The Fat Transfer procedure is known in the medical world as autologous fat transplantation. It is a minimally invasive procedure and does not require any traditional facial incisions. Fat Transfer involves extracting fat cells from the patient's abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere and re-injecting them beneath the facial skin. Fat is most often used to fill in "sunken" cheeks or laugh lines between the nose and mouth, to correct skin depressions or indentations, and to enhance the lips. Fat injection in the face can also make the skin look more radiant and help the skin texture and tone. Some believe that this process is due to stem-cell response that the skin undergoes over areas of transplanted fat. However, the stem-cell phenomenon is only contemplated and is not yet proven.
After the donor site is cleansed and treated with a local anesthesia, the fat is withdrawn using a syringe with a needle attached to a suction device. The fat is then prepared and injected into the recipient site as micro-droplets of fat with a small needle. Layering these micro-droplets during injection will insure smoothness and prevent creating lumps.
As with other types of injectables, some "overfilling" is necessary to allow for fat absorption in the weeks following treatment. When fat is used to fill sunken cheeks or to correct areas on the face other than lines, this overcorrection of newly injected fat may temporarily make the face appear abnormally puffed out or swollen.
Many patients are able to resume normal activity immediately. You can expect some swelling, bruising or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends upon the size and location of the treated area. You should avoid the sun until the redness and bruising subsides, usually about 48 hours. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sunblock protection to help conceal your condition.
The duration of the fat transfer varies significantly from patient to patient. Though some patients have reported results lasting a year or more, other patients find that at least half of the injected fullness disappears within 3-6 months. Therefore, repeated injections may be necessary. Our surgeon will advise you on how to maintain your results with additional treatments if needed.