Sometimes, nature leaves us with a deficit. As we study the process of aging, we know that if we could fast-forward ten, twenty or thirty years, we would see several changes in our facial tissue. Not only does the soft tissue of our face descend, it can also deflate. In other words, correcting the appearance of saggy skin may not be as simple as a little nip and tuck to a higher position. Excess skin or loosening of the skin caused by the natural loss of facial fat volume over time may require more elaborate procedures to correct.
Over the last five years, there has been exponential advancement in the science and techniques of fat transfer. This process involves harvesting fat from one part of the body (much like is done with liposuction) and treating it gently in an effort to purify fat’s natural stem cells. These cells are then precisely injected in a systematic fashion into areas of the face and body that require some augmentation or “plumping”.
In reconstructive surgery, this process of fat transfer has greatly advanced techniques to restore a natural shape to breasts during or following mastectomy, lumpectomy and/or radiation. In cosmetic surgery, fat transfer can be used in a variety of cases. For example, if your lips have lost their shape, several teaspoons of fat can be injected to restore a youthful “pout”. If you have had blepharoplasty that resulted in a hollowed out appearance, fat can be added to the upper eyelid creases to blend the transition from your brow to your lashes. Fat is also commonly used together with facial rejuvenation procedures such as facelifts, cheeklifts and minilifts to add volume that has been lost over time. Fat injections have also been performed to refine or improve the cosmetic outcome of breast augmentation or breast reconstruction.
The procedure of fat transfer varies greatly, primarily depending on the amount of fat that you may require. Fat transfer is often used as an adjunct to other procedures and may slightly extend the time and recovery necessary for the surgery. Fat transfer can cause a bit of swelling which may last for several weeks after the procedure.