Surgical fat transfer is defined as the movement of fat from one part of the body to another. Today, it is also known as “fat graft” and “lipomodelling”and many Boston cosmetic surgeons are able to perform this procedure.. This type of cosmetic procedure has been around since about 1898, but was used then more for injury repairs to parts of the body.

The main reason for the surgery is to aesthetically enhance certain parts of your body while removing fat from other areas (such as the tummy or thighs). The result is a more attractive overall body shape that is better proportioned and to your liking.

Even though this is a fairly common surgery, it is not without risks, and you need to know all the limitations and risks involved before you have it done. Some of the risks are less severe, but there are some long-term risks you should be aware of.

Long term, changes may occur in the shape, appearance, or texture of the area where the fat was removed or replaced. This can result from age, weight gain or loss, and other circumstances. More surgeries will have to be done if you want to maintain the body type you strive for. Each surgery that is done risks having side effects, so consider this fact in the decision process.

It is rare, but in certain cases, the transferred fat may cause injury to the skin over the site, causing tissue damage to the skin and surrounding tissue. This may result in scarring or disfigurement and need surgery to repair.

A condition known as Seroma may occur following the surgery, after a trauma to the area or vigorous exercise. Fluid may accumulate between the skin and the underlying tissue, causing swelling and shape change. Your surgeon needs to know this immediately so it can be addressed and more dire results averted.

This lipomodelling surgery is usually done today in the surgeon’s office and with local anesthesia. In some cases though, general anesthesia may be used, so pulmonary complications are always a consideration. Blood clots (pulmonary emboli) and partial collapse of the lungs can occur after general anesthesia. Should either of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and immediate additional treatment. Pulmonary emboli can be life-threatening or fatal in some circumstances.

Although rare, fat embolism syndrome can occur when fat droplets are trapped in the lungs. This is a very rare, but possibly fatal, complication of fat transfer procedures.

There have also been rare cases of fat transfer where related fat necrosis causes significant facial dysmorphia (deformity or change of shape of the body part) and psychological distress.

Less Severe and Usually Correctable Side Effects of Fat Injections

Very dire side effects to lipomodeling are fairly rare, and most side effects are more minor and can be corrected. One thing you should realize (as your cosmetic surgeon will explain) is that after the initial procedure, you may need other procedures in future months or years to maintain the appearance you desire. So this may not be a one-time surgery.

The transferred fat will lose some of its original volume over time. This will change the overall shape and appearance of the area, and more treatments will be needed to correct it. If you gain weight, the fat may increase in mass and create an undesirable look. So it becomes obvious that more treatment may be needed to maintain the look you want.

Firmness, lumpiness, or asymmetry may occur also. If some of the fat does not survive the transfer, it may actually “die” and become firm and cause discomfort. Cysts may form at the transfer site and require a procedure to remove.

A symmetrical body appearance unfortunately may not result from a fat transfer procedure. There are factors such as skin tone, fatty deposits, bony prominence, and muscle tone that may cause a normal asymmetry in certain body features. It actually may not be possible to achieve or maintain exact symmetry following a fat transfer.

Most of these occurrences can be corrected, but more surgery will be needed. Most patients have these procedures done to help regain their self-confidence and esteem. All the benefits of even these shorter-term risks should be discussed at length with your plastic surgeon, so you can evaluate the procedure accurately. Try to work with experienced cosmetic doctors that are familiar with the lipomodelling or fat injection procedure. By choosing correctly, your cosmetic surgeon will provide you with the body you desire, and always strive to reduce or eliminate complications.

What Are the Usual Results of Fat Injections, Fat Grafting, or Lipomodelling?

Although overall, fat injections are a minimally invasive procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will be cautious to avoid any unexpected damage to the donor and recipient sites to always minimize the preoperative risk and complications. This procedure is common today and becoming easier to do while producing your specific desired results.

Discuss the procedure thoroughly with your Wellesley or Boston cosmetic surgeon, but also find out the following:

  • What is your surgeon’s background and training regarding lipomodelling, fat injection, or fat grafting?
  • Are they on the specialist register for plastic surgery?
  • What sort of follow up should you expect if things do go wrong?
  • How many of these surgeries have they performed?
  • Their patient satisfaction rates, if available.

Get to know your cosmetic surgeon in your local Wellesley or Boston area. Be optimistic in knowing that your cosmetic surgeon, with possibly decades of experience, will always strive to improve your life using cutting-edge techniques done in a safe and secure environment.

Remember that fat injection and lipomodelling surgeries are done by the thousands every year with safe, effective, and life-changing positive results.