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Bad fat overfill - ongoing review

I didn't use to think that fat transfers were...

I didn't use to think that fat transfers were a big deal. I'm in my 20s and spent money regularly on expensive juve and resty treatments - thought fat would be more economical in the long run and a worthwhile investment.

Sadly, my surgeon didn't listen, lacked ethics and neglected to exercise good judgement.

After pointing out tiny areas to be done (just as I used to do when getting fillers), I was put under and woke up swollen everywhere. In denial, I thought that the adjacent areas had swelled up around the injections. It turned out that my surgeon changed tack and filled my face without consent.

Sunken lips, narrowed smile, pillowing of grafted fat in cheek, yellow discolouration of skin/broken veins, hardened fat panels moving up underneath another big layer of fat in my cheeks, face that doesn't belong to me.

I am now searching high and low for a surgeon to remove some of the fat.

Some important facts I've learned about FTs:

- There are many FT techniques that different surgeons use. Read up online and take time to learn about them - depth, passes, levels, amounts, units (cc/ml)
- Injection of fat is done through mutiple jabs - a more invasive process than fillers
- If you have thin/fair skin, irregularities can be more visible
- Injecting fat into the upper lip gives less tooth show; injecting into the nasolabial folds can turn down the mouth
- Faces deplete with bone loss and skin laxity, in addition to fat loss, so fat zealotry can't solve everything. A simple truth that some PSs haven't quite grasped.
- The resorption of fat in the face can make areas appear larger, as surrounding areas get more hollowed out
- Fat cells behave in the same way as their donor site. Choose yours carefully
- Consider whether you'd enjoy the sensation of filler being injected throughout most of your face, before being swayed by pseudo-scientific data or 'facelifts with fat'

Would I recommend FT? Yes. But as a procedure that is used very sparingly like fillers or sculptura or as an adjunct to other procedures. My experience was based on misunderstanding and ignorance and I've been overfilled this past year.


The new hobby. Anyone trying to do the same or who's gotten success?

Well, here I am 1.5 years later and nothing much...

Well, here I am 1.5 years later and nothing much has changed except the fat appears to have gotten even more lumpy and irregular. Either that or I'm more sensitive to it. When I come to think about it my problem is pretty severe. I look like a puppet an my skin is all ripply from the constant fluctuations of fat. Most of the problem was that it wasn't injected properly at all in my opinion. I sure wish he hadn't injected it into my skin. Too much volume is a bad thing, but fixing poor technique is very difficult, because fat is more likely to form granulomas, lumps, cysts, scar tissue from poor technique. If the doctor doesn't inject the fat deep into the cheeks, it will just sag off the face. This fat also feels very uncomfortable in areas of motion - it is completely unlike the natural fat in my face.

Some members on RS here have only tried 5-fu injections with some success, others have had micro liposuction, others are considering expensive eyelid surgeries to remove their fat. Some have even had to go through a year of fillers and undergo more fat transfer to correct deformities left by the original. There is also the possibility of having to undergo a facelift to get back the facial contours and restore sagging skin if your problem is very severe. To be honest, I think you need to have a lot of money and time on your hands to fix this procedure, and many of us are exhausted.

I had a lip reduction but it just made things worse. More scar tissue! So that will need to be redone.

What I would say is that if you're young, like I am/was, your options to get rid of this are very limited and you could be stuck with a lifelong problem, so please - anyone in their 20s (or even 30s) - be very careful who you choose for fat transfer and err on the conservative side. Try not to be put under anaesthesia for this procedure and remain awake as an active participant in your treatment.

Haven't been on here for ages and am sorry to all...

Haven't been on here for ages and am sorry to all I haven't yet replied to. I've been asked for photos privately from a few people so I'm putting these on my review. I will take them down soon but that's pretty much what an overfilled fat graft looks like.
Name not provided

I wish I'd placed a higher premium on ethics and character when choosing my surgeon. I did what I thought was the right thing, going to an LA surgoen with a great reputation. The best of hands is an ambiguous term. Fat is great when used CONSERVATIVELY, but too much of a good thing becomes a nightmare and deeply regrettable. Make sure your surgeon listens, draws up plans beforehand and makes plenty of time for you and your concerns. Do NOT take this procedure lightly.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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For anyone looking to remove facial fat grafting that they are unhappy with, Dr Lambros is the ONLY option! After having fat grafting done by a previous surgeon, I searched for years for a doctor that could fix my face, and give me back the definition in my face and cheekbones. I know how hard it is to find a skilled and knowledgable surgeon who is confident in removing facial fat grafting. After many consultations with top Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, I was discouraged as none were confident in performing the surgery. I came across recommendations for Dr. Lambros and I am so blessed that I chose him as my surgeon. Dr. Lambros is the most skilled and impressive surgeon I have ever met. My results turned out phenomenal! He is so kind and caring, and really took the time to listen to me. He is a perfectionist, and a master at his skill. Dr. Lambros is the best plastic surgeon out there!! Dr. Lambros has been such a blessing to my life. His entire office staff, operating nurses, and anesthesiologist are so kind, professional, and caring. Dr. Lambros is a true artist, and has made me look like me again, and has given me the most absolute perfect results. He has given such natural results, and pays attention to every detail. He has far exceeded my expectations, and I am beyond impressed by his skill as a surgeon. I give the highest recommendation for Dr. Lambros!!!
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So great to hear a success story for a change. Is your surgeon Val Lambros, of Newport Beach?
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Yes!! I just posted this under another thread looking for help with the removal of bad fat grafting so I will post it here as well to help anyone that is struggling like I was. honestly, for anyone wishing to fix their bad fatgrafting and regain their life and beauty back, Dr. Lambros is the angel you are all looking for. I am beyond blessed to have found him. I was misserable for years, thinking I was going to have to accept the results. I am a very very thin girl 5'6 97-100 lbs and my face looked fat and my body was totally thin. I looked puffy all of the time, and to me that not only can age a person, but makes you look like you had too much work done or something unnatural. I am so pleased that I no longer am suffering and have the most beautiful results anyone could ever ask for! Its actually a pretty simple procedure, and in less then two weeks you can be recovered an on your way back to life without horrible fat grafting!! Here is the Dr's number, (949) 759-4733. I also wanted to say one more thing, He was my 6th consult, and I almost did not go because I was so discouraged after 5 other doctors already said it was not possible and not to touch my face. They even scared me saying, even if a surgeon says he can dont let him do it, there is too much risk and too many nerves in that area. So I called Dr Lambros' office telling the staff I didnt want to waste the Doctors time because every other dr said it was not possible. And his office staff actually said, you should come in, Dr Lambros specializes in removing fat grafting, and performs it many times each week. So I went in to see him, and my life changed! I feel so beautiful, all thanks to him :) yes, I found it hard to find a doctor when I was searching for years, because I think once people get it fixed (if ever) they no longer need to post anything! I found the most AMAZING doctor in the world that specializes in removing bad fat grafting and making you look normal again! Dr Lambros is really an artist, pays attention to the natural beauty of your face, and literally sculpts like an artist. I was awake during the procedure, it was extremely affordable. I had to prepare just like any other surgery; no makeup, clean washed skin and hair, no jewelry etc, and was taken to the operating room. I think they may have given me a xanax to relax. Then they injected numbing shots into my face and after the area was numb he performed the lipo. the incision was sooo miniscual and disappears in a couple days. The procedure took an hour or so, and I could drive myself home after. Of course you could request twilight im sure, but you dont need anestesia if you do not want. I barely bruised at all, maybe some slight yellowish bruise which went away in a few days. I brought in pictures of me before fat grafting, and pictures of how I wanted my cheek bone definition to look etc. After the swelling subsided (about 10 days) you will look back to yourself, then over the next few months the residual swelling will go down, and now I have the most beautiful cheekbone definition and look like me again!!! He is a GENIUS!!! and he is extremely confident, and knowledgeable about this procedure. He has an amazing eye for beauty, and he takes his time and really listens to what you want. my results turned out better then I ever imagined! I promised myself that if I received good results that I would come back to these message boards and try to help others that are suffering as I was, with a huge puffy unnatural face that took away my beauty. Dr Lambros in Newport Beach - he really deserves an award. Oh and his results are extremely natural, he does not believe in over doing anything! He is a lead innovator in his field. I went to sooooo many consultations with the top beverly hills plastic surgeons. All of them said they do not perform removal of fat grafting and that it is too risky and could cause nerve damage, lumps, unevenness.. too many negatives. Dr lambros was the ONLY surgeon that understands this surgery that I came across, and not only was he confident in performing the surgery, but he does many of these each week and actually teaches it world wide!!
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I know what its like to be suffering from bad fat grafting, it can really hinder your life. If I can help just one person find a doctor that can give them back their beauty, it would make me feel good. I really feel blessed to have found him. I can not imaging if I went to a doctor who further messed up my face, or had to live with the results. I also know this is not something we can go talk to our girlfriends openly about because its kind of an emarrasing situation, and its not prevelant and accepted like breast augmentation. so I found myself searching on the internet for any success stories for people who have had good results of bad fat grafting. So for anyone suffering and searching these message boards; search no more. Dr Lambros is the only doctor I will ever let touch my face again if I ever do anything much further in the future as I age (I am young now, and Dr. Lambros has made me so beautiful again).
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Thank you ashley for sharing your happy story. I came across this doctor's website a long time ago when searching for fat grafting complications because has a segment about it. I can identify with the face being too large for a thin body, at 5'5 I weighed about 105lbs max, although mine is more square than round. May I ask how much did you have put in initially and how much was removed in your surgery? Did you have any lumps or areas of hardness to contend with? I am glad to hear you are experiencing new found confidence as a result of your revision.
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that is a great question, I am not sure how much I had put in; but the doctor but fat in all over my face. it was horrible. Dr Lambros removed quite a bit, just the right amount to where my face looks just like my before pictures before I ever did the fat grafting. It made a huge difference, and I look beautiful again. There were no lumps or areas of hardness in my case, so I did not have to contend with that. But my face look puffy, and very unnatural, lacking any type of definition, and to me it looked "done" Dr Lambros fixed my face after years of suffering thinking there were no options for me, and now my looks like it did prior to getting the fat grafting.
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Thank you so much for posting this! I underwent fat transfer to my cheeks 2-1/2 years ago now and I so regret the decision to do so. All I wanted was to reduce the amount of wrinkling under my eyes, and when I went in to discuss options for this, the doctor I consulted suggested fat injections. 1) He injected WAY too much, 2) it is very uneven (one side has more and is also now higher than the other, now my eyes appear beady. Also, because of my huge, high cheek bones, the area below that appears to look even more hollow, so that it kinda looks like the 'Scream' painting. I feel deformed -- and this is not all in my head; my friends and family agree that this was a botched job. This has been such a difficult thing to deal with. Hopefully Dr. Lambros can also help with these issues.
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whal0005, I'm in the same boat. It's been over 3 years for me. My whole face was overfilled, my eyes were totally ruined by FT. I've had surgery to remove some of it around my eyes, it's better, but I will never be able to get back to the way they looked before without risking my vision. Know what you mean about that "beady" look as well. My eyes have basically disappeared from my face. I miss my old face so much and regret every day ever having FT done. I hope that you will write a review on your experience. Too many women are still doing this to themselves which is tragic. Hopefully our sharing our stories will save other women from making the same mistake & having to go thru the same nightmare. If you go to see Lambros, I truly wish you success. Let us know how it goes.
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ashley29, that is great news! Thanks for answering my qus. You're lucky not to have had harder areas (I believe this makes revisions more difficult). I do think that the success with plastic surgery is to find a conservative doctor right from the outset. Mine was too aggressive in several ways and this approach can create real problems if you're unlucky. You can always go back and do more, after all. Anyway, I am happy you managed to reverse the fat to the point you feel confident again. That is quite a personal achievement. Have you considered posting a review with heavily cropped pix at all? (I can understand if you don't want to, don't worry). It would be good to see it if you were up to it. I should mention that a guy on here had liposuction of the cheeks to remove a fat and posted his review and pix if anyone's interested. His name is nick_male_40 and he got quite a dramatic change, so it does show it's possible. I think the eye area is very problematic though.
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Whal0005, if you take a look at my pics I have the exact same problem - 'the scream'. Now, I think it's starting to look even worse - 'guernica' perhaps? (lol). Although really, the scale of this problem is no laughing matter and my giant, uneven "cheekbones" sound similar if not identical to what you have. Extended family haven't had much of a chance to comment on them because I've avoided them for 3 years and just worked all this time, no socialising at all. I discovered my work ethic thanks to this. Absolutely everything else has suffered though! I totally identify with what notsogood says about the eyes. I had a very positive canthal tilt and now I feel like they look like the actor Steve Buscemi, you know the one with the goggly eyes. The tissue is being pulled down by the weight of the fat, and that wasn't happening 3 years ago. It started to happen very slowly, and crept up on me. It has changed my appearance yet again. So now I have to consider a blepharoplasty (or a canthopexy?), something I would never have ever needed in a million years. Don't know if anyone's going to be up to the challenge as that's just scratching the surface of the issues I was left from that ridiculous mistake I made when I didn't even know there were temporary fillers for volume that existed. I hope that Dr Lambros or someone else has an answer for you.
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Unoq, I have that same indent (the scream look, or too much hollowness under an overfilled upper cheek). It's only on one side which makes it even more noticeable. That just started recently, 3 years after the procedure! I had hoped it wasn't going to get worse after all that time, but it did. One cheek is higher than the other. We all went to different doctors yet we are all having similar problems. So they must all have had similar training. You would think that after seeing how badly it turns out for so many of us, they would at least stop doing FT. I find it appalling that they continue on destroying peoples' lives. It's disgusting.
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Your point about training is spot on - someone (or a group of individuals) must be responsible for telling new doctors that it's ok to put in large volumes of fat in a certain way. I am sorry to hear about your cheek - do you think it has got bigger? I am certain that the fat volume has got bigger around the cheeks with me. I did put on some weight over the holiday period (not much) - yet it's concerning. Most likely, a lot of docs (not all, but most imo) repeat what they are taught and will not question or modify their technique or monitor patient responses to fat grafting. It's a money maker, sadly. I reckon at conventions they probably talk about quite advanced things and the whole "point" of doing plastic surgery that's appropriate for the individual patient is missed because they start to believe all the hype and use the same approach on every single patient no matter what their starting point is. This modern idea that everyone *has* to have "volume" to look young is not even right, because my face and cheeks were never this big, even when I was 10 years old! There are way too many variables and exceptions to say everyone "needs" big cheeks to look youthful, and this is why everyone who has bad plastic surgery ends up looking the same or with similar problems imo. It is awful and I truly think as a starting point that there absolutely should be a legal limit as to how much fat is allowed to be injected at one time - similar to the state limit of liposuction in California (6ltrs I believe) -surely a similar law could be passed for fat grafting?
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Unoq...I'm not sure why I have the new deformity with my cheek and the hollow. That cheek is bigger than the other side, but it has been bigger since day one of the FT. So have no idea why it looks different now, but the transition between the cheek and hollow is clearly more defined now...and the hollow appears deeper. I'm close to the same weight, but right now I weigh less not more, about 3-4 lbs less. Maybe even that minor weight loss made the difference. But why just on one side? It's really strange. My husband noticed it right away. It looks so strange. And Yes the "full cheek" look is absolutely not for everyone. Certainly wasn't a good look for me. I have a very small body frame, thin face, as well as a very small head...the the full cheeks look ridiculous. FT should never have been a "one size fits all" procedure. And to just jam a whole bunch of fat in someone's face at one time is a disaster. What the heck were they thinking? And we trusted they knew what they were doing. They still don't. And we paid them a whole lot of money to mess us up. It's infuriating.
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It's like damned if you do, damned if you don't, lose weight and the fat graft becomes more obvious... gain weight and the fat grows. It's akin to what I've read silicone injections used to do after several years, I read stories about people who became deformed looking from them and no-one could do a jot about it. I did need volume, but selectively and in the right areas. Thin and petite women need much less than average sized women because anything you add shows up more although I understand that some doctors much feel that thin people need tons because they're thin. It is odd how that one area of fat graft grew, however. Did you have the fat taken from more than one place on your body? There's a lot written on here about fat redistribution after liposuction, and I wonder if the same theory could apply to fat grafting (random fat cell expansion and gaining compensatory volume in areas which haven't been touched). Perhaps this could happen after microlipo, who knows with this science experiment fat stuff. It's unnerving. I still think there should be a regulation limiting the amount to be used per time, yet I doubt it will ever happen.
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Thank you for your review. I wish more women who have had bad results from FT would write reviews so others get a true idea of just how many of us with bad results are out here. I know several women who comment, but for some reason can't bring themselves to write an actual review. It may be simply too painful for them to address it openly. I guess that's understandable. We've communicated before so I won't belabor it again under your review, but I am yet another woman who can relate to the trauma you've been going thru since FT ruined our lives. I was helped a little with surgery under my eyes, but still am no where close to where I was before I made this terrible mistake. I'm so sorry you are still dealing with this situation & I truly hope that someday they will come up with a way to repair the damage for you. Still can't believe doctors are still using FT the way they are. So many lives & lovely faces destroyed by this procedure. I hope thru our reviews we can help others avoid ending up the same way. Just breaks my heart to see this happen to anyone else. Good luck with your quest for a fix. I sincerely hope all works out for you sometime soon. I've decided to try to accept what is and move on as best as I can. It's been difficult, but getting on with acceptance is my only alternative now. But you are so young, don't give up. Eventually, someone will figure out how to fix this. Hope for your sake, that will happen soon. Thanks again for the review and sharing your thoughts.
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Thanks so much for your comment notsogood, It means a lot. I 100% agree reviews are vital for procedures such as fat transfer because it's just so heavily "marketed" as something completely different from what the results can turn out like! We were all in the dark about it that's for sure. People are still unsure about it from my reading on here, therefore your comment about the importance of people continuing to write and tell their stories is spot on. It doesn't matter what anyone says, the word has to get out when results go bad. My own review was kind of a release for me… that approach could certainly help the ladies you speak of here. They don't even have to name their doctor - I didn't. I don't think this matters as such reviews could be about anyone who makes promises that are dubious, using too much jargon or minimises risks and healing time to the point where they aren't being totally honest. People can see this and be warned to look out for certain types of methods such as the "overfill" one. Flimsy talk about what is a very serious and permanent procedure seems so obvious in hindsight, doesn't it? In my case, the injected areas look (and feel) very hard and unnatural. I don't look "normal" and I reckon it's going to be a tough call to get back there, if possible. I had an unsuccessful revision which threw me off course too. I recently spoke to a lady in my country who's having a type of face lift to carefully remove a fat graft under the eyes that went awry - all because she felt she looked a little tired and wanted a filler! She had tried temporary fillers and loved it, thinking that fat would give her the same outcome. Not so. Although her doctor was thankfully honest and accommodating about the result (that sure wasn't the case for us), it just goes to show the expense and risk of revising this makes it not worth it in many cases.,. The sad part was that whilst I'd tried temp fillers several times, I didn't have a clue about any other fillers that could give "volume" that was temporary without risk of infection or migration… I would've been FAR more careful about fat had I known about the difficulties in doing it and the tough revision attempts. Most likely I'd have tried the temp volume filler. Some of them last for up to 2 years so imo permanent fixes like fat are increasingly redundant now. Right now I'm looking to European doctors as they have a special filler laser they use - I will be sure to update you on it. Ultimately I think fat is like silicone... great at first, then it's too late to backtrack on what turns into a disaster. Anyway notsogood, I'm very glad to hear you've had improvement to the point you can start to move on. Sounds like you've achieved some kind of balance between what you see and how you feel. As I've said elsewhere on here, I just hope that noninvasive technologies can one day reduce some of the bulk on the cheeks and lumps too - like Ultherapy for e.g. has been used for nodules near the eyes from other fillers. If I have surgery to remove the obvious areas, I would be very interested to try it, although results often vary. If you search for "John Martin MD" on youtube there's a news segment on the Ulthera for lumpy fillers. Finally, I'll be crossing my fingers for all of us and hoping that we can heal from this…
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Thank you for sharing.  I am sorry you have and are going through this.  I experienced bad filler injections under my eyes with bluish tints and lines (malar mounds) through the middle of my face.  I still have it as well from poor technique.  I try not to look at it b/c then I will get upset.  One place I will not inject fat is the face..too much unpredictably and at least fillers eventually subside.  (somewhat anyway)  Thank you for your review.
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HI amelia girl, thanks for your comment. You know, I wonder if irregularities result from collagen production which can happen after different types of dermal fillers are administered. I have also wondered why things like veins etc appear after people have (often bad) fillers. My basic guess is that some skin types suffer from prolonged stretching and swelling of the skin. Know exactly what you mean by "trying not to look at it" - sigh.
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Do you have veins showing through your face as well Unoq?  I have a bluish vein that goes from my eyes right through the center of my face in addition to the malar mounds/creases that showed up on my face after fillers in the tear trough & cheeks.  They are horrible.  I mostly see them under overhead florescent lighting or direct sunlight.  Is that when you see yours?  I had it done 2 years ago.  I am sorry this happened to you so young.  I was thinking within the next 3-4 years (around 50) that I will end up getting a facelift (by someone good this time) and I was hoping that may help.  But, that is obviously not an option for you.  Has it gotten any better?  Mine looks a little better than it did 2 years ago.
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Yes I have veins top - they are broken capillaries mainly, and 2 purple veins that have popped up under one eye. I was told that here it's too delicate to do a vein removal procedure but I'm not sure. Perhaps a low energy diathermy procedure would help? Where fat was injected into temples (and dissipated) I have large green veins there. I am wondering whether this could be covered up with filler but after my (and your) experience it's probably wise to leave it. Unfortunately with time I feel the problem has gotten worse - it's more uneven. Also it seems to have clumped a lot under the skin. Believe it or not I have been offered a facelift on more than 1 occasion to correct the problem! I am glad to know yours has gotten better. There's still hope, i guess, for things to improve, but I will be looking at
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...surgery ( got cut off there, oops).
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Wow, it really does sound bad.  I am so sorry.  I do hope it gets better for you.  Could they actually smooth it out with fillers over the fat or is that a goofy question?  I can't believe they offered you a facelift in your 20's?  What?  Wow! Do you have a good doctor now?
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A doctor told me I'd be wasting my time with fillers because the contour deformities are too much to hide. The bits that really bother me are the ones you can see because there's no way to hide them. I don't have a plastic surgeon at all, only a maxillofacial surgeon. 2 plastic surgeons in the US and one in Europe said facelift, but i'm not convinced -i would not want to trade one problem in for another.
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Aaah, I see, I was trying to think of something that could help.  But, I agree, a facelift at your age does NOT seem like a good idea.
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What is 5fu? What is a Rf treatment?
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