Fat grafting is also called facial fat rejuvenation, fat transfer, free fat transfer, autologous fat grafting or transfer, micro-lipoinjection, and fat injections. For simplicity, we’ll just call it fat grafting.
Fat grafting is really two procedures – first the fat is harvested from one part of your body and then it is injected into the treatment area.
THIS COSMETIC PROCEDURE CAN BE USED TO
- Rejuvenate the face
- Augment the cheeks or lips
- Correct problems such as hollowness around the eyes
- Acne scars
- As a corrective measure when too much l fat has been removed during a liposuction.
As an injectable filler, your own fat is almost perfect. It is soft and feels natural, it does not cause immune problems. Fat grafting is an office-based procedure that is usually performed under local topical anesthesia. The main downside to fat grafting is that your body tends to absorb it at least to some degree. There have been a lot of improvements in harvesting, treating, and injecting the fat with very good, lasting results. A lot depends on factors including how the fat was removed, how it was concentrated and treated, how much was injected, where it was injected, how still you kept the treatment area right after treatment.
CANDIDATES FOR FACIAL FAT GRAFTING
To be a good candidate for facial fat grafting, you have to be in good health, not have any active diseases or pre-existing medical conditions, and must have realistic expectations of the outcome of this procedure. Discuss you goals with your surgeon so that both of you can reach an understanding of what can realistically be achieved. You must be mentally and emotionally stable to undergo a cosmetic procedure.
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FACIAL FAT RESHAPING: MOST POPULAR TREATED AREAS
Fat grafting can be done on almost all areas of the face and body. However, the most common treatment sites are:
- The areas under the eyes
- The tear troughs
- The temples
- The cheeks
- The chin
- The lips
- Nasolabial folds
- The jaw line
- The forehead
- The glabella (the area just above your nose in between the brows)
- Fat grafting can also be used to help fill in scars on the face
The site being treated must have good blood circulation and enough capillaries and larger blood vessels so that the injected fat cells are nourished and can form their own blood supply. This is a key factor in getting the best and longest lasting results.
- This procedure involves both a donor site (where the fat is taken from) and the treatment site (where it is being put).
- You may be given an oral sedative and receive injections of sterile saline, lidocaine (a local anesthetic) and possibly epinephrine. Usually, the donor site will be the abdomen.
- The fat must be treated to remove blood and other fluid and any damaged fat cells. The only fat (which looks like a yellowish liquid in the syringe) is then injected using a separate blunt canulas and smaller syringes.
- The surgeons implant individual strands of fat cells one by one. This procedure takes time, but is said to last the longest.
- After the procedure, you will be brought to the recovery room where you will be monitored until you are ready to be released. Most people are released about 4 hours after the procedure is finished. Your face may feel tight and quite tender as the anesthesia wears off and your donor site may be sore as well.
- You will need to be driven home by a responsible adult because you will not be able to drive yourself home.
- Most patients do not have too much pain or discomfort. However, if you believe your pain to be out of the ordinary once you get home, call your surgeon or the on-call staff immediately.
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- Post operatively you can expect to be swollen, bruised and sore at both the donor site and the treatment site.
- You will be told to try not to move the treated area or massage it for a few days after a fat grafting procedure.
- Your face may be a bit swollen at first and it might look like you were over-filled.
- Many surgeons inject extra fat because not all of it will survive in its new location.
- The swelling will subside and the final results will emerge in three to four months. Some patients report mild or moderate bruising, although swelling can be pretty moderate to severe.
- Most of the swelling will last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours; although it should be gone completely in 2 to 4 weeks.
- If you have excessive pain, redness or other symptoms that do not appear normal, contact your surgeon immediately!
- With fat grafting, anywhere from 10% to 40% of the fat may be absorbed by the body.
- The most common problems with fat grafting are aesthetic ones.
- You may have too little fat tissue re-implanted or too much.
- Chances of fat absorption are unpredictable.
- However, the answer to fat absorption is not simply injecting large amounts of fat the first time, assuming some of it won’t last. Placing too much fat in a particular area can overwhelm the growth of new blood vessels and the fat cells can all die at once, leading to irregularities.
- Other risks include an allergic reaction to the anesthesia or local anesthetic.
- There is a risk of infection, bad bruising, and asymmetry.
- Fat embolism, where some of the injected fat enters the bloodstream, is a rare and serious complication, and can result in stroke or heart attack.
- Choose your surgeon wisely and your chance of a positive outcome is certainly increased.