Facial Fat Transfer

What is Facial Fat Transfer?

Arguably the biggest advance in facial rejuvenation in the past decade, fat transfer to the face now has the power to restore the youthful curves and fullness to the cheeks, under the eyes and temples – using your own tissue.  As we age, we naturally lose fat from certain areas of our face, causing a gaunt or hollow look.  Now we can safely reverse this process.  The concept is simple – use well-established liposuction principles to gently collect a few ounces of fat from the abdomen or thighs, under anesthesia.  Purify this valuable tissue by spinning it in a centrifuge, then place it into small syringes. Then, using specially-designed instruments called micro-cannulas, inject it artistically, little by little, into the areas of the cheeks, temples, jawline and eye area that need it the most.  It’s a bit like “liposuction in reverse”.

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The effects can be dramatic, especially when combined with other facial procedures like a facelift.  About half of the injected fat will remain in the new location, for a permanent correction.  If more volume is needed, the procedure can be repeated in the future.

Will my face look overly puffy or fat?

No.  The idea is to restore the youthful contours you had as a young adult – not to over-inflate the face.  We want you to look like yourself. 

Is the recovery from facial fat grafting difficult?

Most of patients say that it’s much easier than expected.  There are no incisions on the face.  Apart from a little swelling and bruising, there is very little pain. 

When should you have a facelift and when should you have facial fat grafting?

If the patient has a thin and gaunt appearance in the cheeks or temples or under eye area – then restoring the volume with fat grafting works well.  If skin laxity, particularly in the neck, or jowls are the issue, a face lift would be preferred.  Both can be combined – and this can have a powerful effect for a dramatically more useful appearance. 

How is this different than a 'liquid facelift' or using facial fillers?

While the concept of restoring volume to the face is the same in both procedures, a liquid facelift or use of facial fillers uses man-made products, like Restylane or Juvederm, to restore the missing volume.  These are temporary.  Facial fat transfer uses your own 100% natural fat, so there is no chance of allergic reaction.  Facial fat transfers can have long lasting results. 

Is this the same as the so-called 'Vampire facelift'?

Not at all.  That procedure involves injections of a by-product of blood, known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP).  The data on the use of PRP in the face is very limited and unconvincing to most surgeons.  Fat grafting, by contrast, uses fat cells from your abdomen, and is a well-proven technique. 

Can you store my fat for future grafting sessions?

This is highly controversial.  Most experts suggest that freshly harvested fat needs to be used within 12-24 hours for maximum success, and that banked fat is largely re-absorbed when it is eventually used.  Scientists are working on better methods of fat preservation, but these are not standardized as yet. 

For more information on facial fat transfers, please contact us at (407) 339-3222

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