too busy checking out my thigh lipo.

I was pretty frustrated with that follow up, and even more so with the 3 week follow up. He didn't even look at my face. I asked him about my eyes. I told him that I had wanted the under eye circles / hollows improved and he just said something about my tear troughs are improved. First, I haven't a clue what tear troughs are. Second, he did not in any way tell me how this fat transfer will improve, or if it will improve with time. Third, he reminded me that most of the fat will be absorbed and the swelling will go down, but it will take months.

I really think this plastic surgeon is much better suited at breasts and lipo. Face stuff is not his forte. And I feel like I wasted $1500 I did not have. I really trusted my PS to give me a noticeable good result, and with no favorable result at all my husband is pissed at me and told me that I should not trust this place ever again.

So what did I do next? I asked to see the nurse who does the facials and lasering. I bought a package of laser treatments to clear up my skin, tighten the collagen, and primarily to brighten my skin by removing redness and the small red capillaries all over my nose and cheeks. My husband doesn't even know.

The first thing I did when I saw her was ask her if the lasering would melt or reduce the fat grafted to my face. She assured me that it will not. I told her I did the fat graft to the face to reduce the hollows under my eyes. She replied with a bunch of BS about how "much better" and "how much improved my tear troughs are". WTH? She had never met me prior, never seen my before pictures that are in my Dr.'s files.... So, I had been had. She just gave me a couple of lies to try to make me feel better. How would she know that the fat transfer did anything, or that I have favorable results in the area I was concerned about the most?

At this point I still feel a line of marbles along the cheek bone ridge under the skin on each side of my face. It took 4 weeks of sleeping face up before I could turn my head to the side without pain. The lipo. pain had been gone from my legs by week 3, so I was dying to sleep on my side like I normally do. Even now, laying my head on my side on the pillow is a discomfort. My face, especially my cheeks, are very tender to the touch.

I really hope that at my next followup the PS will do some comparison pictures. I need to know what I am looking at!

For the $, seeing how others have paid as little as $400 as an "add on procedure", I feel ripped off. I was definitely over charged for an add on face fat graft.

I had already paid for my lipo, and was already scheduled for it in the fabulous and convenient operating suite at the downtown Westlake surgery center, but the PS bumped my operation to an earlier start time to accommodate the added fat graft. They added an hour, but the fat graft couldn't have lasted more than 5 minutes it felt like at the time.

Overall, as much talent that Dr. Chike-Obe has with other plastic surgery procedures, I can't believe how bad this one turned out. It's not like he ruined my face completely, but it is noticeably crooked and my cheeks are much bigger. I feel uglier and think this was a bad decision. I have no idea how my face could even be fixed.

2 months post op, followed up yesterday

So the Dr. says that we really can't tell what the final results will be until at least another 4 weeks. I will see him again then and we will discuss options and where I'm at. Pictures will be taken and we will compare before and after shots.

He did say that, when my face moved and as I was speaking, he could tell minor imperfections in the right side of my face compared to my left. I pointed out the larger R side smile line and the larger L side under eye hollow - what is referred to as the tear trough.

I asked exactly what he did that proceedure. He explained that his technique for a longer lasting fat graft is to use an extremely small cannulae needle (but long) to insert a line of fat in three areas.
The first area was under the eyes at the cheek bones, not in the hollows. He did 5.5ccs under each eye. The second area was the smile lines with about 2 ccs each, and the third area was at the corners of my mouth in the chin with 3.5 ccs each side.

You can not tell at all that I had any fat inserted at the chin. That should have been much more! The smile lines, well, the left is much better looking than the right. The cheeks...I almost broke down and cried when I told him that I wanted the eye hollows not my huge and ugly cheeks. I hate my cheeks. Now they are huge.

He says that I'm still a bit swollen. We will see. He was very nice, informative, and compassionate yet - as always - professional.

It does still hurt to let my face touch my pillow at night. The R cheek is more swollen than the L one, so hopefully that means it's just swelling (not a marble/lump) that will disappear in a month.

Overall, the Dr. said that fat transfers are supposed to be performed as a series. I didn't know that.

so far... swelling down.

Now that the swelling is reduced, probably completely down, my cheeks have flattened out along the sides nicely, but horribly over protrude at the check bone crest. It still is too painful for me to lay my cheek on my pillow at night. I sleep face up. Very uncomfortable.

The chin looks good, the smile lines look okay. The left smile line is shorter than the right one. When I talk and move my face the right smile line is extremely noticeable. The left one not so much. The left smile like looks twenty years younger than the right side.

I think touching the face should only be done by an expert. I see know why so many celebrities do 5 - 12 itty bitty fat grafts over years and years at a time, versus what I experienced. My PS told me this fact AFTER my fat transfer to face.

My under eye hollows - what I wanted improved or filled in and to disappear - are actually worse.

Don't touch your face. Unless you have $20k to blow and years of itty bitty fills by an experienced PS to do them. I regret doing this and feel like my cheeks are too big and clownish. I feel so ugly now!

pictures of before and after - using Angelina

Explanation of what I experienced.

crap, I wish I had read this:

http://www.realself.com/review/los-angeles-fat-transfer-seeking-removal-bad-experience-fat-facts-hope-future

And I forgot to mention all of the insane broken capillaries throughout my cheeks! I was not warned that my face would turn red with broken capillaries! I am seeking laser treatments for it, but after two so far NOTHING is changing.

The PS did not mention that my face would turn red, and that broken veins and capillaries would appear everywhere!

cheek

Yes, the capillaries are still here, and two of four $1500 laser facials to get rid of them is not working! I think the laser treatments need to be more aggressive! I will mention this at my next laser appointment. The tech wants to take pictures and compare. Last time I went in I complained big time!

I have had cherry hemangiomas removed by my dermatologist in one session about 7 years ago. They were on my chest and arms. Zap, turned black, scabbed, fell off and left perfect skin. This is what is supposed to happen to the capillaries in my face. But it's not happening.

This picture shows the large, newly formed after the fat graft, capillaries in my cheek. It also shows how the under eye hollow is still there (actually worse!), and how my cheek protrudes outward from my face like the Joker. Unnaturally. I was never told that my face shape would change. I was never told that the PS would alter the shape of my face!

Sorry my phone's camera doesn't have a fine, macro setting. This was the best I could do.

laser removed my capillaries

I went to alla moda med spa in Austin TX and had a consult with the laser geeks there. These two spa owners are the top laser gurus in this city. They train and certify others at a med school.

I showed them my concerns. For $150 they told me that the proper wavelength will immedietely collapse and make all capillaries disappear. If the laser technitian at Westlake Dermatology is not giving me immediate results she must be either incompetent or a rip off artist! Then, they lasered some spots on my arms to prove their point.

4 days later I had my 3:4 lasering appt. with Amber at Westlake Dermatology. I told her how I had a paid session with the top laser tech. instructors here in Austin and what they taught me. Amber became defensive but said she would give me results. She took pictures of my cheeks, did the laser procedure to remove the capillaries and redness, and then took followup pictures. The results were immediate. So, that proves that Amber at Westlake is a rip off artist. I paid $1500 for four sessions and only needed one. ARRRRRRRRRRRG. Her defense was that I have some superpower to deflect her laser. "most women walk out of here with a sunburn from the laser. your face has a few red spots, but the redness immediately vanishes." Great way to try to blame me on how you did not just do your job girlee. *rolls eyes*

The lasering immediately collapsed all of my broken capillaries. That has made me feel so much better already! It's bad enough I'm walking around like a fk'n chipmunk, but the vascular damage has been removed!

4 months post op - fat fixes

Dr Chikie Obi sent me to his colegues to fix my concerns.

First, they filled my under eye hollows with HA to immedietely reduce the hollows. I still have circles, but the right eye is looking great, the left eye could use more. Shit, I wish I had know to just do this!

Then, steroids to meld the fat that was overfilled in the front of my face was performed.

Lastly, more lasering to eliminate the big ones that Amber just couldn't get. One more lasering perhaps will be needed with my followup tomorrow.

I have to say that I am very much more at peace knowing that Dr. Chiki Obi helped me and was genuinely concerned with my distress. I know that I made a mistake and was completely ignorant that my face would change shape, and he understood.

I have to say that even though I made the mistake to NOT Tell him what I absolutely did not want, he has done everything he could to rectify this problem. I trust him completely again and have learned a huge lesson in all of this.

Again, the Westlake staff and doctors are all angels and I feel horrible to think for a second that they didn't have my best interests and goals in mind. They really do.

answering your questions...

one medical doctor placed HA under the eye hollows. It immediately plumped up the area and reduced the hollows, but the right eye area has a line that still has not disappeared. He tried to massage it into my face at the time, which resulted in a black eye. The one week follow up with him was "it is still swollen and will reduce." I see how silken HA could work well, if it's done correctly. I'm not the kind of gal where you can massage away any fill mistakes. So far the large line of HA is still there. The left eye circle is not at all bumpy from the Restylane HA fill.

Another doctor, a medically licensed dermatologist, placed fat dissolving steroid shots in my cheeks to reduce the swelling and protrusion. Both doctors agreed that the shape of the cheeks were overfilled and not at all age appropriate. I'm very happy with the results of this steroid injections. I feel comfortable with the shape of my cheeks now!

Overall by the doctors' recommendation to tighten up the facial skin, fraxel as well as IPL was performed. The fraxel was intense and after three days of the burned skin to fall off, my skin is smoother and some of the pores are tighter. The IPL to even out my redness and remove capillaries appears to be working, but I still have capillaries. I honestly expected them to be gone by now, so I have no idea why they haven't been collapsed and eliminated after 4 IPL sessions to do so have occurred.

The doctors emphasized a diet that is free of spices, vit.E, alcohol. I've stuck to this in the hopes that my skin's capillaries will dissolve from the treatments. I've even eliminated all heavy weightlifting.

Over a year later - much better!

I want to say that I psychologically freaked when the shape of my face changed. Dr. Chikei-Obi was very caring later and I thanked him for helping me get through that. I found out quite a lot about myself. My face looks great now - still have capillaries problems I will have to fight for life, cosmetically? By month 9 post op of the fat graft all of the corrective fillers and cortisone shots sculpted my face perfectly. All of the doctors at Westlake handled me perfectly. I will be going in soon for more under eye fillers, the temples too, and will avoid cheek injections at all costs! Fat grafts are no joke! I think they are great for plumping areas that need more swole, like my butt, why didn't I go for my butt? lol. But I would say stick to HA injections for the face and if you want to avoid plumping your cheeks, be sure your dermatologist is injecting your temples to lift them.
Dr. Chike-Obi

This Dr. has great experience with cosmetic breast surgery, lipo., and supposedly fat grafting. I've seen his impressive results for lipo, BBL, and BA. He performed a wonderful and gorgeous BA on me last year. I trusted him and his staff. I think over all I should have been more wary and prepared for this fat transfer. I trusted the PS completely, not realizing that this is definitely not his best and most well performed surgery when it comes to facial shape (his aesthetics vs. mine). I wanted under eye hollows reduced and ended up with huge and abnormally shaped cheeks, and uneven laugh lines that made me want to shoot myself in the head. I ended up with a fat filled face I hated! Dr. Chike Obi actually helped reduce this problem by having another doctor place steroids in my cheeks to melt the fat, and another doctor filled my under eye hollows with HA. I absolutely adore this man for saving my sanity, and love Westlake.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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