Fat transfer, fat transplantation, and fat injection techniques are a highly specialized form of facial rejuvenation. Small fat cells taken most typically from the lateral thigh (leg) or the abdomen are harvested and then placed in the face.
There are several positive effects of fat transfer, which include restoration of the facial form. When we are younger we tend to have more volume in our faces and as we age our facial volume begins to decrease. Fat transfer acts as a method to help add facial youthfulness.. There are many components to facial aging and fat transfer represents one such method in facial rejuvination.
How does fat transfer make my face look younger?
1. Volume: Adding discrete amounts of fat to the face will help add volume. If you look at a youthful face, it contains fat. The idea is to add fat so that it is added in a delicate fashion to provide volume, without overwhelming the rest of the face.
2. Youthful cells: The fat cells can theoretically stimulate the surrounding areas, creating a more youthful appearance (Cytokines, stem cells, etc). Our bodies contain stem cells throughout our lifetime. These stem cells decrease in numbers, but are always present. Fat cells, particularly those in the thigh and stomach contain the highest amount in the body.
3. Facial Reshaping: Fat can help reshape a face to make it more attractive. Fat transfer is a three dimensional process. Higher cheekbones, improving points of facial emphasis can help the patient look more attractive.
4- Hormonal Effects: Fat transfer may have hormonal effects to the face. Fat contains progesterone and estrogen which are the hormones of youth in women. As we age, our hormonal supply dwindles. Estrogen and progesterone act to stimulate collagen and elastin and impart a more youthful glow to the face.
How does Dr. Shah utilize fat transfer to the face?
Dr. Shah will use fat transfer in conjunction with surgical procedures. Most of the patients seeking fat transfer in his practice will benefit from a tighter jawline, neck, and facial balance. Fat helps balance the result and add to creating a natural appearance.
Are their risks associated with fat transfer?
Yes, fat transfer can create nodules and asymmetries and irregularities in the face. Dr. Shah injects at a deeper level and uses what is termed 'microfat droplet technique' to minimize this from occurring. In addition, Dr. Shah utilizes a pragmatic conservative approach to fat transfer to provide natural rejuvenation.
Is fat transfer a good idea in men?
Fat transfer is not as effective in men as women. Hormonal effects can have an impact on fat in men. Men tend to gather fat around the stomach and have little around the legs. The fat in men tends to be more fibrous and not as effective in facial rejuvenation. In addition, most men have a lower threshold to have fat in the cheek area. Too much fat in a male face can look effeminate if not injected properly.
How is the fat processed?
Fat is removed in an atraumatic fashion with a handheld suction. The fat cells are then gently centrifuged so that the fat cells are separated from the rest of the fat. Fat is then specifically guided into various areas of the face.
Is fat transfer painful?
Typically there is little to no pain with fat transfer.
Is there swelling after fat transfer?
Usually there is a moderate amount of swelling at one week, which decreases in each subsequent week. Patients are typically able to comfortably be in public at seven days.
How long does fat last?
This is the million dollar question. Most fat will go through a series of stages. A recent study at the AAFPRS in Chicago looked at fat transfer with computer modeling. What they found was that fat went down at the end of three months. However, the facial proportion and shape continued to improve at 6 months to 18 months allowing for continued improvement in the face. It appears that conservative fat grafting will have some long term efficacy in creating facial harmony