Structural Fat Grafting
During certain facial cosmetic procedures, fat transfer injections can further benefit maturing skin by plumping areas with this naturally derived tissue. As we age, fat tends to waste away from some parts of the body, yet accumulates in other areas. Fat transfer syringes remove the soft tissue from fatty areas of one’s own body – generally the stomach, thighs, and buttocks – and replace it in locations lacking natural fat.
Surgical lifting procedures including the brow lift and eyelid lift often involve a fat transfer to complete the facial restoration process. Patients who exhibit only minor signs of maturity can undergo a fat transfer procedure without any additional cosmetic treatments. Although the injections are commonly performed on lines and depressed tissues of the face, fat transfer also improves the look of other areas of the body, such as the back of the hands. As we age, this body part is often neglected but serves as an obvious indicator to one’s age, regardless of previous cosmetic work performed on the face.
Microstructural Fat Transfer Candidates
Those wishing to undergo a fat transfer procedure should schedule a consultation with Dr. Gentile at his office. The meeting is designed to give patients an opportunity to learn about the technique and how it is executed, ask the doctor questions, and learn if they may be a potential fat transfer patient. Men and women alike can benefit from the procedure if they are healthy individuals and understand the extent of possible physical alterations. Fat transfer injections can plump the lips, fill in fine to moderate lines and wrinkles, improve the look of inverted scars, and soften the look of aging hands. Patients must understand that deeper lines of the face are better treated by a chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing, or dermabrasion. Also, the fullness restored by a fat transfer is not permanent.
Undergoing a Fat Transfer Procedure
This non-surgical procedure generally takes place in Dr. Gentile’s office based facility. You may be given oral or intravenous sedation in addition to a localized numbing of the donor and injection sites for optimal comfort. The skin is prepped with antiseptic, and a needle or cannula pierces the specified site to begin harvesting the fat. The needle utilizes air suction while a cannula – the device that performs liposuction procedures – requires a motorized suction for the removal of fat. Generally, between two and four ounces of fat are removed from the body, but only a fraction of the fat will be used to replenish facial, hand, or other bodily sources lacking in definition. Before the fat can be re-injected into the patient, it must first be separated from the other bodily fluids that were abstracted by the syringe. The fat is then carefully placed in smaller syringes more suitable for injecting delicate areas of the skin, and then administered subdermally layer by layer. The donor and injection sites are cleaned and bandaged, and cold compressions are placed on the skin to minimize pain, swelling, and discoloration. The entire procedure rarely exceeds one hour.
Benefits of a Fat Transfer Procedure
There are many available injectable fillers on the market with well known brand names such as Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra, Cosmoderm, and Zyplast. Though these fillers can create dramatic improvements within the skin, fat transfer has proved to be a greatly rivalrous option. Your own body fat is deemed to be safe by new surrounding tissues, so the risk of tissue rejection during or after a fat transfer is extremely rare. Some fillers cause an allergic reaction when injected into patients, but with the autologous fat injected during a fat transfer procedure, there is no chance of physical aversion. There also is very little risk and discomfort associated with a fat transfer. Fat injections are available for all types of skin, and provide the most natural looking, often longest lasting results. The desired outcome of fat injections may remain for years, whereas most other fillers create effects that may last only months. Because a fat transfer procedure often takes place during a more extensive facial cosmetic surgery, the cost is often less significant than other injectable filler treatments.
Recovery from Microstructural Fat Transfer
After your fat transfer procedure, you may notice that your newly plumped skin looks very swollen, which occurs for two reasons. Manipulation and prodding of the tissue will cause the area to swell, as will the excess amount of fat placed underneath the skin. The overfilling of fat ensures that even after some of the fat has diminished, the area looks improved. The raised tissue will resolve in one week to several weeks.
Most patients report a minimal amount of pain in the donor site as well as the recipient site, which can be relieved by pain medications and cold compresses. Patients that have undergone this procedure should avoid sun for two full days following the procedure. If only a small area of your skin was treated, you may be able to return to your everyday activities right away; however, if you received an extensive fat transfer Dr. Gentile will provide a better estimated recovery period.