Frequently Asked Questions About Fat Foot Grafting

Unfortunately we do not have a black and white answer for this question. We continue to perform clinical trials to understand the properties and retention of the fat graft in the foot. Our prospective clinical trial has shown significant improvement in one’s quality of life at two years post foot grafting. Research has shown that approximately 50-80 % of the fat graft stays. It has also shown that the patients in the control group (who did not have the fat grafting) experienced increase pain and fat pad loss in their feet after a year.

Therefore, our data supports (Click To Download PDF) the idea that fat grafting to the feet prevents worsening over time and improves pain. (Click To Download PDF) Data from our MRI study shows increase volume of fat at 6 months post procedure. (Click To Download PDF) Our research on skin benefits supports improvement in the skin quality post fat grafting.

If we operate on your driving foot, you may drive locally two weeks after the procedure.

Out of Town Patients: We are able to coordinate an AM consult with procedure to follow

At the consult –
Plastic surgery and Podiatric evaluations of your feet and fat donor site options will occur. All post op instructions and consents will be reviewed with you.

At the procedure –
You may pre medicate with the Valium we prescribe once the consents and instructions are reviewed and signed. Valium is not mandatory. An ultrasound evaluation and photographs of your feet will be taken The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. You will not be sleeping, the valium if you chose to take it, relaxes you.
The liposuction site will be numbed, we will wait for it to take effect. Liposuction will then be performed at the belly, thighs or love handles/flanks through a small stab incision. Stitches are rarely necessary after this procedure. Your fat will then be processed at the back table. The foot will be numbed and the fat will be injected. The entire procedure may take 1.5 – 2 hours. Due to the use of local anesthesia, you may eat prior to the procedure.

Healing pearls

  1. The more complaint people are, the less they are on their feet the first 4-6 weeks post fat graft, the better they do. Ten minutes per hour is an ideal amount of time one one’s feet postoperatively the first 4 weeks. You may go to dinner, or go to an event or movie… but you go to your activity and SIT DOWN.
  2. Staying off your foot is mandatory BUT staying stiff and immobile is prohibited. It is important to encourage blood floe to the graft and it is important to keep your muscles and tendons as flexible as possible as you are healing. Non-weight bearing range of motion of the foot is essential for best healing.
  3. If you are flying in…
    – A shorter flight (5 hours or less) – you may book your flight for the day following the procedure
    – A longer flight or multiple flights – it is recommended you stay in Pittsburgh for 24-48 hours post procedure so you can truly elevate your foot and relieve swelling.
    -Please arrange for a wheel chair/transport assist for your return flight. We will provide you with a prescription for the air lines at your procedure
  4. If you are driving…
    on your return drive home, you must be chauffeured. You may lay in the back seat with your foot elevated. Bring a pillow to elevate your foot and help provide a soft bend in your knee.
  5. Bring someone with you