When aging patients consult plastic surgeons for facial rejuvenation, they often confine their thinking to skin tightening processes, exclusively unaware that facial atrophy is often a dominant factor for their aged appearance. In fact, sometimes the only rejuvenation process recommended by Dr. Eric Okamoto, our board-certified plastic surgeon, is facial volume restoration with fat grafting. There is no doubt that certain areas of our faces “shrink” with time. As we age, our skin loses fat at multiple sites, from the temples down to the jawline. A youthful face is full, whereas many old faces appear empty or deflated. Fat injections, also referred to as fat transfer or fat grafting, can restore volume and fullness to facial features and significantly reduce common signs of aging. With this advanced procedure, Dr. Okamoto can restore a youthful, vibrant appearance with results that look natural.
Fat injections offer a variety of benefits for patients who are looking to:
This treatment can be beneficial for both men and women who are looking to effectively enhance their facial appearance. Dr. Okamoto looks forward to answering all of your questions during the initial consultation. If this treatment is ideal for your needs and goals, Dr. Okamoto will develop a customized treatment plan designed to meet your expectations.
Fat transfer procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. During the operation, excess fat must be delicately removed from a “donor” area of your body – typically the abdomen or flanks, but almost any site with excess fat can be utilized. A small harvesting cannula is employed to ensure that the fat particles planned for transfer are tiny pellets that will increase their chance for long-term survival. After the fat is extracted, it is spun down in a centrifuge to separate it from the unwanted portions of the harvest. This fat is transferred to 1 Ml syringes to further enhance the chance of survival of the transferred fat by spreading it as small aliquots that allow for more contact to existing blood vessels. For some specialized goals where “nanofat” is required, the fat is filtered down to even smaller particles before injecting. When these measures are followed carefully, the transferred fat has the best chance to restore fullness. However, it must be understood that, even under the best conditions, not all of the transferred fat permanently survives. Several months after a fat transfer operation, when the surviving fat can be more accurately determined, an appraisal can be made as to whether a satisfactory result has been achieved or if another attempt should be considered to add more volume.
When fat successfully fills out the facial areas that have lost volume with aging, it is often remarkable how youthful the face becomes. Although volume restoration with fat injections is sometimes done alone, it is usually combined with other facial enhancement procedures, such as facelift or eyelid surgery, for a more comprehensive rejuvenation.
The results from fat injections should be immediately noticeable and continue to improve as post-operative swelling dissipates. Since not all of the fat transferred survives, generally an accurate assessment of the fat that will continue to live is at about three months following the procedure. One of the advantages of fat transfer treatments is that the effects can last much longer than that of other cosmetic injectable procedures – in most cases, the results have lasted for years.
Dr. Eric Okamoto will be happy to answer any questions you may have about fat injections and fat transfer procedures. Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule a consultation.
*Individual results may vary