Fat Transfer for Restoring Volume in the Aging Face
Fat transfer, sometimes referred to as autologous fat transplantation, fat autologous muscle injection (FAMI), or micro-lipoinjection, is an alternative treatment to injectable fillers. This procedure is used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fold, replacing volume lost from the aging face.
Aging of the Face & Hands
Collagen, elastin, fat and even bone is lost in the face with age. Fat can be used to reinflate sunken cheeks, revolumize temples, rejuvenate the eye area, sculpt the jawline, and soften nasolabial folds and marionette lines.
The hands, like the face, lose volume over time making veins and tendons more visible. Fat transfer can be used to replace volume to the back of the hand, camouflaging underlying structures and giving hands a more youthful appearance.
Other Applications of Fat Transfer—Correction of Prior Liposuction & Facial Deformities
Fat transfer can also be used to correct depressions or irregularities resulting from previous, overly aggressive liposuction. Facial deformities, including en coup de sabre, and hemifacial atrophy called Parry-Romberg disease, can be treated with fat transfer.
Fat Transfer: Explanation of the Procedure
Fat transfer is an in-office procedure performed completely under local anesthetic. A small amount of fat is harvested from a donor site, typically from the hip, knee, or abdomen, in a manner similar to tumescent liposculpture
but on a much smaller scale. The collected fat is concentrated and processed in a sterile manner, and then transferred to small syringes for placement into areas of volume loss. The face (or hands) is numbed before the fat transfer. Very small amounts of fat are placed in and around muscle, bone, and fat of the face or hands to restore youthful contours in these areas. Repeat treatments are encouraged and often necessary to ensure a long-lasting volumizing result.
Side Effects with Fat Transfer
Patients fare extremely well following fat transfer. Neither the harvesting nor the donor site is typically very sore—any discomfort is similar to muscle soreness. Any pain is almost always well-controlled by extra strength acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Bruising or swelling may occur in the treated area for 2-7 days. If the lips are volumized, swelling may last up to 2 weeks.
How Long do the Results of Fat Transfer Last?
Ideally, fat transfer is repeated on several occasions to build a long-lasting effect. There is much debate on how the volumizing effect of fat occurs, and how long it lasts. Roughly 50% of the transferred fat may be resorbed, therefore patients may be overcorrected or require multiple treatments for full facial revolumizing. Results may last years—reports in the medical literature include cases that have lasted a decade or longer.
Why Choose Fat Transfer to other Filling Products
Fat transfer may be advantageous to other treatments (such as Juvéderm®
) for several reasons. The fat used for transplantation is your own, leaving no possibility for allergic reaction. Autologous fat transplantation is an economical choice when large volume replacement is needed.