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Why Consider Facial Fat Transfer To Rejuvenate the Face & Add Volume This Year

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020


Part of the aging process, we have learned, is the loss of volume across the mid-face. Volume loss also occurs at the temples and on the lips. This is one of the reasons why the lower face starts to look wider and saggy as we get older. In recent years, research has discovered that the best way to rejuvenate the face may not be to perform facelift surgery (at least not on its own) but to restore volume using some type of biocompatible substance. Off the shelf fillers do this with temporary ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Facial fat transfer is the technique patients choose when they want permanent results or need significant volume added.

What is facial fat transfer?

Facial fat transfer is the minimally-invasive procedure in which cosmetic concerns are corrected using fat from your own body. Skilled surgeons now also use fat transfer techniques to add or restore volume to areas of the body such as the buttocks and the breasts. More commonly, fat cells are used to give the face a better contour, to fill deflated or thin lips, and to smooth deep creases around the nose and mouth and under the eyes

The treatment is performed in the office using local anesthetic and mild sedation, when needed. There are three parts to the technique:

  • Harvesting fat from a part of the body where you have an excess using liposuction. Common areas include the abdomen and the thighs. If desired, donor area can also be contoured.
  • Purifying fat cells. To add volume to the face, we want pure fat cells. To get them, we wash what is obtained via liposuction. The fat cells are then transferred to a syringe.
  • Transferring fat. The face is treated with local anesthesia before we begin injections. Then, a tiny cannula is inserted under the skin and moved back and forth. With each pass, a line of fat cells is deposited. This technique layers fat cells in a way that achieves natural-looking results.

The visit may last approximately two hours, after which you may return home to recuperate. Most people can return to normal activities by the next day.

What can you expect after increasing facial volume with fat?

After fat transfer, you may experience some swelling and bruising. Discomfort is typically minimal, although both the liposuctioned area and the facial areas treated may feel sore and somewhat tender. This is usually mild enough to manage with over-the-counter medication.

What is important to know about facial fat grafting is that 75 to 80% of the new fat cells introduced to the face are expected to survive. What is present at 4 months is permanent. Because of the loss of some of the fat cells we generally overfill the areas about 10%. Because the transferred fat cells contain stem cells, over time the overlying skin and surrounding tissue may actually improve in quality.

Dr. Buchanan performs facial fat transfer in a way that maximizes success. To learn more about this procedure, call our Highlands, NC office at (828) 526-3783.


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