Plastic Surgery
Dr. Barry Eppley

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Double Board-Certified Plastic
Surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley

Postoperative Instructions for Fat Grafting


Fat grafting is done to either augment or restore soft tissue volume of the face and body areas. It can be done through one of two fat grafting techniques. These include either fat injections using concentrated graft material from a liposuction harvest or from the placement of a dermal-fat graft obtained through an open excision harvest

The following postoperative instructions for fat grafting are as follows:

1.  The discomfort from fat grafting comes almost exclusively from the harvest rather than the recipient site. Injection fat grafting uses liposuction for harvest while dermal-fat grafting uses an open incision for harvesting. Pain medications are prescribed should you need them and you should take them as directed on the label, usually 2 tablets every 3 to 4 hour as needed. Many patients only use Tylenol; or Alleve after the first few days of surgery.

2.  The liposuction donor site will usually have a circumferential wrap applied for pressure at the end of the procedure.You may take it off the next day to shower and wear as long as you need to afterwards for comfort. A dermal-fat graft harvest site incision will be covered with tapes. You may shower and get it wet the next day as well. Depending on graft size, a circumferential wrap may be used as well.

3. There are no special dressings or garments for the recipient sites for fat grafting. They may be mildly sore and temporarily bruised and swollen but no special care is needed for them afterwards.

4. Liposuction harvest and fat injections sites may have very small sutures used to close the nick incisions. They require no care afterwards. Dermal-fat grafts harvest and insertion sites will have longer incisions that may resorbable or permanent sutures placed for closure. They are usually covered with glued on tapes that will be removed one week after surgery. They also require no care.

5. You may shower 24 to 48 hours after surgery. It is alright to get any sutures or tapes wet.

6. Strenuous physical activities and working out should wait for at least two weeks after surgery. While you can not harm the result by anything you do, wait until you feel better before exerting yourself.

7. You may eat and drink whatever you like right after surgery.  Focus on liquids and soft foods for the first few days after surgery.

8.   You may return to work and any non-strenuous physical activity as soon as you would like based on your comfort level.

9.   You may drive when you feel comfortable and can react normally and are off pain medication.

10. If any donor or harvest site redness, increased tenderness, or drainage develops after the first week of surgery, call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.

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Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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