Dr. John Burroughs of Springs Aesthetics offers autologous fat transfer (AFG), grafting, and injections for men and women in Colorado Springs, South Denver, Castle Rock, and other areas of Colorado. Fat transfer grafts and injections are used to enhance areas of the face and body using your own excess fat. With over 20 years of experience in ophthalmic facial plastic surgery, Dr. Burroughs travels around the world, teaching injection best practices and techniques.

What Is Fat Transfer (Injections)?

Fat transfer and injections use fat from one part of your body, and it is then rinsed and filtered for injection into another area of your body. This is called autologous fat because it comes from your own body. The manner that Dr. Burroughs utilizes to harvest and rinse the fat is minimally traumatic to the fat, which can increase the fat transplantation survivability. Fat grafts are a great way to volumize age-related, deficient areas of the face. Dr. Burroughs primarily injects fat grafts into the facial tissues, but other body areas can be improved to smooth contours. The fat when filtered and concentrated, helps bring stem cells and other helpful growth factors, so it can provide rejuvenative properties to the skin as well.

How Much Does Fat Transfer and Injections Cost?

The average cost of fat transfer and injections is determined on a patient-by-patient basis. Pricing depends upon several factors to include the volume to be harvested and injected as well as technical aspects of the sites to receive the injections. Dr. Burroughs and his team can best provide this information during your consultation. Springs Aesthetics offers financing through CareCredit® and Alphaeon®.

How Are Fat Transfer and Injections Performed?

Depending how your own fat is processed, it can even work well in the lower eyelids to fill in the hollow tear troughs or in the brows to restore their youthful fullness and positions over the orbital rim. This fat can be harvested from the neck, abdomen, or even the thighs. Other areas of the face can also be treated, including temples, cheeks, lips, nose, and the jawline. Fat transfer and injections can be performed in the office under local anesthesia and oral sedation.

Is Fat Transfer and Injections Better Than Dermal Fillers?

An advantage over dermal fillers is that the injected fat won’t cause the blue Tyndall effect.  Fat transfer is also very long-lasting and can even have permanent improvements and doesn’t have the tendency to migrate like other synthetic fillers can sometimes do.  The fat injections also bring stem cells for rejuvenative properties, and they have even been studied in non-healing diabetic ulcers where they have shown benefit and improved the healing of the ulcers.

What Are Some Disadvantages of Fat Transfer (Graft) Injections?

Fat transfer is generally safe, like dermal fillers, but can carry risk of intravascular injection or even blindness.  Fortunately, this is very rare and to make it safer, large-caliber cannulas are used for the injection. Overfilling of some areas is typically needed to account for some natural resorption of the transferred fat. In areas of high facial movement there is some chance that fat will need to be re-injected. If a patient has undergone fat transfer, there is a risk of the fat growing if they undergo substantial weight gain.

What Are the Risks Associated with Fat Transfer and Injections?

Fat transfer is generally safe, like dermal fillers, with the most common risks being typically temporary (e.g., irregularities) or infection.  Fat injections have become very popular and represent upwards of 5% of all cosmetic facial procedures.  Schiraldi et. al, reported that there were approximately 3 Million AFG injections performed 2015-2019, and that only 15 serious complications were reported representing a theoretical serious risk of only 0.0005%.  It is impossible to know the complete risk profile, but AFG has grown in popularity because its benefits far outweigh the risks.  There is a small risk of intravascular injection that could lead to skin necrosis/scarring/color changes.  Intravascular injection also carries neurologic or even blindness risks though these are extremely remote.   Fortunately, these already very rare risks are reduced further by utilizing safer, large-caliber blunt cannulas for the fat injections.  Mild over-filling of some areas is typically needed to account for some of the expected natural resorption of the transferred fat. In areas of high facial movement there is some chance that additional fat injections would be beneficial.  There is some risk of the fat “growing” more prominent if a patient gains substantial weight.  Alternatively, substantial weight loss could unmask areas of asymmetry or volume deficiency that would benefit from fat injections.  Fat cells can shrink or enlarge “hypertrophy” with weight changes.

Are Some Areas of the Face Safer for Fat Injections Than Others?

Yes.  Although fat injections following modern injection protocols (e.g., large bore cannulas, fanning motion, keeping the cannula moving during injections, avoiding single-site large boluses, and injecting under low pressure) and being mindful of pertinent facial anatomy are generally very safe with low serious risk profile, the risk of some areas of the face carry higher risk.  The forehead, temples, and glabella (between the eyebrows) have been reported in the medical literature to carry more serious risk.  This is attributed to the presence of numerous prominent blood vessels.  The most popular areas that Dr. Burroughs injects are the cheeks, under the eyes, jawline, and lips.  These areas are generally safe for injections of fat, but no procedure or fat injection area is completely risk free.

When Will I See the Final Results Of Fat Injections?

It takes upwards of a year to see final results.  There can be some expected swelling early following the procedure that can take a while to clear, especially if other procedures or surgery were also performed.  Like with many types of facial or neck surgery, weight fluctuations can impact cosmetic surgery and procedural results and reasonable weight stability (10-15lbs) is ideal.  Every patient is unique, so Dr. Burroughs and his team can provide general guidelines and expectations.

Are there different types of fat injections?

Yes, there is macro-fat, micro fat, and nano fat.  Dr. Burroughs predominantly uses microfat because it provides volume in a smooth and generally consistent manner, which is important in the face and especially around the eyes.  Nano fat has the finest fat granule size and is excellent for skin quality.  Nano fat, however, doesn’t have the longevity of micro fat.  Dr. Burroughs prefers inner thigh fat for fat transplantation as it tends to be quite uniform in consistency.  Some patients benefit with simultaneous micro and nano fat at the same session.  One for volume and the other for more superficial shaping and skin quality improvements.

What is Recovery Like After Fat Transfer and Injections?

Recovery is typically minimal after fat transfer and injections. You will have an area of your body where the fat was harvested that will need some time to heal and for possible soreness to resolve.  The locations of fat injection may be bruised or swollen, but this typically resolves quickly.  Discomfort is typically quite minimal in most patients, and we offer complimentary bruise treatments with IPL to speed their dissolving and resorption.

How Long Will Fat Transfer Injections Results Last?

In general, in areas of low facial movement, the fat that remains at a year tends to be permanent.  Not all the fat survives the move from one area of the body to another, but we tend to see upwards of 70% survival at a year which then lasts for many years thereafter.  Aging changes continue, unfortunately, but because the injections are well tolerated, they can be repeated or “topped off” periodically as needed.  We generally don’t advise repeat injections until at least 6-12 months has passed to avoid overfilling and irregularities.   Fat injecting is a form of sculpting or sculpting in reverse.

How Long Does It Take to Get Fat Transfer Injections?

The numbing of the skin, surgical skin prep, draping, and harvest time can take 30-60 minutes.  The rinsing and filtering process usually only takes about 10 or 20 minutes.

Do I have To Be Put Under General Anesthesia for Fat Injections?

No, Dr. Burroughs has mastered many sedation and local anesthetic techniques to allow patients to undergo a variety of procedures without having to be put under deep general anesthesia.  Typically, most patients receive just oral sedation and then a dilute local anesthetic “tumescent” is injected into the tissues where fat is to be harvested.  This dilute local is strong enough to make the harvesting comfortable but is close to pH neutral and therefore goes into the tissues quite comfortably.  Patients that carry more anxiety or know they are more pain sensitive can always choose to have some IV sedation to be more relaxed and “unaware” during their procedures/surgery.

For more than 20 years, Dr. John Burroughs has helped men and women in Colorado Springs, South Denver, Castle Rock and other areas of Colorado, as well as internationally, by providing exceptional care in plastic surgery and eyelid surgery. At his practice, he also offers medical spa treatments that are performed by his aestheticians. To learn more about fat transfer and injections, contact us today to schedule a consultation.