As we age, our bodies go through lots of changes. Among these is a reduced production rate of hyaluronic acid, also known as HA. Hyaluronic acid, among other things, is vital for keeping your face looking young and healthy. At Plastic Surgery Center in Sarasota, FL, we are proud to offer several anti-aging procedures to help you regain your confidence and restore your youthful facial contours. Today, we’d like to talk about the most incredible benefits of a facial fat transfer.
What Is a Facial Fat Transfer?
Facial fat transfer, more commonly known as fat grafting, is a natural way to restore the appearance of youth to your face without the need for an invasive medical procedure. It starts with the most innovative, non-invasive technique to gently remove fat from a part of your body that you’re unhappy with.
Then, the fat is cleaned, leaving only whole, undamaged fat cells and removing any blood and other liquids. Finally, your own fat is injected into parts of your face that show signs of aging.
What Can I Expect Before Treatment?
Before your first treatment session, you will meet with your plastic surgeon and discuss at length which areas you would like to have treated. We will also discuss any and all concerns you have, what results you can realistically expect, a thorough description of the treatment process, and all post-treatment care you will need to take.
What Can I Expect During Treatment?
On the day of your treatment, we will numb both the donor and recipient fat sites with local anesthesia. Receiving this type of anesthesia means you can drive yourself home after treatment. If large volumes of fat are required, we may recommend general anesthesia or local anesthesia combined with sedation to ensure your comfort throughout your entire facial fat grafting treatment.
If you receive general anesthesia, you will not be able to drive within 24 hours of your treatment, so you will need to arrange a ride to and from our office. The same holds true for sedation. Once your treatment sites are sanitized, we will inject you with local anesthesia. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, we will withdraw fat from your trouble site with a syringe and cannula, which is a very fine tube.
After the fat has been purified, it is injected into your face with a needle. We will remove more fat than is necessary from your trouble site to account for blood volume, damaged fat cells and a percentage of fat that will be metabolized by your body when injected into your face.
Advantages of Facial Fat Grafting
1. Natural-Looking Results
One of the most significant benefits of facial fat grafting is how natural the results look. With the right plastic surgeon, results from facial implants can look natural. However, analogous fat transfer is actually natural.
Rather than using synthetic plastics or gels, in this method fat is being transferred from one part of your body to another. This means there is no risk of infection and no risk of your body rejecting the augmentation as a foreign substance.
2. Contour Other Parts of Your Body
Your face isn’t the only part of your body that shows signs of aging. As you age, your hormone production rate drops. These hormonal imbalances, particularly low testosterone, can lead to a drastic reduction in metabolism. Unfortunately, many people don’t change their eating habits to account for their new metabolism. Thus they develop excess fat in certain places on their body.
Facial fat grafting allows you to remove fat from your trouble spots, contouring your perfect physique. The only stipulation is that you have enough fat to be removed. During your initial consultation, we will help you determine if you have enough fat to be removed from a given trouble region.
3. No Downtime
Another significant benefit of analogous fat transfer to the face is the recovery period. You can go back to your daily routine the same day as your treatment. This holds true even if you have a large area, such as your cheeks, filled. It is also in stark contrast to getting facial implants, which require an invasive procedure and one to two weeks off of work.
Keep in mind, however, that you may need to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days after your treatment to allow the fat to settle into place properly. We also recommend sleeping on your back to ensure the fat remains in the injection site.
4. Long-Lasting Results
The results of facial fat grafting are long-lasting. It takes about six months for the healthy fat cells injected into your face to establish a blood supply and become permanent. However, once this occurs, the results are relatively permanent. As long as you consume enough calories for weight maintenance, you should not need a follow-up treatment.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that not all fat transferred to your face will “take”. Thus, we will inject a little “extra” fat into the treatment site. By the end of six months, you should have the results you want. The injected fat will have settled into its proper place and become permanent.
Am I a Good Candidate for Autologous Facial Fat Grafting?
During your initial consultation, we will help you determine if you are a good candidate for autologous facial fat grafting. There are several things you must consider when deciding if this is the anti-aging treatment for you. First, you must be in good general health. Second, you must have enough fat to transfer from another part of your body. Third, you need to have realistic expectations about the results. Finally, you must be committed to healthy lifestyle choices.
While autologous facial fat grafting is non-invasive, it is still important to be in good general health. You must not have an active infection at either the donor or recipient sites. Let us know if you are taking antibiotics within two weeks of your scheduled appointment. We may recommend rescheduling your treatment.
Moreover, this is not a good treatment for you if you suffer from certain blood diseases that require you to take anti-clotting or anti-platelet medications. Other medications and supplements, such as NSAIDs, MAOIs, vitamin E, fish oil and St. John’s Wort, can all thin your blood and affect the outcome of your treatment. Avoid taking these medications for several days before your autologous facial fat grafting.
To be a candidate for any type of autologous fat grafting, you must have an adequate supply of excess fat elsewhere on your body. Fat cannot be harvested from a friend or even a family member. It must come from your own body. Luckily, we all have areas of our bodies that we’re not happy with. Among the places that we can harvest fat from are:
- Upper arms
- Lower buttocks
You may be dissatisfied with fatty tissue depositis beneath your arms. But that doesn’t mean you have enough fat to be removed for autologous facial fat grafting. When we review your aesthetic goals, we will assess your problem areas and let you know where we can graft fat from for the best results.
It’s important to understand what results you can realistically expect. First, it helps us determine the best anti-aging treatment for you. Second, it is the only way to ensure you will be satisfied with the results. The most important thing for you to understand is that not all of the grafted fat will “take”. Because we overfill the treatment sites, your treated areas may look a little too plump for a brief period.
The second most important thing for you to understand is that the results of this treatment are not permanent. Due to a reduced production rate of hyaluronic acid, facial volume loss will still occur as you continue to age. By eating enough calories to maintain your body weight, you can ensure that the fat in your treatment areas remains. However, even if your cheeks don’t become sunken in the future, you may still experience wrinkles, lines and folds caused by volume loss.
What to Expect During Recovery
During recovery, it is essential that you keep your face as immobile as you can. This includes avoiding vigorous exercise. Do not massage or otherwise touch the treatment areas for the first seven days after your treatment. This gives the grafted fat tissue time to settle into its intended position.
You should also take antibiotics as prescribed and avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Finally, you will need to sleep on your back for the first week after treatment. Again, this helps to ensure that the fat takes root in its intended locations.
The best candidates for autologous facial fat grafting do not smoke. This is because nicotine constricts your blood vessels, making your facial skin look older and “recovery” take longer. We strongly recommend that you avoid the consumption of nicotine for a couple weeks after your treatment.
Alternatives to Facial Fat Transfer
If you decide facial fat transfer is not right for you, there are a couple of alternatives that may provide you with better results. During your initial consultation, we will review your medical history, current health status and unique aesthetic goals to help you find the best anti-aging solutions for your needs.
Facial implants are used to improve facial volume and contour. However, they are not a direct substitute for facial fat grafting. Facial implants are most common in younger clients who feel their chin or cheekbones need to be enhanced.
Facial fat grafting, contrastingly, is most often used by older clients who wish to look younger rather than more pronounced. Facial implants are often combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as rhinoplasty, to strike the perfect balance of contour.
There are several types of anti-aging injections that may be right for you. These include dermal fillers and neuromodulators. Dermal fillers include a synthetic version of HA and are sold under brand names such as Juvederm and Restylane. They plump up sagging cheeks and lips and add volume to fill in lines, wrinkles and folds on your face.
Neuromodulators are made with the neurotoxin known as Botulinum toxin A. They are sold under brand names such as Botox and Dysport and work by reducing the frequency of electric signals between your neurons. This prevents muscle hyperactivity and allows your face to relax. It is particularly effective for the treatment of lines and wrinkles that are exacerbated by facial movements, like smiling, frowning or laughing.
Take the First Step Towards Looking Younger Today
To discover if facial fat transfer is the best way to restore the youthful contours of your face, contact the dedicated beauty experts at Plastic Surgery Center in Sarasota, FL today to schedule your initial consultation. We will help you come up with a treatment plan that helps you look younger and feel more confident about how you look.