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 is a wonderful solution that minimizes the effects of age. We can harvest fat cells as fat grafts from your own body and injected to smooth wrinkles and other areas in need of volume.*
What Is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting goes by many names, such 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, and then prepared as fat grafts. The cells are then 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.
- Restore volume to your lips.
- Highlight cheek areas that have become less pronounced.
- Fill areas in need virtually anywhere on the body.*
What Issues Can Fat Transplantation Correct?
We can use fat injections to refresh tired, aged hands, and also to replenish or add volume to arms, buttocks, and elsewhere.* Fat grafts are an excellent choice in certain breast reconstructions after lumpectomy or mastectomy. As a result, we also can use grafts 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 Transfer Procedure
Dr. Dahan’s safe and effective fat injection technique provides a soft, natural feel. Utilizing local anesthesia, we then obtain the fat from an area such as the abdomen or hip with sterile liposuction techniques. We thoroughly rinse and clean to concentrate the fat cells. Then we use a special blunt needle, known as a cannula, for injecting the fat into layers of fine tunnels. We achieve the desired contour through placing small amounts of fat being in a very precise fashion. This maximizes its longevity by enabling the growth of new blood vessels to nourish the grafted fat cells. However, we may need to perform larger fat grafting surgeries in a hospital or outpatient surgery center.
Fat Transplantation Results
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, we can perform additional treatments at any time. Most importantly, the final result of fat grafting can last for several years.*
Does Fat Grafting Hurt?
Post-surgery, patients report minimal pain. We are able to control any discomfort through the use of oral medication. Applying ice can minimize the mild swelling and bruising most patients experience.
Fat Transfer Alternatives
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.
Risks Of Fat Injections
Just like with any procedure, fat injections – though generally safe – come with possible risks. These risks include:
- Nerve damage
- Under- or over-correction
Dr. Dahan has experience in liposuction and the reinjection of that fat into the body, either as a facial filler or filler in another area of the body.
How Many Treatments Are Needed to Achieve Optimal Results?
Fat transfer procedures are performed with the utmost care to harvest enough fat cells to account for some absorption. Additionally, great care is taken during the injection process to invite new blood supply to the inserted fat cells. That said, while the doctor may add more fat cells than are needed to achieve your desired outcome, there are limitations to how much fat we want to insert in one session. It's far easier to repeat the fat transfer procedure a second time than to remove fat that is throwing off facial symmetry.
Most patients who undergo fat injections for facial rejuvenation love the results they achieve with just one session. Some conditions that are treated using fat injections, such as scars or larger areas of focus, may take two to four sessions for optimal results. This can be discussed during your consultation so you are well-informed of the doctor's expected outcome.
Will I Have Scarring after Fat Injections?
Fat injections are performed using a small needle or blunt-tipped cannula. The injections themselves are not expected to produce scarring. The liposuction portion of your procedure, however, might. This fat-harvesting technique is performed using a narrow cannula, so the resulting scars are expected to be so tiny that they're barely noticed once they mature.
Are the Results of Facial Fat Injections Permanent?
Fat injections are commonly used today for a wide variety of improvements. These range from wrinkle reduction to contouring of the face and body. Facial fat transfer is an optimal treatment to reverse the effects of aging and weight loss without introducing a foreign substance. Because fat cells come from your body and, once transferred, develop their own blood supply, there is an aspect of fat injections that is permanent. The inserted fat cells that do establish blood supply will not go away. That said, there are factors that can effect how long your fat injection results last.
You can expect to have a good idea of your final fat transfer results about three months after receiving your injections. At that time, whatever cells have not established blood supply will have been absorbed by the body. The fat that remains is expected to last for many years. What may occur at some point is that the aging process may further rob various facial areas of the volume that is needed for a youthful appearance. Facial volume loss is an inevitable part of aging whether or not you've received fat injections or any other form of treatment. If creases or deflation become concerning in the future, you may repeat the fat transfer process or, as a shorter-term improvement, schedule occasional dermal filler treatment.
How Long Can the Results of My Liposuction Last after Fat Transfer?
To obtain the fat cells needed to rejuvenate your face, Dr. Dahan will perform tumescent liposuction on a part of your body. You can determine the volume of fat you'd like to have removed, meaning you can request large-volume liposuction to eliminate an area of stubborn fat that's been troubling you. The extra fat that is not needed for your fat transfer can be disposed of. Once liposuction has been performed, you can support long-term results by maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. Like facial rejuvenation, the results of liposuction may be affected at some point by tissue laxity, making the treated area look softer. However, provided that your weight remains stable, the area should stay nicely contoured.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information about Fat Injections, please contact Dr. Dahan’s office at (775) 826-4477.
*Individual Results May Vary