Facial Fat Grafting
Injecting fat into the human face may seem like a counter-intuitive way to achieve a more youthful look, until you understand the unique ways that aging affects the face. As we age, the skin is pulled and stretched by the ever-present force of gravity. This increases the surface area of the skin, meaning that your face appears to lose volume as you age. This, in addition to other forces, can lead to lines, wrinkles, and other unflattering formations that can make the face appear older. The solution to this problem is to increase the amount of volume present in the face.
Traditionally, volume has been added to the face using a set of injectable products known as dermal fillers. However, lately, surgeons have been turning to fat graft procedures to give patients more options and better results. During a facial fat graft, fat from your own body is used to add volume to your face. This fat can be collected from anywhere on your body that you feel you have excess fat, and this is accomplished through a liposuction procedure. Once the fat has been collected, it is purified, and then injected into the face to provide enhanced volume and youthfulness.
If you would like to know more about facial fat grafting procedures, contact New Jersey’s fat graft experts at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, with offices in Ridgewood, Englewood, Hoboken, and more.
Am I a Good Candidate for Facial Fat Grafting Procedures?
Fat grafting procedures can provide great results for many patients. Most of the facial fat grafting patients who come to East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery are looking to address at least some of the following issues:
- Wrinkles and lines in the face (especially fine lines)
- Crow’s Feet (laughter lines)
- Loss of volume in the cheeks (often referred to as “sunken” cheeks)
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Bags under the eyes (leading to a “tired” look)
- Frown lines
Fat grafting candidates should also meet at least some of the following criteria:
- Be generally healthy enough for surgery
- Have excess fat that can be used for collection purposes
- Be a relatively stable weight
- Have realistic expectations about what this procedure can accomplish
- Desire make yourself look more youthful
Because facial fat grafting requires a component of surgery—and even though liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure—candidates should come to their consultations ready to discuss their general medical history, including past and current medications.
The Facial Fat Graft Procedure
Like many fat graft procedures, or procedures that rely on autologous fat, there are essentially two phases to any facial fat graft. First, there is a liposuction procedure designed to collect the donor material. This liposuction procedure is performed in a hospital setting, and it is usually performed under general anesthetic or a local anesthetic and sedation (depending on patient comfort levels). The patient usually selects an area that he or she would like to slim down a little as the target for the liposuction; often, patients will select donor sites around the waist or belly areas. A small incision will be made, and a small tube called a cannula will be inserted.
The cannula is used to extract and collect a significant amount of fat. This fat will then be purified and conditioned for the injection process. This purification process is incredibly important to the final results as it simultaneously makes the entire procedure safe and it helps increase the amount of fat that will successfully assimilate to its new location in your face.
Once the purification process is complete, your plastic surgeon will begin a series of injections designed to address areas lacking volume in your face. This is a little more involved than what you might think of as typical injections—something like Radiesse or Juvederm or Botox. Many injections are used to distribute the fat evenly and give your face a naturally youthful overall look. Once the injections are complete, most patients will be able to return home following a relatively short initial recovery period.
Recovery and Results
As with any plastic surgery procedure, it will be very important that patients follow the directions of their surgeons very closely. There will be some initial pain and swelling following the liposuction aspect of the procedure. Therefore, patients should be prepared to take several days off of work in order to devote time to their recovery. Additionally, patients will need to be careful of how they treat their face (in fact, some sleeping instructions may be administered by your plastic surgeon—it’s important to follow those instructions).
It may take several weeks for the new fat to “take” to its new home in your face. With any fat graft procedure, a certain amount of the fat will simply be reabsorbed into the body. Surgeons design the procedure and recovery to work cohesively in order to ensure as much of the fat takes as possible. Once it does, and once any swelling subsides, you will be able to see and appreciate the final results. Contrary to popular belief, fat graft procedure are effectively permanent, meaning you will not have to come in for periodical maintenance injections. Your final results will stick with you!
Most patients are amazed at the results from these procedures, as they see the volume in their face revitalized. Indeed, adding volume to the face can eliminate lines and wrinkles, and return a youthful, radiant glow to the overall face. As a result, facial fat graft patients experience an increase in confidence, self-esteem, and, often, quality of life.
If you would like to discuss facial fat graft options with the New Jersey plastic surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery. With locations in Ridgewood, Hoboken, and Englewood, NJ, no matter where you are on the east coast, we can help you achieve the cosmetic transformation you’re looking for. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.