My newfound Love of Fat………..and its use in Facelift Procedures

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My newfound Love of Fat………..and its use in Facelift Procedures

 

Yes, fat is enjoying a new appreciation for the benefits it provides in facial rejuvenation procedures, particularly in combination with Facelifts. Our older concepts of facial aging were focused primarily on the increased laxity of facial skin and the descent of facial tissues that occurred over time with aging. The operations to reverse these changes primarily focused on lifting and tightening of facial tissues to restore a more youthful appearance. Depending on the procedures used and the characteristics of a patients’ skin and soft tissues, the results could be pleasing, or at times appear unnatural or overdone. This led surgeons to re-evaluate their techniques, and try to better understand the facial aging process.  The advent of digital photography, and standardization of photographic techniques, helped us understand that facial tissues didn’t only descend, but that there was loss of tissue volume in many areas as well. So a more complete approach to rejuvenation would include restoration of the lost volume. It turns out that fat can be used to correct many of the volume loss changes that occur with facial aging.

 

Now sometimes referred to as “Liquid Gold”, a patient’s fat can be liposuctioned from an area of relative excess, and then processed and transferred into areas on the face where volume loss is contributing to an aged appearance. This process is called autologous fat transfer or AFT.  Plastic Surgeons have been doing fat transfer for many years, but only in the past decade have the techniques been refined to allow it to be used with consistent results. As we have gotten better at fat grafting, surgeons are finding more and more uses for your own fat. In Facelifting procedures, your fat is used to restore a soft and natural fullness to areas where volume loss can occur. These can include the nasolabial fold, chin and marionette lines, the lips, the upper cheek, and around the eyes. Like any treatment technique, it can be overdone, and if not performed properly can result in an unnatural appearance. This is why it is critical that a surgeon performing the procedure has extensive experience in the techniques of autologous fat transfer, as well as excellent aesthetic judgment about how it is applied to each person’s unique anatomy. Done well, autologous fat transfer has truly helped us to improve the outcomes of facial rejuvenation surgery.

 

Article by
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon