Great question. For no surgery to occur, you may consider injectable fillers "off the shelf" such as Juvederm, VOLUMA, Restylane and/or Radiesse. While they help fill and stimulate collagen, they do not have the same effect as fat grafting. Fat contains stem cells which helps improve the quality and texture of your skin as well as provide volume. To obtain the fat, liposuction is performed. Common areas from which fat may be obtained include the abdomen, love handles and thighs. Fat can not only be used to help augment cheeks and the nasolabial folds but may also be used to enhance the breast (autoaugmentation) and buttocks (Brazilian butt lift aka BBL). I recommend that you schedule a consultation to have an in-depth discussion on what options may be best for you.
I perform all my facial fat transfers under local anesthesia with oral medications to relax you. Fat is usually obtained from the lower abdomen, flanks or thigh areas. No 'surgery' per se is performed- as small openings are made around the areas that the fat will be taken from and a harvesting cannula is uses to suck out the fat with a small syringe. Its all performed manually, meaning that there are no machines used to obtain the fat.
Once the fat is obtained. It is cleaned and then injected into the areas of the face that need the augmentation. More fat is placed than is needed to ensure the longevity of results.
Patients appear 'restaurant' ready by about 7days after the procedure. The benefits of the fat transfer also extend a little further than just volume replacement. There are stem cells in the transferred fat that tends to rejuvenate the overlying skin on the face, resulting in improved skin texture as well.
Fat transfer from the tummy or thighs to the face is an excellent option for people of all ages. Younger patients can enhance their cheekbones or lips with fat that is natural and long lasting. As we age, our face deflates, losing fat, causing sagging skin to look more obvious. Fat grafting to the face rejuvenates the face with biological filler, your own fat! I frequently use fat transfer to my facelift patients to enhance and prolong the result. Depending on the individual, one treatment does the trick, but sometimes secondary touch ups are needed. Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon. Good luck!
The technique for fat grafting depends on the area(s) being grafted and the amount of fat needed. In all cases, fat needs to be harvested from other areas of the body. For example if you want fat grafting for your face, the face can be harvested from around your belly button or your thigh. The amount of fat harvested will likely not make a difference in those areas as a minimal amount of fat is needed for the face. However, if you are having a BBL, then a considerable amount of fat is required - usually from abdomen, flanks, lower back and even the thighs. In this case, there will be a difference in the areas harvested as the fat removed will lead to a thinner contour. The best option is to set up an in-person consultation to discuss your options.
Facial fat grafting can be done in various ways. The fat is usually harvested by hand with a syringe and canula after numbing the area with tumescent lidocaine saline solution. I use a microcanula to avoid large pieces of fat transfered around especially delicate areas of the face. The fat is then centrifuged and the pure fat is transferred to a very small syringe and a microcanula is is used to inject it into the desired areas. The fat then must attain a blood supply and usually not all the fat does this, the fat that doesn't get a blood supply doesn't stick around and is metabolized by your body naturally.
Fat can be harvested usually from the abdomen, waist or thigh through a small incision using a syringe. It can be done under local.
Hello and thank you for your question. Fat grafting to the face can add permanent volume to the face in favorable areas in the appropriate patient. Harvesting the fat for grafting is very easy and can be performed with a hand held syringe in the office. The most important aspect is to find
a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with
a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.
Best wishes and good luck.
Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon