Facial Fat Grafting – a rejuvenation procedure
Fat Transfer (Microlipoinjection)
If you have considered undergoing a facial rejuvenation procedure or Facial Fat Grafting but don’t think you’re ready for a face lift or other form of facial plastic surgery, you may wish to investigate facial fat injections. This injection method of facial fat sculpting, also called microlipoinjection, can restore attractive contours to your cheeks, chin, and under-eye area, and add volume to your lips.
Fat Transfer, Fat Injections, Autologous Fat Transfer, and Facial Fat Grafting all refer to the process of taking fat from an unwanted area (or areas) of your body and re-injecting purified adipose fat tissues into another area (or areas) of your body. The goal of any fat transfer procedure is to add fullness to the area which receives the fat grafts. Fat injections are commonly made to the face, lips, buttocks or hands. With the Facial Fat Grafting on face, fat can be transferred to the cheeks, nasolabial folds, jawline, and the lower eye area.
The 3 components of Fat Transfer are:
1. extraction of fat with liposuction
2. processing and centrifugation of fat
3. re-injection of fat
Fat transferred from other areas of your body to your face will not only give some lifting to the general facial structure, but also improve the look of your skin. Patients seeking a fat transfer for facial rejuvenation often present these symptoms:
• fine lines and wrinkles
• crows feet
• under eye bags or dark circles
• worry and/or frown lines
• ‘sunken’ cheeks
• tired look
As we get older our fat content in the face – particularly the mid-face and chin area – loses some volume, helping to draw the skin downwards. This can make our cheeks look rather sunken and the whole face a little empty. A similar appearance is evident if one loses a significant amount of weight. To regain the appearance of youth again one can volumise the mid-face by transplanting fat taken from different part of the body (typically the abdomen and thighs but we can utilise many other excess areas of body fat). Thus, Facial Fat Grafting can give you a healthier glow and restore and rejuvenate what added years have been taking away.
In Go Cosmetic Clinic, to renew for a youthful stage, filling out the face beneath the skin by facial fat transfer been done effectively to renew from the dermis your skin thinning out, which can leave the face looking thin and has the effect of making the skin look like it sags.
In addition to filling out wrinkles in the face, highly purified fat injections also been done to enhance the blood circulation in the tissues. This is because there is a population of adipose stem cells in the fat cells that are re-injected. Even with only minimal manipulation, such as centrifugation, a small plug of Adipose Stem Cells (ASC’s) are collected in high density fat grafting. Thus, a small number of regenerative type cells are reinjected into your face with high density fat processing techniques!
Fat Grafting Procedure Highlights:
• Fat Transfer is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic as opposed to general anaesthetic
• It is a walk-in walk-out procedure, so no hospital stay is involved
• Results are more natural-looking
• Considerably less pain and no scarring
• No lengthy time off work or away from daily activities
• Pure fat cells are taken from the abdomen of the patient.
• It is then injected into the layers of the face.
• These cells age along with the cells.
• Almost 90 per cent of the patients get permanent grafting in the first try itself.
• However, others may have to go in for two or three repeat procedures.
• There is another related procedure that repositions and smoothes out the fat under eyes.
• Results last for about 5 years, so fat grafting cost is usually very cost-effective
• There may be some swelling and bruising, which disappears in a week.
• It is not recommended for people with kidney or liver disease and very low body fat.
You will notice the results immediately – your face will look fuller, healthier, more youthful and healthier.
In Go Cosmetic Clinic,we use an advanced, innovative technique of fat grafting to the face -“THE ORGANIC FACELIFT” – which utilises your own fat tissue to restore volume: an autologous procedure.
This process involves carefully taking some fat from any other donor site you wish, maintaining its viability, filtering it and injecting it into the areas that have lost volume. The minimally invasive procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and takes approximately 1.5 hours. You are able to go home immediately afterwards.
How are Fat Transfers performed?
Fat injections can be done under local or IV sedation anesthesia. Using thin cannulas, fat is harvested from the hip, inner or outer thigh, lower back, or lower abdomen. These areas are called the ‘donor sites’. The fat is then decanted and processed in a special centrifuge, and is then injected into the desired facial area. The area where the fat is re-injected is called the ‘recipient site’. When performed properly, a large percentage of the fat transfer will ‘take’ and the face will fill out to look more youthful.
Areas of the face benefit from fat injections
Fat injections are commonly used to rejuvenate nearly all areas of the face. Fat injections are best used to fill in bags under the eyes, fill out the cheeks and chin areas to lift facial structure, or as an all purpose filler.
As we continue to understand the aging process better, we have come to appreciate that in some patients, rather than dissecting tissues and surgically lifting, adding soft tissue volume such as fat will make the face look younger. We find ourselves using fat injections as an integral part of face lift surgery. In our practice at Go Cosmetic Clinic, we are increasingly doing less surgical dissection and more fat grafting in the facial areas.
Lasting period of fat injections
When a fat transfer is performed properly, a large percentage of the injected fat cells do indeed survive and are permanent.
Some patients think that fat injections “do not last.” However, this is not the case. When a fat transfer is performed properly, a large percentage of the injected fat cells do indeed survive and are permanent. However, since some fat cells are lost in the immediate post operative period, we tend to ‘over-correct,’ or inject more than we need to. After the majority of the swelling is gone, approximately two weeks later, you will have a very good idea of what the final result will be.
What are the pre-op requirements?
During your consultation, we’ll discuss the liposuction areas as well as fat injection areas to determine the best surgical plan to achieve your goals. Be sure to listen to all of the pre-operative instructions and get answers to any concerns you may have. Pre-operative instructions will depend heavily on whether you elect to have the procedure under local or IV anesthesia.
At least half of our patients elect to do facial fat transfer under local anesthesia. This is comparable to going to the dentist, but you will feel some temporary discomfort during the liposuction part. The attraction to have the procedure done under local is that the total cost is less since we do not need the full OR staff, and no pre-operative testing is required.
For those patients having it done under IV anesthesia, you will need a pre-operative clearance from your physician two weeks before surgery. If you are healthy, this includes an H&P (physical) and a CBC blood test. You should stop smoking 4 weeks prior to the surgery for the best results. Smoking does adversely affect the way you heal!
You will likely have some discomfort as well as some swelling during the immediate post op period. For a fat graft to be as successful as possible you’ll need to avoid stressing the fat injection area(s) for three weeks. It takes up to 4 days for the blood vessels to grow ito the fat grafts and another 2 or 3 days for the blood vessels to strengthen. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for the extracellular matrix surrounding the fat graft to reach enough strength to withstand minor stresses.
Post operative instructions for facial fat grafting include the following:
• wear surgical tape on facial areas for 5 days
• sleep on back with head elevated for the first week
• no rubbing of the face for 2 weeks (only soft washing)
• post op office visit at day 5
• return to work after 1 week
• exercise as tolerated after 2 weeks
• follow up office visits at month 1 , month 4
The risks and possible complications with fat transfers
As with any cosmetic surgery procedure there are risks and complications associated with fat transfers. Possible concerns include:
• irregular contours or uneven results from liposuction
• skin necrosis
• fat necrosis
• less than expected results
Although specialised techniques keep it to a minimum, occasionally some bruises develop in the face. Depending on these, you could return to work or social activities within a few days. There is also the option of using camouflage cream. The harvest sites generally settle within a week or two. Compared to surgical facelifts, the downtime is significantly minimal. Depending on the area in which you opt to have Liposuction, you may be advised to undergo a course of Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage, which our team will explain in relation to your individual case.