A facial fat transfer is a well-established technique used in facial rejuvenation surgery. The specialists at Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center use it to correct age-induced volume loss that results in the appearance of sunken cheeks and the thinning of the lips.
The transfer of fat is also used to conceal nasolabial folds or laugh lines and pre-jowl sulcus, which is a small bulge on each side of the chin that is believed to be a precursor to more advanced facial aging.
Advantages of Facial Fat Transfer Over Dermal Fillers
While dermal fillers can also fill in facial areas that have lost their volume due to advancing age, a facial fat transfer offers unique benefits such as more natural and softer results because it replaces “likes with likes.” Essentially, it replaces the volume that was lost with a similar substance that has rejuvenating effects that last for many years. This also makes the risk of allergic reaction is virtually eliminated because it uses the most natural fille, your very own fat.
How the Procedure is Performed
The facial fat transfer starts with a collection of small amounts of fat, usually from the abdomen or thigh, areas that naturally hold excess fat.
The fat is then purified to inject only the healthiest fat cells that are naturally infused with stem cells, which are adult cells that can self-renew and divide and thus allow the results of a fat transfer to be near permanent.
After purification, the stem cell-infused fat is injected into the facial regions that need additional volume. It is important to create tiny compartments of fat, which can be achieved via microdroplet fat injection to achieve long-lasting and natural-looking results.
Microdroplet injection technique ensures that tiny spaces are created around each graft where blood supply ingrowth can occur. After all, blood vessels carry nutrients and oxygen into the fats, which they need for their long-term survival.
A fat transfer generally lasts for many years provided that blood supply ingrowth has occurred. However, its exact longevity depends on your inherent aging process. Some faces simply hold on to the fat grafts longer than others.
Due to the long-term persistence of a fat transfer, in the long run, it is more affordable than dermal fillers, which typically require touch-up every 4-6 months to preserve facial volume.
While a fat transfer can be performed as a stand-alone procedure, it is now often combined with a facelift, eyelid surgery, and other incision-based facial rejuvenation procedures. After all, no amount of pulling or tightening can address volume loss.
When combined with a facelift, the transfer of fat ensures more natural results as it eliminates surgical stigmata such as flatness of the cheeks and the appearance of abrupt lid-cheek transition.
As a stand-alone procedure, fat transfer to the face involves a rather straightforward recovery due to minimal pain. However, the swelling and bruising–postop symptoms that determine the length of your social recovery–may take about a week to dissipate.