What Is The Right Way To Do Fat Injection Grafting?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I am interested in getting fat injections to my face as I have lost some volume in the cheek area as I have aged. As I read about fat injections it seems like there is some controversy as to how well they work or how long they last. I have read several doctors who claim if the procedure is done right the results are excellent with good long-term survival. How do I know if my doctor will do the fat injections the right way?

A: It doesn’t really matter what anyone claims about fat injections. They are unpredictable in terms of survival no matter how it is done and anyone that would use the statement…’if done right’…is either misinformed or full of themselves.  If there was a good and reliable way to do them that assured predictable long-term results, then so many people wouldn’t be talking about the different methods of how to do it. If one way really worked everyone would be doing it and that would be the end of the discussion. There are some basic principles of fat harvest, concentration and injection that are currently used, but no one doctor can claim any proprietary method of how best to do fat injections. Much of the science of it remains unknown at present. In addition, anyone that talks about long-term fat injection results is either speculating or commenting on their own personal observations as there have never been any long-term clinical studies that have shown in a quantitative objective manner how stable the results are.

That being said, I think fat injections is a very useful technique and the only good solution for some aesthetic augmentation issues. But the patient has to know that the result is unpredictable and can not be assured or guaranteed how well it will work. Fat injections are great as they are a natural tissue but the result is a gamble.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana