FACIAL FAT TRANSFER
This procedure aims to negate the loss of facial fat volume that occurs as a result of the facial ageing process, as well as improving the quality of the overlying skin.
For many years, plastic surgeons have noted that injecting fat into areas of chronic injury and unstable scarring (such as after radiotherapy or burns) resulted in improved healing potential and soft tissue quality, with the hypothesis that this was due to the transfer of stem cells. This then translated across to the aesthetic world, where surgeons noted that injecting fat (lipofilling) in the breasts or face would also often improve the skin in the treated area.
This has fuelled great interest in the potential use of stem cells in plastic surgery for both reconstructive and cosmetic applications. As these cells can change (differentiate) into any other cell type found in the body, fat is now seen by many in the scientific world as an exciting new source for the regeneration and recovery of the human body.
Fat is removed from other areas in the body by liposuction, processed to varying degrees, and injected into the face- most commonly the eyelids, cheekbones and around the mouth. The new fat cells need to pick up a blood supply from the surrounding tissue in order to become incorporated. About 50-60% loss of the injected volume can occur in any fat transfer process, but this is variable in different patients, with better ‘take’ rates in the face (as the face is richly supplied with blood compared to other areas in the body). Further fat transfer stages may be required to achieve the desired result.
This can be done under local or general anaesthesia. You will be allowed home the same day. You may notice some bruising and swelling of the face and the areas where the fat was harvested from. This should settle in about one week.
At about 4 months following surgery, any volume loss should have already occurred and the volume present at that point should represent the final result. If more volume is required at that point, a further fat transfer will be required.
These will be discussed with you during your consultation, including the risks that may be specific to you if you have a significant medical history.
It is important to take your time and consider them carefully. You will have the opportunity to return for a second consultation to discuss them further, as well as any other queries you may have.
Very rare risk of injection into facial blood vessels with resultant blindness or a stroke. (This is very rare and can occur with any facial injection, including that of over-the-counter fillers. To date 190 cases have been reported worldwide, with uncertainty regarding the techniques used in all reported cases.)