Face Fat Transfer

Fat transfer of the face has seen a tremendous growth in popularity. It is your own natural product that replaces what has been lost over time and therefore there is no chance of allergy or foreign body reaction.

Fat grafting is a state of the art technique that is slowly eclipsing other surgical techniques. Fat from your own body is extracted with a liposuction cannula or syringe, usually from the abdomen or hips and re-injected into the area to be treated. It is used to increase volume, fill in skin depressions and wrinkles in the face but also to augment the buttocks and correct other areas of your body. When used in the face you can think of this procedure as a “Fat Cell Facelift” or as some have advocated but yet unproven a “Stem Cell Facelift”. However, scientific research has unequivocally demonstrated that stem cells (remember that these are your own living cells) are obtained from the liposuctioned fat and these stem cells are multi-potent and can transform themselves into new skin, fat, muscle, bone or cartilage.

Recently we also discovered that our fat has a much higher concentration of stem cells than our bone marrow and there are about 500,000 stem cells in 10 cc of extracted fat. Our fat stem cells are involved everywhere in healing. These stem cells can regenerate the skin and subcutaneous tissues obviating the need for laser or other treatments in addition to stimulating neo-vascularization thereby increasing the number of blood vessels.

Fat transfer is a powerful tool that can give you a healthier and more youthful look by repairing some of the aging process. For this reason Dr. Herve Gentile often combines this procedure with a facelift to enhance your results. Fat transfer and facelifts are complementary procedures because facelifts address gravity while fat transfer the loss of volume that we experience as we age.

Dr. Gentile harvests your fat from your abdomen or hip/flank areas. This procedure can be performed under local anesthesia only or with IV sedation and you are able to go home right away. You may or may not experience some bruising and swelling in both the recipient and donor sites but generally you can go back to work the next day. The injected sites will look fairly normal after a day or two but overfilling is necessary to compensate for some fat absorption, which inevitably will occur. The ultimate result will vary from patient to patient but you do not have to come back and constantly replenish although you can expect at least some volume reduction within three to six months resulting in a few patients possibly necessitating further injections.

The alternative for patients with no body fat at all is to use Juvederm or other fillers, which of course will require repeat treatments (see Soft Tissue Fillers under Laser and Other Treatments) and often will end up costig more.

Candidates For Fat Transfer

  • Loss of volume in the cheeks or face
  • Lines around the mouth and nose
  • Thin upper or lower lip
  • Scars or pock marks on the face

Types of Fat Transfer for the Face Via Liposuction

Fat transfer for the face via Liposuction is done by “sucking” out the fat from one area of the body and grafting to an area on the face. Here are the different types of procedures that can be done to give a suppler look to the facial skin.

Fat Transfer for the Loss of Volume

Fat Transfer for Loss of Volume fills in the cheek area, around the nose and mouth, and reduce creases and wrinkles in the face with natural fat deposits to create a more supple youthful appearance. You may choose to do this at the same time as a traditional or mini facelift.

Fat Transfer for Facial Scars and Marks

Fat Transfer for Facial Scars and Marks can help hide the appearance of pock marks, other marks, and scars on the face by using natural fat from other areas of your body. This will create a smoother appearance to these areas.

Fat Transfer for Lip Augmentation

Fat Transfer for Lip Augmentation can fill in thin upper and lower lips and decrease lines around the lips, to create a fuller more flattering appearance to the mouth.

Alternatives to Fat Transfer

Fat Transfer is the most natural way to fill in the facial skin, lips, and scars. However, sometimes another treatment may work better for you. Here are the alternatives to a fat transfer for the face:

Botox

Botox Injection (botulinum toxin) works by immobilizing the muscle on the face creating a smoother appearance by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. While Botox will lessen the appearance of lines, it cannot plump lips, fill in sullen cheeks, deep crease, or scars.

Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy for the face work by using a pulsating light directed at the facial skin. It will help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and can tighten moderately sagging skin, but it will not fill in lips, sullen cheeks, deep creases, or scars.

Ultherapy

Ultherapy, considered a non-surgical facelift, works with ultrasound therapy and imaging to stimulate collagen. This procedure will give a more youthful appearance, but does not have immediate results, as it takes time for the collagen to rejuvenate, and it does not help with thin lips, sunken in cheeks, deep creases around the mouth and nose, or with scars.

Juvederm/Restylane

Juvederm and Restylane can reduce fine lines and severe wrinkles in the skin, as well as, fill in the lips. Both Juvederm and Restylane are naturally occurring in the body, therefore it is extremely rare to experience any sort of reactions.

What To Expect During The Consultation

During the consultation for fat transfer, Dr. Herve Gentile will discuss with you what you can expect from fat transfer for the face via liposuction, and if a facelift and transfer, or one of its alternatives are appropriate for your ideal results.

The doctor encourages his patients to ask questions, bring in photos of themselves from a few years ago, and address any concerns you might have. Photos of yourself help the doctor have a better understanding of what can be accomplished. He will also show you before and after photos of other patients, so that you have an understanding of results.

Dr. Gentile will perform a full examination and ask medical questions to determine if you are a good candidate for any surgery. The doctor will then specifically examine the facial skin for elasticity, fat loss, scarring, and loss of volume. He will also examine the area of the body that the fat will be transferred from. He will determine which is the appropriate area for optimal results, as well as an area that he is able to hide the minimal scarring from the liposuction.

Procedure

Fat transfer to the face via liposuction is a surgical procedure. Whenever liposuction is performed an incision is made and the fat of one area is “sucked” out. When fat transfer is performed the fat is prepared for grafting and injected into the desired area of the face. It usually takes about one hour to perform.

Most fat transfer for the face is done with local anesthesia. Dr. Gentile will then make the incision on the desired donor area of the body in a well concealed area. Once the extra-fine incision is made, Dr. Herve Gentile will then suck out the fat. The fat will be placed in a decanter or in a centrifuge to separate out the unwanted sediment from the fat cells. Once this is done, the doctor will graft the fat onto the desired area of the face to create the desired result.

The donor area will be closed with extra fine sutures, and dressings will be applied.

Recovery

The recovery process for fat transfer for facial skin, like any medical procedure, takes time to heal. Dr. Herve Gentile will give a detailed and personalized recovery schedule to you. This will ensure a prompt recovery time. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within one week or less. While this is the normal recovery period, the doctor understands that not every patient heals at the same pace. He encourages you to address any concerns with his staff or himself during the recovery process.

Fat transfer via liposuction is minimally invasive, but you can may still bruise and swell. You will want to ice the area, avoid alcohol and Aspirin, and limit physical activity.
Within a week of the procedure, you will return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up visit. At this time, Dr. Gentile will examine the donor area, as well as, the grafted area, to see how you are healing. The doctor will inquire about how you feel and address any questions and concerns you may have. He may give additional recovery details to speed along your process.

Cost

The costs of a fat transfer for the face can vary based on the type of procedure performed, and if the procedure is performed in conjunction with a facelift. Dr. Gentile’s consultation will provide costs for each procedure.