Fat grafting has become a standard procedure. Liposuction is performed (usually of the abdomen) and then that fat is concentrated, strained and gently rinsed and finally injected using a small, blunt-tip needle made specifically for fat grafting into an area of the body with a volume deficiency. This can be injected above or around an implant or in the skin of a mastectomy reconstruction to help the reconstruction look more natural. It can also be injected into an indented scar, the face (especially the cheeks and chin) or into radiated tissue to help release the tightness. It can also be used cosmetically for breast asymmetry correction.
Fat grafting is not perfect. Some of the fat always takes, and some of the fat always re-absorbs, although almost always in a uniform manner. The range of graft survival is from about 40% to 70%. This is because each droplet of fat must have enough blood supply to live as a graft. Therefore, adding more fat to compensate for resorption makes the blood supply worse.
There are very few risks to fat grafting. The area which donates the fat will be bruised and tender for a few weeks. There is less than a 1% risk of infection. The main concern is the re-absorption rate which is unpredictable, although we know that smokers and patients with radiated tissue do not heal as well and resorb more.
Smokers heal poorly in terms of infection, implant lost and wound breakdown. You are advised not to smoke, vape, or use nicotine replacements for 6 weeks prior to and after your surgery. Nicotine screening may be necessary the day of your surgery. IF THE TEST IS POSITIVE, YOUR SURGERY WILL BE CANCELLED.
It will be a pleasure to discuss fat grafting with you. Please feel free to call my office with any questions you may have (804-320-8545).