While too much fat in certain areas of the body, like the tummy or buttocks, can make you feel self-conscious, too little fat in other areas can add years to your appearance. Facial fat transfer helps to address one of the most common causes of visible aging: a loss of volume in the face.
Admittedly, facial fat transfer is a bit more involved that other treatments that restore lost volume to the face. It’s a two-part procedure. First, the surgeon harvests the fat from one area. After the fat is purified, the surgeon injects it into the treatment area. Although it’s more complicated, many patients think fat transfer is worth it because it provides longer-lasting results.
Why Have Facial Fat Transfer?
For some time, when people talked about the signs of aging, what they mainly mentioned were wrinkles and sagging. As technology is evolving, many people are now realizing that volume loss in the facial area also contributes to the signs of aging. More importantly, people are realizing that there is a way to treat or reverse volume loss.
A variety of fillers, such as Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra, are on the market and are specifically designed to restore lost facial volume. While these fillers are long lasting and provide results for as much as two years, they aren’t meant to be permanent. In contrast, when fat is transferred from one area of the body to the face, it typically provides permanent results.
Where Does the Fat Come From?
The fat used in facial fat transfer comes from your own body. Your surgeon wouldn’t use fat from another person since there is a likelihood that your body would reject it. The exact part of your body where the fat comes from really depends on your shape and preference. Common harvesting areas include the abdomen, buttocks and hips.
What’s most important is that you have a bit of extra fat to spare in a donor area. It doesn’t have to be a lot of fat, though. In fact, in most cases, the fat removed during fat transfer is so minimal that most people don’t notice a difference in the donor area. You’ll see a very mild reduction in the amount of fat in the area, but not as much as you’d notice if you were having liposuction.
A key part of fat transfer is purifying the fat before it’s injected into the face. In some ways, the purification process is what really adds to the duration of the treatment. While you might be in and out of the surgeon’s office in under a half hour if you’re getting injectable fillers, fat transfer can take as long as four hours.
The purification process prepares the fat for injection via tiny syringes. Often, the process involves spinning the harvested fat in a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates out any impurities and also breaks up the fat into smaller cells.
What to Expect During Facial Fat Transfer
The goal of fat transfer is to create a natural, more youthful appearance. To do that, the surgeon will typically administer the fat using a small syringe and tiny droplets. He won’t inject a large amount of fat all at once, as doing so could create a lumpy, unnatural look. Depending on the placement technique the surgeon uses, he might recommend massaging the area after injection to improve results.
What to Expect After Facial Fat Transfer
Your final results might not be immediately visible after a fat transfer procedure, for a few reasons. One reason is that patients occasionally have swelling and bruising in the treated area for a few weeks afterwards. Another reason is that it’s fairly common for a surgeon to slightly overfill the treated area.
Often, at least some of the fat is reabsorbed by your body after the fat transfer procedure. It can be difficult to predict how much fat the body will absorb, so surgeons often overfill the area to compensate. As a result, the treated area tends to look a bit puffy for a few days or weeks.
Usually, the amount of time you’ll need to take off from work after fat transfer is minimal. Some people take a few days off from work to give the swelling or puffiness time to decrease. Taking a few days off will also give the donor area time to heal.
About Dr. Rubinstein
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a double board certified plastic surgeon who offers patients facial transfer, fillers and other anti-aging treatments at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. Dr. Rubinstein can help you decide if facial fat transfer is the procedure that will help you reach your goals. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.