Fat transfer (also called fat grafting) is a way to add volume to the face to give a more youthful appearance and treat the soft tissue thinning that naturally comes with aging.
Fat transfer is a three-step procedure that involves removing fat from one area of the body with liposuction, preparing the fat for transfer in the operating room, and injecting the fat into another area of the body such as the face
Common areas of the face in which to inject fat are the upper cheeks, nasolabial folds (smile lines), the corners of the mouth, lips, and marionette lines (from the corners of the mouth downward). As part of the aging process, soft tissue thins and skin loses elasticity. Wrinkles develop and skin sags. Volume restoration by way of fat transfer can restore youthful volume and remove wrinkles.
Fat Transfer Procedure
The procedure can be done in the office or in the operating room, depending on the amount of liposuction and grafting to be done as well as any ancillary procedures. If done in the office, local anesthesia and oral sedation are used; in the operating room intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
A small amount of liposuction necessary to harvest fat for grafting in the face. Certainly, if a patient wants an area fully treated with liposuction, that can be done as well. The procedure begins by harvesting fat cells from the body with a liposuction device. Traditional liposuction involves creating tiny holes in the skin so that a cannula can be inserted. Then, your surgeon injects a special fluid into the fat tissue. Standard liposuction techniques are used to harvest the fat for transfer.
The harvested fat is prepared for transfer by separating the fat from other fluids. The prepared fat is then transferred into the face. Fat transfer and filler injections such as hyaluronic acid (Juvederm and Restylane) both have roles in the aesthetic rejuvenation of the face. Advantages of fat transfer include the availability of larger volumes to transfer which can be cost-effective and not limit the treatment of the entire face. Fat may be longer-lasting than filler because after it gains a blood supply, the fat is living tissue. Finally, when a patient is undergoing another surgical procedure, fat transfer to the face can easily be done at the same operation. Likewise, fat transfer and face implants each have roles in face rejuvenation. Implants permanently retain their volume (although can cause thinning of the underlying bone). Implants require an incision for placement and have a higher risk of infection than fat transfer.
Anyone who is bothered by the loss of facial volume that typically occurs with aging and is in overall good health may be a candidate for fat transfer. Fat transfer to the face is a part of almost all of Dr. Tantillo’s facelift procedures because fat transfer rejuvenates the face in ways complementary to a facelift for optimal results.
When performed as a stand-alone procedure the recovery from fat transfer is seven to ten days. There is swelling after the procedure, to minimize this, we recommend that our Boston fat transfer patients apply cool compresses to the face for the first 48 hours after the procedure. When done as part of a facelift, recovery time is the same as for a facelift, approximately two weeks.
Clareo Plastic Surgery serves men and women in Boston, Newton, Needham, Brookline, as well as Greater New England including New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Call our team at (617) 505-6818 to schedule an appointment to learn more about fat transfer Boston surgeon Dr. Tantillo looks forward to meeting with you.
The aging process is associated with a loss of fat in the face, called “fat atrophy.” Fat transfer involves three steps: taking fat from another part of your body, preparing it in the operating room, and injecting it into the areas of the face that have lost volume. Fat transfer can help you restore a youthful appearance.
Once the transferred fat cells gain their new blood supply, they become living cells and thus long-lasting.
The cost of Fat transfer to the face varies amongst patients. Costs are higher however, if other procedures are performed at the same time.
Fat transfer and injectable fillers treat many of the same areas and issues of facial aging. Fat transfer provides essentially a limitless supply of filler and thus can be more efficient than many syringes of injectable filler. The effects of fat transfer can be longer-lasting than the effects of injectable fillers. Fat transfer is also easily added to other procedures in the operating room.
Yes, fat transfer can be combined with other procedures and is often an integral part of facial rejuvenation along with a facelift. Fat transfer is also easily combined with liposuction.
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