What Are Fat Injections?
As we age, we lose volume in our face. The crease between the cheek and lip (the nasolabial fold), the junction of the lower eyelid and cheek (the nasojugal fold, or “tear trough”), and the progression of the jowl to the chin (the marionette line), all tend to become accentuated by shadow as we age. Elsewhere on the face, full cheeks may lose their prominence, and lips may seem to thin and wrinkle. Restoring volume to smooth these transition zones and refill areas where fullness has been lost is a wonderful solution that minimizes the effects of age and restores youth and beauty. Fat cells can be harvested as fat grafts from your own body and injected to smooth wrinkles and other areas in need of volume.*
Known as autologous fat transplantation, fat transfer, autologous fat grafts, or mico-lipo injection, fat cells are gently removed from the abdomen, thighs, hips, arms, back or buttocks, prepared as fat grafts, and transferred to problem areas of the face or elsewhere. This fat can then be injected back into the body to rejuvenate the face by softly filling folds and wrinkles, to restore volume to your lips, to highlight cheek areas that have become less pronounced, and to fill areas in need virtually anywhere on the body.*
What Can Fat Injections Correct?
Fat injections can be used to refresh tired, aged hands, and can also be used to replenish or add volume to arms, buttocks, and elsewhere.* Fat grafts are an excellent choice in certain breast reconstructions after lumpectomy or mastectomy. Fat grafts may also be used to improve deformities from previous liposuction, disease or trauma. Fat grafts are often performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as liposuction, facelift, blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), breast reconstruction and other facial and body plastic surgery procedures.
The Fat Injection Procedure
Dr. Dahan’s safe and effective fat injection technique provides a soft, natural feel. Utilizing local anesthesia, the fat is obtained from an area such as the abdomen or hip with sterile liposuction techniques and then thoroughly rinsed and cleansed to concentrate the fat cells. A special blunt needle, known as a cannula, is then used for injection of the fat in layers of fine tunnels. Placing small amounts of fat in a very precise fashion, until the desired contour has been achieved, maximizes its longevity by enabling the growth of new blood vessels to nourish the grafted fat cells. Larger fat grafting surgeries may need to be performed in a hospital or outpatient surgery center and may require general anesthesia or IV sedation.
What Should I Expect After Fat Grafting Surgery?
The injected fat is living tissue and the blood supply it develops in its new location enables the achievement of long-term results. If some absorption does occur, additional treatments may be performed at any time, but the final result of fat grafting can last for several years.* There is minimal pain connected with the procedure and any discomfort is controlled with oral medication. Most patients experience mild swelling and bruising, which can be kept to a minimum by applying ice. Patients are up and around the day of the procedure but strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 1 week.
Fat Transplantation Risks
Fat injections are generally safe, but just as with any procedure, there are possible risks involved. These risks include:
- Nerve damage
- Under- or over-correction
Dr. Dahan is experienced in liposuction and the reinjection of that fat into the body, either as a facial filler or filler in another area of the body.
Alternatives to Fat Injections
There are a variety of “fillers” that can be used to replenish lost facial volume: injectable fillers, such as Juvéderm®, and your own tissue filler, fat.