Soft Tissue Defects
Fat is an excellent choice for repair of soft tissue defects of the extremities (arms and legs) because it can be used to fill in defects of any size and shape, and the healing properties of the inherent stem cells often improve the look of the skin (color and texture) overlying the injury, and can improve the look of associated scars as well. Fat grafting can be used to correct liposuction deformities (dents and irregularities resulting from liposuction), soft tissue defects caused by such things as animal bites, traumatic injuries, surgery and steroid injections. Fat grafting can also be used to enhance the size of an area, such as a man’s forearm, or to shape a calf.
Pictured above is a bodybuilder that sustained a biceps tear one year before, resulting in remarkable depression of his left biceps when he flexed (note orange circle). 26 months after the second of two fat grafting procedures, we see not only a nicer aesthetic appearance, but he claimed that he had considerable return of strength in his left biceps.
Notably, we have treated a patient with multiple defects of the arms and legs resulting from a dog attack; one patient with a traumatic injury to the leg from having been trampled by an elephant; many patients with defects related to surgical excisions, such as those for skin cancer; and many patients with deep or unattractive scars. We have reshaped the calf in a woman who had atrophy of this area due to a serious childhood infection, and repaired loss of volume in the biceps also. We have operated on several patients with large defects of the arm caused by injection of steroids or other substances with excellent results.
Recovery from fat grafting to the extremities depends on how many areas are treated, and how large these areas are. Recovery from fat grafting to fill in small defects of the arms, for instance, is very quick. Patients can usually return to work one or two days after surgery. As with fat grafting to any area, corrected defects can look great a week or so after surgery, and the “final” result can be seen when all swelling has resolved in about 3-6 months.