Synthetic tissue fillers are usually permanent, but may occasionally be rejected by the body by exposure or infection. While some injectable fillers, like collagen, pose a small allergic risk, fat transfer is widely used because it is tolerated well: you cannot be allergic to substances taken from your own body. Your plastic surgeon can discuss with you the risks and benefits of all of the available tissue fillers. In addition to filling out wrinkles, lipofilling can be used to recontour the face and provide fullness to cheeks, chin, lips and lower eyes. The fat used for fat transfer is liposuctioned from another part of your body like the abdomen or thighs and injected into an area of the face that requires more volume.
Injected fat lasts longer in larger areas of non-movement, so while it is successful for the correction of grooves under the eyes and sunken cheeks, it is not as successful for creating fuller lips.
Fat grafting can also improve atrophic aging of the hands. Fat grafting is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Both the area from which the fat is taken and the treatment site are anesthetized with a local anesthetic. Using a small needle attached to a syringe, fat is removed from a donor site where you have spare fat, such as your abdomen. Once removed, your fat is processed to remove excess fluids and then reinjected using another needle, which is placed just under your skin beneath the wrinkle, or deeper if contour change is desired. The procedure may need to be repeated until the desired correction has been achieved.
Swelling and bruising is expected after fat injection. Discomfort following the procedure can be easily controlled with medication. Although your body may resorb some of the fat of lipofilling, some of it remains with each treatment for a long lasting result.
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