We all have pockets of stubborn fat that are resistant to our most persistent efforts to remove them. That’s why liposuction was developed back in the 1980s, to target and remove those pockets of fat.
But what if you could take the fat from an area you don’t want it, such as the lower abdomen, purify it, and then inject it into areas of the face that have lost volume and could use the fat?
You’d have facial fat transfer, and you could come to Miami Plastic Surgery® to have it done.
How does a fat transfer work?
In a fat transfer with our Miami Plastic Surgery® team, the idea is to use the patient’s own fat to return volume to areas of the face that have sagged, sunken, and lost volume. Fat transfers offer an alternative to a surgical facelift (although the degree of change is not the same), but more often to dermal fillers.
This is a three-step procedure.
Your unwanted fat is harvested from the donor site. Once selected, your Miami Plastic Surgery® surgeon uses tumescent liposuction to remove the fat from the area. First, a saline solution that also contains lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the area. This acts to constrict the fat pockets, making them easier to remove. Plus, the lidocaine acts as a local anesthetic and the epinephrine constricts blood vessels for less blood loss and bruising.
Once the fat is removed, the fat cells are separated from the blood, tissue, and other fluids. The purified fat is then ready to be injected back into the target areas on the face.
The purified fat is now injected into the target areas with a thin cannula. As your surgeon withdraws the cannula from an injection site, a line of fatty tissue cells is deposited. In larger areas such as the cheeks, he may create a grid of grafted fat. Otherwise, for areas such as smile lines, the line may simply follow the crease in the skin. In most cases the grafted areas are then lightly massaged to provide a natural contour.
What issues can a fat transfer improve on the face?
The face is especially prone to showing the signs of volume loss. There are a few different factors at work in this. The main culprit is declining collagen production. Every year after we have our 20th birthday our body produces one additional percentage point less collagen. Collagen provides the underlying support structure for our skin, keeping it firm and plump. So, take away 30 percent when you’re 50 and you understand why your facial skin is now prone to sagging and developing deep wrinkles. The skin also thins as we age.
These are the usual targeted locations for facial fat transfer:
- Sunken cheeks
- Areas where fat has left the cheekbones
- Deep grooves running from the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial folds)
- Under eye lines
- Under eye hollows