Autologous fat (adipose tissue) transfer is today’s number one filling agent for wrinkles and creases on our faces.
Adipose (fat) is a very abundant tissue which we all have in our body. The fat cell has the capacity to increase and decrease in size; this depends on our physical activity. When we lose weight the fat cells decrease in size when we gain weight they increase. We do not get rid of them; for this we have liposuction.
As we age the appearance of wrinkles on our face is inevitable. Even though wrinkles are part of our aging process and there is nothing we can do to stop it, we can attenuate the wrinkles or creases with fat.
Also, the older we get we start to lose our fat from our upper face (cheeks). This fat with loose skin starts to show up in the jowls area, giving us a sad, gloomy look. By placing the fat in the upper third of our face we produce an uplift effect; thereby we reshape the face to the more youthful years.
This procedure can be used alone or in combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures like face lifting, chemical peels, eyelid surgery to treat wrinkles. It is also used to rejuvenate the dorsum of the hands, nasal labial fold or any body depression as well as lip enhancement.
Since it is the patient’s own fat there is no risk of rejection. No possibility of allergies. It is mainly used to produce a more youthful look and re-contouring of the face.
Frequently the fat is taken at the time of a liposuction, even though both methods are totally different regarding the way fat has to be harvested.
We have been using fat grafting for 12 years now with excellent and long lasting results. Since fat is just below the skin the plastic surgeon has easy accessibility to it. This a very safe procedure with rare complications. It is the patients own fat; local anesthesia is used, and all cannulas are blunt, to harvest and to place the fat into the face (so there is no sharp or cutting instruments during the procedure).
It is done with local anesthesia in our surgical suite as an outpatient procedure. No sutures are needed.
Once the harvesting site is determined (abdomen, hips, thighs) the area is anesthetized. Next the fat is harvested with blunt 1-2 millimeter cannulas. Then the fat is washed and prepared to be placed in the area that needs the improvement. The recipient site is anesthetized and the fat is placed with a blunt cannula.
The amount of fat put in each area is always more than needed. The reason for this is that we know that 50-60% will be absorbed by the body, the rest will stay. We always keep some of the patient’s fat in our Fat Bank, Freezer. If in the future you need more grafting to an area we already have it (fat) ready to apply. Most patients need two sessions; but by having the fat in the Bank there is no need to harvest it again. Our own pathological studies have shown that we can still use the fat 12-13 months after harvesting. The cells of the adipose tissue (fat) maintain all their anatomical and physiological properties.
The patient leaves after the procedure is done. We always place some ice over the treated areas so there is the least swelling possible. You can expect swelling for the first 48 hours. All patients are seen the next day after the procedure. Occasionally patients develop ecchymosis (black and blue areas) and if they do, the bruising disappears in 5-7 days. Also they are very easy to cover up with makeup.
Fat grafting is a safe ambulatory procedure done under local anesthesia with long lasting results and no risk of rejection or allergies. All of us have plenty of it.