The Hidden Dangers of Fat Grafting: Unveiling its Side Effects

Posted on: April 24, 2023


At Atlanta Liposuction Specialty Clinic, we understand that fat grafting is a popular cosmetic procedure for many people looking to improve their appearance. Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer or microlipoinjection, is a procedure in which fat is taken from one part of the body and injected into another area to restore volume and improve contours. While it has many benefits, there are some potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure that must be taken into consideration. In this blog post, we will discuss the hidden dangers of fat grafting and unveil its side effects so that patients can make an informed decision before undergoing the procedure.

2 voluptuous women showing their butts

Definition of Fat Grafting

fat grafting is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removing fat cells from one area of the body (such as the abdomen or thighs) and injecting them into another area (such as the face or buttocks). The goal of fat grafting is to add volume to areas where it has been lost due to aging or other factors.

Overview of Benefits

Fat grafting offers several benefits for patients who are looking to improve their appearance. It is a safe and effective way to add volume and shape to areas of the body that have been affected by aging, weight loss, or other factors. Additionally, because fat cells are taken from one part of the body and injected into another, it provides natural-looking results with minimal scarring or downtime.

Thesis Statement

While fat grafting can provide many benefits for those looking to improve their appearance, there are potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure that must be considered before undergoing treatment.

Side Effects

Fat grafting is a popular cosmetic procedure that can provide long-term results and natural-looking improvements to the face, body, and breasts. However, like any other medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects associated with fat grafting. It is important for patients to understand these side effects before undergoing the procedure so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not it is right for them.

Swelling and Bruising

One of the most common side effects of fat grafting is swelling and bruising at the site of the injection. This can occur due to the trauma caused by the needle during the procedure, as well as from the body’s natural response to the foreign material being injected into its tissues. Swelling and bruising can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks after the procedure, depending on how extensive the grafting was.


Infection is another potential side effect of fat grafting, although it is rare. It occurs when bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin caused by the needle used during the procedure. Signs of infection can include redness, warmth, swelling, pus drainage, fever, chills, and pain at the injection site. If left untreated, infection can spread throughout the body and cause serious complications.


Necrosis is a rare but serious complication of fat grafting that occurs when tissue in or around the injection site dies due to lack of oxygen or other nutrients. Symptoms of necrosis include discoloration of skin around the injection site, pain or tenderness in the area, and drainage or pus from an open wound at the site. If not treated promptly, necrosis can lead to permanent scarring or disfigurement in some cases.

Complications from Anesthesia

Fat grafting is usually performed under local anesthesia; however, there may be some risks associated with this type of anesthesia as well. These risks include allergic reactions to medications used during anesthesia, breathing difficulties due to airway obstruction caused by swelling in throat tissues from medication use, low blood pressure due to drug interactions with other medications taken prior to surgery, and nausea or vomiting due to medications used during anesthesia.

Fat Embolism Syndrome

Fat embolism syndrome (FES) is a rare but potentially fatal complication that can occur after fat grafting procedures if fat cells enter into circulation and travel through blood vessels into other parts of the body such as lungs or brain where they become lodged and cause damage or blockages. Symptoms of FES include shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion or disorientation, seizures, coma and even death in severe cases.

Calcification of Grafted Fat

Calcification of grafted fat occurs when calcium deposits form around areas where fat has been injected into tissue during a fat grafting procedure. These deposits can form hard lumps under the skin which may be visible or palpable through touch; however they are usually harmless and do not require treatment unless they become painful or interfere with normal functioning of surrounding tissues or organs.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is another possible side effect of fat grafting procedures due to trauma caused by needles used during injections which may result in numbness or tingling sensations in areas around injection sites as well as difficulty moving muscles normally in those areas if nerves are damaged severely enough. In some cases nerve damage may be permanent while in others it may resolve itself over time with no treatment necessary; however it should still be monitored closely by a physician as nerve damage can cause serious complications if left untreated for too long.

Unsatisfactory Results

Unsatisfactory results are also possible after undergoing a fat grafting procedure; however this typically occurs when patients are dissatisfied with their results due to unevenness in distribution of grafted fat cells or because they did not achieve their desired aesthetic outcome from their procedure even though it was technically successful from a medical standpoint. In these cases patients may require additional treatments such as laser resurfacing or chemical peels to improve upon their results if they are unhappy with them post-procedure.


Side Effect
Swelling & Bruising
Can last from a few days to several weeks after the procedure.
Caused by bacteria entering the body through a break in the skin.
Tissue death due to lack of oxygen or other nutrients.
Anesthesia Complications
Allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, low blood pressure, nausea/vomiting.
Fat Embolism Syndrome: Shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion/disorientation, seizures, coma and even death.
Calcification of grafted fat
Hard lumps under the skin which may be visible or palpable through touch.
Nerve Damage
Numbness/tingling sensations and difficulty moving muscles normally.


2 voluptuous women showing their butts


Fat grafting is a popular cosmetic procedure that can provide many benefits, such as improved facial contours and increased volume in areas of the body. However, it also carries with it some risks that patients should be aware of before undergoing the procedure. The most common side effects include swelling and bruising, infection, necrosis, complications from anesthesia, fat embolism syndrome, calcification of grafted fat, nerve damage, and unsatisfactory results.

Summary of Side Effects

The side effects associated with fat grafting can vary in severity depending on the patient’s individual circumstances. Swelling and bruising are usually minor and resolve within a few days to weeks. Infection, necrosis, and complications from anesthesia are more serious but can usually be treated with antibiotics or other medications. Fat embolism syndrome is rare but can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Calcification of grafted fat may occur in some cases and can cause discomfort or pain. Nerve damage may occur but is usually temporary. Unsatisfactory results are possible if the procedure is not performed correctly or if the patient does not follow post-operative instructions.

Recommendation for Patients Considering Fat Grafting

Patients considering fat grafting should discuss the potential risks and benefits with their doctor before undergoing the procedure. They should also make sure that their doctor has the necessary experience and qualifications to perform the procedure safely and effectively. Finally, they should follow all post-operative instructions carefully to ensure optimal results.


The Atlanta Liposuction Specialty Clinic has compiled a list of sources to provide patients with more information about the potential side effects of fat grafting.

Medical Journals and Studies

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2020 that outlined the risks associated with fat grafting. The study included data from over 1000 patients who had undergone the procedure and found that swelling, bruising, infection, and necrosis were the most common side effects. American Society of Plastic Surgeons also published a study in 2017 that looked at the long-term effects of fat grafting on patients’ quality of life. The study found that fat grafting can be an effective way to improve appearance and self-confidence, but it also noted that there is a risk of nerve damage or calcification in some cases.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery provides information about fat grafting on its website, including a detailed explanation of the procedure and potential side effects. Mayo Clinic also has an informative article about fat grafting on its website, which includes information about how to prepare for the procedure, what to expect during recovery, and potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. /about /pac-20384844