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Autologous fat transfer (Microlipoinjection)

Procedure description: Autologous fat transfer, also called Microlipoinjection, is a procedure in which an individual's own body fat is used to plump up sunken or emaciated areas of the face or to add volume where desired. The word "autologous" simply refers to the use of one's own tissues or fat. Autologous fat transfer requires three steps. The first step involves the gentle liposuction of some excess fat (such as that found in the jowls, abdomen, thighs or buttocks). The second step involves the isolation and cleansing of the fat cells. The third and final step involves the injection of the fat cells into the targeted facial areas.

Length of procedure: The entire fat transfer procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how easily the fat can be harvested.

Recovery: Recovery after fat transfer is relatively fast and easy compared to other cosmetic surgery procedures. Incisions are usually avoided, and discomfort is minimal. Most patients can move about and engage in normal activities the same day of the injections.

Risks: The risks of fat transfer/fat injection are few and minimal. Soreness and swelling are possible, but they're not commonly experienced. One should consider all of the risks and benefits of fat transfer before undergoing treatment. The most significant down-side of the procedure is that your face or lips may simply reabsorb all or most of the fat injection. The chances of this happening can't be predicted for a given individual, but it happens in up to half of all patients who receive fat injection treatments.

Rare but possible fat transfer risks and complications include an allergic reaction to the local anesthetic, permanent discoloration caused by a ruptured blood vessel at the treatment site, calcification, a distorted look if overcorrection is done, perioperative bleeding, a blood clot at the treatment or donor site, a blood-borne infection (perhaps from another cosmetic or dental procedure), scar tissue and fat embolism caused by a fat injection mistakenly directed into a blood vessel.

Results: Fat transfers vary in how long they last. The average patient gets a 20 percent to 50 percent improvement to the treated area per treatment and the average patients usually receives 2 to 3 treatments to get the final result that they are looking for. Over the course of a few months to a year, a portion of the injected fat will be reabsorbed and dispersed by the body. A fraction —perhaps, around a third of the original volume — will remain in place. Though it depends on the extent of change the patient desires, multiple fat transfer injections are very often recommended by the cosmetic surgeon performing the procedure. Splitting up the procedure into multiple installments allows for more tissue to be transferred with less damage to the donor and injection sites.

Estimated Cost: Total fees for fat transfers are between $2,000 and $6,000.

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