Ageing is a natural process and it shows the most on our face. As we grow older, our face experiences gradual volume loss. It happens because the tissue in the underlying fat layer is lost over time, causing the face to look gaunt or sunken. This makes different signs of ageing – like under-eye bags, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines – become more and more noticeable on the face, and we start looking older than we actually are. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to get rid of these ageing signs, and an effective, minimally invasive, and most convenient one is face fat grafting.
Factors That Contribute To Fat Loss
Fat loss around the face can happen for various reasons and can result in lost volume and a more sunken facial appearance. Some of the common factors include:
- Ageing Process
- Change in Hormonal Levels
- Weight Loss
- Exposure to Ultraviolet Rays
Sometimes, fat loss in the facial area is also caused by a medical condition in which the patients have to consume certain medicines responsible for volume loss.
Fat Transfer To Face – A Natural Way To Address Facial Volume Loss
Fat transfer, also known as a fat injection or face fat grafting, is a surgical procedure used for transferring fat from one body part to another in the bid to augment the destination site with the injected fat. During the procedure, liposuction is used to extract adipose fat which is then processed and re-injected in the purified form into the destination area that needs improvement.
Face fat grafting is a natural way to address facial volume loss, and it is an extremely safe procedure. It uses the patient’s own fat tissue to eliminate possibilities of side effects or rejection from using foreign materials. Long-lasting results can be achieved with this procedure to achieve a naturally rejuvenated face with a more youthful appearance.
The facial fat transfer makes an ideal choice for individuals who want to restore their lost facial volume naturally without undergoing invasive surgeries. It is also helpful in smoothing out deep creases, folds, wrinkles and enhances the facial contours.
Benefits Of Fat Transfer
Face fat grafting offers multiple benefits and helps patients beat the signs of ageing. It is an effective treatment for loss of facial volume. Some of the key benefits include:
- A natural and safe procedure that uses the patient’s own fat and helps avoid any allergic reactions.
- A versatile treatment option to address multiple cosmetic issues like scars, depressions, and wrinkles.
- Long-lasting and more natural-looking results compared to dermal fillers.
- Helps contour other body parts from where the fat is extracted.
- Minimal downtime, allowing patients to resume everyday routine a few days after the procedure.
- Helps improve skin quality as the stem cells from the harvested fat offer growth factors for long-term facial rejuvenation.
Areas Of The Face That Can Benefit From Fat Transfer
Fat transfer to the face is quite effective in restoring facial fullness by targeting multiple areas of the face. As a result, one can effectively reverse the signs of ageing showing on their face. With face fat grafting, one can address volume loss in:
- Under the Eyes
- Nasolabial Folds
Face fat grafting can be, especially, effective to fill in wrinkles and lines around the face.
Fat Transfer Procedure
Face fat grafting is generally completed in a 3-step step procedure where the fat is harvested, purified, and then re-injected into the desired areas. Before undergoing the procedure, intravenous sedation is typically given to the patient with local anaesthesia so that any discomfort could be eased away. After that, the following steps are performed:
- Fat Removal: The doctor extracts fat tissue from different fat-rich areas of the body like thighs, lower back, hips, buttocks, abdomen, or other donor areas chosen with the patient’s consent. Fat removal is done with liposuction using special equipment to minimize the damage.
- Fat Cell Isolation/Purification: After collecting the fat, it is poured into a centrifuge and then processed for purification purposes. During the process, any damaged and dead fat cells are removed along with the unnecessary fluids to leave behind only the healthy cells that are ready for transfer. These healthy fat cells are highly likely to connect to adapt to the new environment and thrive there for years.
- Fat Re-injection: After purifying the fat, it is precisely and carefully injected into the target areas or recipient sites in the face of the patient. The injections are, generally, given at different depths in order to ensure that the desired results are achieved. After the face fat grafting, the low-volume facial areas become smoother and fuller.
How Long Do The Results Last?
Generally, the results of a face fat grafting transfer last for a few years and may even be permanent in some cases. Just after this procedure, the patients notice some bruising and swelling in the areas being treated. The swelling tends to subside with cold compresses, and once it does, the results become apparent.
In the initial recovery stage, the areas injected with fat usually look overfilled and that is normal. It usually takes a week or two for the newly injected fat cells to settle completely. And, once it does, the previously sunken facial areas will start appearing more natural. With plumper skin, the wrinkles will be reduced and the skin will feel smoother to the touch. The results can even last for a long time if proper care is taken.
What Makes An Ideal Candidate?
Face fat grafting is an ideal choice for individuals who want to address one of the following aesthetic concerns:
- Flat and boney forehead
- Frown Lines
- Smile Lines
- Marionette Lines
- Hollows under their eyes
- Creases and Wrinkles
- Gaunt Cheekbones
- Acne Scars
- Thin Lips
Generally, the right candidates must fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations. The results can be permanent for some while others may not have the same experience. So, it is important that proper care is taken after the procedure and body weight is maintained to avoid volume loss again.
Some health conditions and medications might also affect one’s eligibility to undergo this procedure. To get this procedure done, one must not have:
- An infection in the donor or recipient site
- Taken antibiotics in the last two weeks of the scheduled appointment date
- Blood diseases that need the patient to take antiplatelet or anti-clotting medications
- Blood-thinning supplements and medications like NSAIDs, vitamin E, MAOIs, and fish oil as can affect the treatment outcome
Furthermore, one must have enough supply of extra fat in other body areas eligible for harvesting it. The procedure cannot use fat taken from a family member or a friend and it must come from the patient’s own body. Common fat harvesting sites include upper arms, abdomen, thighs, hips, lower buttocks, back, and sides.
Face fat grafting is an effective, minimally invasive treatment to restore lost volume to one’s face. The treatment can produce lasting results and is effective for treating multiple ageing symptoms that appear on the face. As it uses the patient’s own fat, there is almost no possibility of the body rejecting it. However, one must discuss with their doctor if they have certain health conditions or if they are taking any medications before undergoing the treatment.