Modern aesthetic science has given today’s plastic surgeons many ways to help you reduce the appearance of facial signs of aging. There are facial rejuvenation solutions for every concern, level of need and budget. Whether you are seeking a quick fix for newly budding lines and wrinkles or whether you want to eliminate sagging jowls once and for all, there is nearly always a way to achieve the look you want.
Among the most popular anti-aging solutions are dermal fillers. A skilled clinician can use fillers to replace lost facial volume or to soften expression lines. One drawback of these fillers is that they are temporary, with results that only last 6-18 months depending on type and placement. There is no one facial filler that works at all levels of the face; some fillers are meant to go deep, some closer to the skin.
If you’re tempted by the simplicity of dermal fillers but aren’t sure if they’re right for you, a facial fat transfer might be another option to consider. This process works very similarly to dermal fillers, with the difference that the substance injected into your face is your own body fat harvested from a donor site elsewhere on your body. Facial fat transfer offers a range of benefits, including exceptionally natural results. In many patients, fat lasts longer than injectable fillers. Because fat is rich in stem cells, the facial fat transfer also helps to rejuvenate the skin. Read on to learn about achieving beautiful facial rejuvenation with fat transfer.
Unlike a facelift procedure, the facial fat transfer doesn’t require intensive surgical techniques. And, while there is some recovery time involved in a facial fat transfer, it is shorter and less complicated than that of a surgical lifting. It is important to realize, however, that fat transfer and face lifting are meant to solve different problems of the aging face. Fat transfer is used to restore volume that often disappears as our faces age, while a lift is designed to restore facial tone and to lift fallen structures to the original location.
Facial fat transfer uses fat harvested from a donor site with a mini-liposuction technique. After administering local anesthesia, your surgeon makes a tiny incision in the donor site, which is ideally a naturally fatty body party like the abdomen, waist, or thighs. A numbing fluid is introduced into the fat, then the surgeon suctions the fat through a tiny tube. After a few quick sutures at the donor site, the fat is prepared for injection. You will not need any incisions or sutures on your face since the transfer process uses small hollow needles to precisely inject fat into the areas that require filling.
Over the first week or two after your procedure, you will only need to worry about keeping your donor site stitches clean and managing any bruising or swelling around the injection sites. Most patients take a few days away from work to allow some bruising and swelling to subside but are otherwise able to take care of daily tasks without fear of injury.
Unlike temporary dermal fillers, your facial fat transfer results can last for years. While some amount of resorption is normal after fat transfer, the fat cells that remain after resorption runs its course become a permanent part of your facial tissues. The added volume will help keep your skin looking fuller even as you continue to age, and the fat cells will naturally adapt to changes in your face shape or body weight. And, since the procedure is relatively uncomplicated, it’s easy to repeat the treatment after a year or two — some patients choose this route to add volume to new areas or to restore volume to those that lost more fat during resorption. Patients who come in for a fat transfer every one or two years usually achieve a remarkable stability of the result.
Another long-lasting rejuvenation benefit of facial fat transfer is that fat is a rich source of stem cells. These stem cells can grow into new cells of many kinds, including skin cells. When fat cells are added to your face, these stem cells may help speed up skin renewal and refresh the tone and texture of your skin while improving volume. This is not a short-lived effect because it promotes healthy skin cell processes that perpetuate themselves, rebuilding your skin on a deeper level and restoring youthful properties that older skin cells often lose.
A recent innovation to fat transfer is the use of nanofat. Nanofat is specially refined fat that has a very rich stem cell content. With special devices, it is possible to deliver the nanofat directly to the deeper layer of the skin, which produces a wonderful rejuvenation.
Many patients love facial fat transfer because it allows them to create a more youthful appearance without putting any synthesized substances into their delicate facial structures. While many dermal fillers are made with naturally occurring molecules, there is a small possibility of the body forming nodules in response to them. With an autologous fat transfer, you can feel confident that your body won’t reject its own fat cells.
You can also rely on your results to look and feel more natural since you are using your own fat cells to restore facial volume. In fact, many cases of facial signs of aging are due to preexisting fat cells shrinking or dying. With a facial fat transfer, you can simply replace these old fat cells with healthy new ones rather than relying on synthetic substances to mimic the appearance and texture of facial fat. Think of fat transfer as a restoration of your natural form.
Since the injection process allows your surgeon to be both precise and versatile with the placement of your new fat cells, fat transfer is in many ways the best way to restore your natural form, particularly if you have lost significant facial volume. A plastic surgeon who has extensive experience in the art of fat transfer will carefully study pictures of your face at different times in the past so that the natural facial contours are respected. Each fat transfer procedure should be a unique work of art.
You can also work with your surgeon to choose a donor site. Many patients like to pick an area that has some excess fat they have been hoping to remove, such as the lower abdomen. Some patients even choose to combine facial fat grafting with a larger liposuction procedure so that they can slim down and rejuvenate their face in a single day of surgery. In fact, facial fat grafting is easy to combine with a number of other procedures, including facelifts or eyelid surgeries. If you are interested in facial fat grafting alongside other facial rejuvenation, be sure to talk to your surgeon about your goals during your consultation.
For expert facial fat grafting in the Chicago area, schedule a consultation with Dr. John Q. Cook at the Whole Beauty Institute in Chicago on North Michigan Avenue and on the North Shore in Winnetka. Dr. Cook’s years of experience include particular expertise in facial rejuvenation treatments like fat grafting, dermal fillers, and facial rejuvenation surgery. Find out if facial fat grafting or one of our other procedures might help you achieve your aesthetic goals — contact us or call 312-751-2112 to make your next appointment.