Fat transfer and liposuction are generally considered safe procedures, but complications that range from mild to life threatening can occur, according to WebMD and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Patients have a smaller risk for complications when other procedures are not done at the same time as liposuction.
Liposuction commonly causes swelling, bruising and numbness in and around the treated area, states WebMD. Other common side effects include irritation, baggy skin that may or may not improve with time, and minor scarring. Less common complications include permanent skin discoloration, excessive blood and fluid loss, or life threatening fat or blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolism. Individuals who have liposuction and gain weight are at a greater risk for developing fat around their organs, which is more dangerous than fat that develops near the surface of the skin.
Fat cells transferred from one part of the body to another don't always survive, explains the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Results concerning how much transferred fat remains over long periods of time are debated. Fat transferred to the breasts may cause changes in breast tissue, making mammography results more difficult to interpret. While fat transfer to augment the breasts after cancer is considered safe, concerns over cancer recurrence and distant metastasis are not unfounded, according to WebMD.