Fat injections are used to help soften lines and wrinkles and to plump hollowed areas, restoring a youthful fullness to your face, lips, and hands. Due to the forces of gravity and changes from aging, the fat in your face descends from youthful round cheeks to create deep smile lines and jowls. Non-surgical techniques using dermal fillers like Juvaderm, Restylane, Belotero, Perlane, Radiesse, and Sculptura will help correct volume loss. These products are not permanent and must be repeated every six to twenty-four months. Fat grafting, also known as liposculpture or autologous fat transfer, is a surgical procedure where fat is harvested from your body, purified and immediately re-injected to restore volume loss. The procedure is helpful to improve smile lines, hollow temples, sunken cheeks, or other aged areas. It is also helpful to camouflage scars or breast implants after reconstruction and in enhancing your buttock. Unlike commercial volume-enhancing treatments, fat grafts are taken from your own body so you cannot experience an allergic reaction. The fat is incorporated into its new location leading to a natural and longer lasting result.
Fat grafting is a powerful procedure that may be used for facial rejuvenation, contour deformities from liposuction, improving breast reconstruction, and buttock augmentation. If you have deep wrinkles, creases or hollows on your face or desire a more permanent correction than what is provided by temporary fillers, you may want to opt for fat grafting. Fat grafting can also be used to improve body contours, revise scars, fill bodily depression or rejuvenate your hands. Furthermore, fat grafting has been approved in breast reconstruction to camouflage contour irregularities and the edges of breast implants.
In The Details
The fat is harvested from the donor area (abdomen, buttock, thighs) by inserting a tiny tube through a very small incision and suctioning out fat in a method similar to liposuction. The fat is then purified so that only fat cells are re-injected into the area of volume loss. With each injection, only a tiny amount of fat is placed in natural tissue planes to ensure the survival of the transplanted fat. The process is repeated until the desired volume of fat is injected, creating a grid of grafted fat. The incisions are made using an IV catheter and often do not require a suture to close them.
Benefits of Fat
The fat is autologous, meaning that is taken from your own body. Not only does this mean that you cannot suffer from an allergic reaction but it also means that you benefit from removing fat from an area where you have too much. Grafted fat is permanent. The treatment is minimally invasive and does not require incisions.
The fat must be first removed from a donor site and then purified, making it more involved than using dermal fillers which are pre-packaged. Not all of the grafted fat will survive the transfer. It is not possible to predict which fat will and will not survive. Therefore there is a higher chance of resulting asymmetry than with dermal fillers. As some of the grafted fat will be absorbed, the procedure may have to be repeated. The fat can expand if you gain weight which is why I am hesitant to fat graft in thin areas like under the eyes.
It is performed as an outpatient procedure in my office or in conjunction with other procedures in the operating room. Often patients prefer to have intravenous sedation and local anesthesia to minimize any discomfort.
Patients are allowed to perform light activity on day one and return to work later that week. For the first few days, you will experience swelling and discomfort. Most patients will take pain medication for the first two days.
You can begin light exercise on day one but it is best not to overexert yourself as it will lead to increased swelling. You can resume strenuous activity in two weeks.
The results are permanent although a percentage of the injected fat will be reabsorbed during the first six months. The percentage ranges from 30-50%. Depending on your aesthetic ideals, some patients require “touch up” procedures to maintain optimal results. Fluctuations in your weight may alter your results. Many patients opt to have the procedure performed in conjunction with other procedure like a facelift, necklift, eyelid surgery or laser procedure.
A Picture is Worth a Million Words
A picture may be worth a million words but in the age of the internet, online photos can be viewed by billions of eyes. In respect of patient privacy, a before and after section was not created on our website. Several patients have agreed to allow their photos to be viewed by prospective patients in the office. You may request to view photos during your consultation. Some patients have also agreed to speak with prospective patients if you would like to learn more about the procedure from a patient’s perspective
What is the first step?
If you are considering fat grafting, please call our office at (212) 600.4109 to arrange for a consultation. Our New York City practice accommodates out of town and international patients who need to travel in for surgery as well as those who are local to Manhattan.