What is the best way to restore fat loss from the face as you age?
Facial volume restoration is a vital part of a comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation. Facial fat injections, fat grafting, is the best way to accomplish this task. As people age, volume loss in the face occurs from both atrophy (shrinkage) of fat and soft tissue plus changes in the bony structure of the face which reduce volume and support of the soft tissues. Replacing the lost volume and support mechanisms restores a natural and balanced appearance to the face.
Why choose fat injections over fillers?
For many patients with early to moderate facial volume loss, restoration of soft tissue volume is the initial treatment of choice. The most frequently used option is placement of injectable fillers, however, fat transfer may offer a better solution in some cases because it is a longer-lasting solution and canprovide large volume correction more cost-effectively than fillers. Patients who have more advanced
soft tissue loss in multiple areas of the face should be considered for fat transfer as a preferred procedure as the benefits of longer lasting at a lower cost outweigh moderately increased recovery.
How is fat transfer performed?
Fat transfer is performed by first removing fat from a donor site, most commonly the abdomen, flanks or thighs using gentle liposuction techniques. The fat is processed to remove broken fat cells, blood and other tissues leaving pure viable fat cells. The fat cells are then injected into the desired areas of the face using blunt cannulas, similar to placement of injectable fillers. When placed correctly in small droplets, the fat integrates into the recipient site. With skilled injection techniques the majority of the transferred fat becomes a permanent augmentation graft. We routinely see fat retention rates of 80- 90% in our practice.
Where do you put the fat?
Fat transfer can be used to improve volume deficient almost anywhere in the face. The most common areas to treat are the midface (over the cheekbones), tear troughs, nasolabial folds, jawline, brows and lips. In addition to the volume addition provided by fat transfer we routinely see improvement in the quality of overlying skin. This is because transferred fat contains stem cells and a large quantity of growth factors, both of which nourish the subdermal plexus and improve the quality and texture of the skin.
Can fat grafting be performed in the office?
Fat transfer is often performed in the office as a stand-alone procedure or may be performed in the operating room in conjunction with other facial procedures. When done in the office local infiltration anesthesia provides for a pain free procedure and most patients choose to take some oral pain and sedating medication to help relax.
Who should perform fat injections?
Since fat transfer has a very long lasting effect and cannot be easily reversed, it is especially important to choose an experienced facial plastic surgeon for this procedure.