Facial Fat Transfer is an increasingly popular procedure to restore fat volume in the face which deflates with aging. Anatomical fat compartments in the superficial and deep planes of the face have been identified and studies have demonstrated that this fat reduces over time to result in visible aging, an even greater factor to aging than descent. Fat transfer to the face is performed either as a primary procedure to address aging of the face or as an adjunct in facelifting. Fat not only adds volume but also stem cell effect which results in biological change of the structural tissues and skin of the face, an effect which supercedes the results of adding volume alone.
The volume of fat applied to the face differs on a case by case basis, depending on patient factors: the need for volume, locations that will be addressed, and desired appearance. Very small aliquots of fat may be applied to the forehead, upper brow and area around the eyes to refresh these areas. Fat may also supplement the temple area which thins greatly as we age. Moderate amounts of fat – several cc’s- may be applied to deep creases on the face, particularly the nasolabial and marionette lines, to help elevate the depressed lines and build up structure in the face supporting the area around the mouth. This fat restores crumbling pillars in the central mid and lower face. Fat may be placed in the lips for plumping and rejuvenation with reduction of lines around the lips. Fat may be placed in the cheek in the mid face and along the side over the cheekbones to achieve lift, and in the chin area to improve profile projection or skin quality and cobblestoning with animation. Furthermore, fat can be placed in the nasal area to correct asymmetries, improve contours and projection, or revise undesired outcomes after Rhinoplasty. Typically in these facial fat transfer procedures, full facial treatment with fat can range in volume from 10cc up to 40cc with only 2 to 3 small imperceptible incisions on either side of the face.
Fat takes some time to settle in the face where it is injected. It may take about 2 weeks to have the public not appreciate an intervention was performed, only seeing a refreshed appearance (maybe some time on vacation or a new haircut?) Usually within 6 weeks, swelling is 80% gone and results can be appreciated. It takes a full 3 months to see final results, with swelling down and absorption no longer occurring. On average “take” of fat transferred is 70% and up, utilizing fat that has been isolated from oil and numbing solutions and managed as atraumatically as possible. Sometimes there may be palpable lumps in the face or lip and these can be massaged out over time. Facial augmentation outcome may be impacted by overall weight change, and weight gain might amplify fat in the face.
The important thing is that Facial Fat Transfer outcome depends on patient input and results should be within a realm of expectation. Also extremely important is to be safe and have this procedure performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who understands anatomy and blood flow in the face which will best avoid a potentially devastating complication, possible but far less likely with an experienced knowledgeable provider.
If Facial Fat Transfer sounds appealing to you, then call me to schedule a consultation to obtain more information and see if this is a procedure you are interested in pursuing.