Fat transfer or other fillers gone terribly wrong – is there any way to fix this?

Dear Dr, This is Mais, am sending you this from Jordan I need your advise regarding a serious problem which am facing now! I had fat transfer to my face, two months ago (30 cc of fat to both cheeks) Fat was injected in bottom and middle cheeks, near the mouth, and at smile lines! Results are horrible & my new look is so ugly Unfortunately I can't afford traveling abroad to see any doctor, I live in Jordan & have 3 kids whom I can't leave alone. I really hope You could assist me with your advice I have already taken one session of lipodissolve 5 weeks ago (4 cc of phosphatadyle + 3 cc of other components one of them was caffeine) but I can't see any change! Can lipodissolve melt the injected fat? how long shall I wait to see the results? The dermatologist told me I need up to 4-6 sessions to see the result!! I have consulted one good surgeon where I live in Jordan/Amman She examined my face & told me that liposuction would be dangerous if done in my case She told me she can remove the fat graft by surgical excision (from inside the mouth) after having an ultrasound to locate the fat pockets! Would this really help? Is there any side effects or complications? And if none of the above procedures will work, shall I consider the injected fat to stay permanently in my face? I am frustrated & can't continue my life like that! I would really appreciate if You can assist me with your opinion! I seriously need your help, please advise me! I know you might tell me you have to see me in person but can't you generally assess my case? thank u

Dear Mais:

My heart really goes out to you.  I know everyone who reads this is wishing the best for you.  We all love the idea of fat transfer…right?  Because it’s so natural …….but the dark side is that it’s very difficult to fix if it doesn’t go well.   That’s why, for now, I encourage everyone to stick with things that are easier to adjust or fix like the hyaluronic acid fillers and even Sculptra – which can occasionally cause bumps …  but they go away and can be treated!

So what to do!  In general, it sounds like you’ve found a good dermatologist and plastic surgeon now who clearly don’t want to make you worse.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Be patient with the Lipodissolve – it can take more than a few weeks to really work.  For those in the U.S., this product is available internationally and we are hoping the FDA will approve it here this year, in the form of Kythera;
  • Work slowly –  can some of the lumps be cushioned or blended visually with a hyluronic acid filler in the meantime while you are working on a permanent solution; 
  • It’s true that lumps like this can be removed from an “inside the mouth approach” by an experienced surgeon with good ultrasound guidance to localize them well.  One option, would be to just do one lump this way and see how you heal before trying more;
  • Be kind to yourself and patient.  This will get resolved but it will take a some work and a thoughtful approach over a year or two – think gradual improvement!!  It’s tempting to do something dramatic but the results can be worse.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I



Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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