Doctors at Mumbai’s Wockhardt hospital have given a new confidence to 35-year-old Malathi (name changed) by performing fat grafting on her left cheek. Malathi, who was suffering from Lupus panniculitis, a rare abnormality, was isolated to her home because of awkward facial look. She left attending marriages and social events due to the deformity.
She refrained from venturing out of the house or even attending weddings or parties and was confined to her household duties. This left her anxious, lonely and depressed. After the procedure, she is now feeling confident and attending marriages and events.
Lupus panniculitis is a rare abnormality of connective tissue causing loss of subcutaneous fat and persistent, tender and hard nodules that tend to be localized on the face, arms, shoulders, breasts, and buttocks.
This deformity had left her hollowed-out appearance but fat grafting helped her overcome the deformity. She was deeply disturbed when she noticed a deep scar over her left cheek, which became more prominent over 5 years.
Dr. Shraddha Deshpande, consultant plastic surgeon, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central, said, “The subcutaneous fat in her left cheek got absorbed leaving a hollowed-out appearance. The fat grafting technique involves harvesting fat from one's own body and using it to enhance or correct some other part of the body.”
Dr Deshpande added, “The fat is harvested commonly from the lower abdomen and medial thighs as they are rich in adipose-derived stem cells. It is then allowed to sediment and is centrifuged to allow separation of fluid and oil. This pure fat is injected by a specialized technique in the desired areas with the help of tiny cannulae.”
She further explained that fat is usually considered an unwanted part of our body and many of us just want to get rid of it. But, it can be used to correct contour deformities on the face due to accidental injuries, improve the appearance of scars, lines, and wrinkles over the forearms and hands, and also for facial rejuvenation.
She pointed out that complications like bleeding at the surgical site, necrosis of the fat grafts or infection at the surgical site can occur, but they are usually self-limiting. But, virtually no scars and no stitches are involved in this technique, so recovery is quick and hospital stay is minimal, said Dr Deshpande.
“Post-procedure, swelling in the operated area is expected, but it usually subsides within a week. The patient can resume his regular work in a couple of days to a weeks' time depending on the amount of fat grafting done,” said Dr. Deshpande.