What is it?
Body fat makes excellent soft tissue filler material. Fat injection (also called autologous fat transplantation) transfers fat from one part of the body to another to recontour the face; diminish frown lines, crow's feet and nasolabial folds (smile lines); and provide definition to areas like the cheeks and chin. It can also be used to fill out depressed scarred areas on any part of the body. Fat injection is not permanent, and may require an effective maintenance program.
Not every area is appropriate for fat injection. Injecting fat into the breast, for example, makes cancer detection via mammography more difficult and is strongly discouraged.

How does it work?
The donor site (for example, abdomen, buttocks or thighs) and the treatment site are injected with local anesthetic. Intravenous (IV) fluids also are injected into the donor site to facilitate fat collection. Fat cells are extracted through a small needle attached to a syringe. The fat is then processed to remove excess fluids and reinjected with another needle in multiple thin strands in the desired area. "Overfilling" is a necessary corrective due to fat absorption in the weeks after treatment. Fat also can be harvested during a lipoplasty (liposuction) procedure in one area of the body, and then reinjected in another.

What are the benefits?
Fat injection is natural, non-allergenic. Because fat is from the patient's own body, no pre-testing is required and the fat cannot be rejected. It's a good alternative if the patient is allergic to bovine collagen. The procedure is cost effective, especially if combined with another procedure like lipoplasty (liposuction).

Where does it happen and how long does it take?
Fat injection is usually performed as an outpatient procedure that generally takes under an hour. Injections may last from several months to permanently.

What is the recovery process like?
There's little or nor downtime. Although discomfort is minimal and can be medication-controlled, some swelling and bruising initially results, lasting about 48 hours. Patients should avoid the sun until the condition subsides.

How long will the results last?
Longevity of results can vary significantly from patient to patient. For longest-lasting effect, patients generally receive 3 to 4 treatments over a six-month period. Results lasts longest when reinjected in relatively stationary areas (such as the cheeks).