Deltoid Augmentation

Dr. Eppley, I have just learned of fat injections to help narrow small shoulders. Could you help me learn more about it? I have a lot of fat around my abdomen and obliques. Could that fat be used to make my shoulders bigger (broader and thicker)? If I were to diet, does that mean I would lose fat in the shoulders and they would shrink and I would have to repeat the fat transfer procedure? A lot of stomach fat has been something I always had. Even at 125 lbs. even when I do lose weight, I still have a big stomach. Would that fat be as difficult to lose in my shoulders as it is my stomach? How much broader could I make my shoulders with the fat transfer procedure (half inch, full inch)? Sorry to bombard you with questions. 

A: Deltoid augmentation by fat injections can be a successful method for shoulder enhancement. The key is whether one really has enough fat to do the procedure or, more relevantly, to make it worthwhile. While you may think that you have enough fat, and you may very well do, that is somewhat hard to imagine at a 125lb weight. Whatever stomach fat you think you may have by appearance, that protrusion may be from an intraperitoneal basis (behind the abdominal muscles) rather than in front of it. (intraperitoneal fat is inaccessible from liposuction) This is obviously an issue that requires further assessment/examination even if only by pictures.

But for the sake of discussion let us assume you could have the procedure. Abdominal fat transfer to the shoulders (or anywhere else) is going to behave like the donor site and not the recipient site. Meaning if you lose weight the fat cells will get smaller as well as the reverse. These transferred abdominal fat cells have depot behavior with higher metabolic activity. Thus they are more sensitive to weight changes that normal shoulder subcutaneous fat would be. How much increased shoulder definition you could get would completely depend on how much fat is capable of being transferred…and how much survives the transfer process. Thus it could be anywhere from a very modest change to a more robust 1/2 inch or so.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana