Autologous Fat Transfer (Face)

Facial wrinkles and creases are part of the aging process. They begin to appear as the underlying muscle, fat, and collagen begins to atrophy. This is an aging phenomenon referred to as “volume loss.” A reasonable strategy to rejuvenate the aging face is by methods that will restore the soft tissue volume. Of all the methods for volume and wrinkle correction, fat injection (also known as fat transfer) has always been one of the most intriguing.

Are you a candidate?

Fat transfer is “autologous” because the fat is derived from the same individual in whom it is used. The procedure plumps up facial features with the patient’s own fat and is a popular alternative to other wrinkle treatments. Fat injections to the face are a safe, natural, and nonallergenic procedure designed to recontour your face and provide definition to your eyes, cheeks, mouth, and chin.

Why do you have to repeat the injections?

The problem with fat injections has always been the variability in consistency and duration of results. If the fat injected into the face (or other body areas) does not establish a viable blood supply it will not survive the transfer. Often, this necessitates multiple fat transfer sessions to obtain lasting symmetrical results. This difficulty has made traditional fat transfer less popular than other filling agents.

Less likely to require multiple injections with PRP

With the introduction of PRP (platelet rich plasma), autologous fat transfer has entered a new era. Pioneered by Dr. Abuzeni in the late 90s, PRP Enriched Autologous Fat Transfer promises to deliver where previous fat injections could not. With an emphasis on muscle volume correction and three-dimensional cosmetic restoration, Dr. Abuzeni’s technique is much more than a new technique for wrinkle reduction. It is a viable and often better alternative to the traditional face lift for complete facial rejuvenation.

The PRP Enriched Autologous Fat is unlikely to require multiple injections and is more likely to be permanently lasting after the first treatment.

What is the procedure?

In this technique, tiny fragile fat cells are extracted and moved from one part of the body to another. PRP is added to the fat cells before they are injected. This highly individualized procedure is used to enhance specific areas of the face and to correct asymmetry.

Can you undergo autologous fat transfer and other procedures simultaneously?

Autologous fat transfer is often performed with Browlift and Blepharoplasty to rejuvenate and restore volume of the upper face and eyes. It may also be performed with a Midface Lift procedure to supplement the volume increase of the mid-face.

What will the recovery period be like after surgery?

The stitches used to close the incisions are usually removed within a week.

Are the effects permanent?

Fat transfer can minimize the appearance of aging for years; however, it does not stop the clock. As time passes, you may want to repeat the procedure. The transplanted fat cells are expected to permanently remain in their new location.

What are the risks of fat transfer?

Complications are rare and usually minor. Infection and bleeding are rare but may occur. You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following your surgeon’s instructions before and after surgery.

How do you prepare for surgery?

You will receive specific instructions to prepare for the procedure, including guidelines on eating and drinking, taking and avoiding certain vitamins and medications, and not smoking. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery and your recovery proceed more smoothly.

Where is the procedure performed?

Fat transfer is usually performed in our office-based facility or an outpatient surgery center; however, it is occasionally performed in a hospital.

What will the recovery period be like?

Although you should be up and about the day after surgery, plan on taking it easy for at least the first week. You should be able to shower and shampoo your hair within a few days, or as soon as the bandage is removed. Most patients are back to work or school in less than a week. Vigorous physical activity should limited for several weeks, including jogging, bending, heavy housework, sex, or any activity that increases your blood pressure. Prolonged exposure to heat or sun should be limited for several months.

Most of the visible signs of surgery should fade completely within about two weeks. Minor swelling and bruising can be concealed with special camouflage makeup.

Most patients are pleased with the results. Often, patients do not realize how much the loss of volume contributed to the signs of aging until they see how much younger and more rested they appear after this procedure.