Skin Laxity and Fillers?

What effect does over fill with fat grafting have on skin that already has poor elasticity quality. Once fat or fillers start to dissipate isn't the quality of skin even more compromised and laxed? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3

Skin Laxity and Fillers?

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Despite some claims and suggestion that there is a proliferative and regenerative component to fat injections and transfers, I think that the majority of what is accomplished is volume replacement.  In that sense it primarily fills out tissue and skin.  If the skin tone is lax then relatively more fat can be injected (versus very tight skin) but also there will be relatively less ability to maintain the skin tone; ie, loose skin may be more likely to continue to stretch out.  If 100% of the fat were to dissipate there would typically be a certain loss of laxity.  However, most or much of the fat appears to survive and, in general, there is enough elasticity in the skin to prevent the problem you're posing.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Fat grafts and dermal fillers usually don't improve skin texture and tone

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As we age, our skin cells decreased in their ability to retain water, and the skin also stretches due to decrease of elastin and other tissue structures. We also loose soft tissue volume. Since our cheeks contain 50% of the facial fat, this is a common area to notice loss of volume and elasticity, creating nasolabial folds (the lines that extend from the corner of the nose the corner of the mouth). Fat grafts will contain a small amount of growth factors, especially if they are enhanced with platelet rich plasma, and dermal fillers are humectants, which draw water into the tissue. Both of these are transient. The skin does not necessarily look worse after the fat grafts and dermal fillers resorb. Many plastic surgeons who treat skin laxity with facelifts are also augmenting the soft tissue to give a more youthful appearance to the patient.

Joseph M. Perlman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Fat transfer, Injectable fillers and skin laxity

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Fat transfer and injectable fillers, such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Radiesse, are primarily used to improve and restore subcutaneous volume loss.  In this way they fill the missing volume below the skin but they do not change the quality or elasticity of the skin. Over time the injectable fillers and some injected fat can resorb and further fillers may be necessary to maintain the improvement.  In most cases the volume improvement achieved by the injections does not result in increased skin laxity after the filler is resorbed. 

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.