Historically, the techniques used to rejuvenate the aging face have been relatively limited. Men and women who were able to address early signs of aging may have done so with peels or laser treatments. More noticeable sagging and wrinkling were usually treated with a surgical facelift. In recent years, options for facial rejuvenation have become quite expansive. Not only do we have numerous laser and light devices to choose from, but we also have the option of reducing lines and wrinkles with a few pricks from a tiny needle.
Ultimately, every person will need a different degree of care to manage facial aging. There is no hard-and-fast rule that dictates whether or not a concern should be addressed with surgery, or that surgery should be avoided. In our office near San Jose, we perform a variety of treatments to help patients achieve their desired outcome. Two common modalities are dermal fillers and fat injections.
The use of injectables, especially dermal fillers, enables us to meet the need for structural restoration across certain parts of the face. As you may have learned along with the rest of us, facial aging isn’t all about sagging skin. This means facial rejuvenation is not all about tightening and lifting. It is also about restoring the volume that gives the cheeks their roundness and height; that keeps the temples level and prevents a gaunt appearance.
Now that we know the importance of volume, we need to determine the “best” way to recreate balance across the face. Dermal fillers are still more commonly used that the process of fat grafting. Synthetic and naturally-occurring materials such as a lactic acid polymer or hyaluronic acid work in unique ways to add volume. Hyaluronic acid attracts water molecules and secures them in a localized area for several months at a time. Other fillers encourage progressive improvement through a slight inflammatory process that causes a proliferation of collagen. The thing is, these products eventually get absorbed.
Fat cells are fat cells. They can shrink, and they can expand. But they do not go away unless they are removed. Yes, the process of facial rejuvenation with fat requires a primary procedure to obtain that fat (liposuction). But, hello! Body sculpting and fully cheeks! Can you say win-win? The fact that most of the fat cells that are introduced into areas of the face will integrate is what makes this treatment option so appealing. While facial aging is a continual process, the results from this singular treatment are expected to last many years.