Age and weight loss related facial hollowness is due to the shrinkage of facial fat compartments and bone remodeling. This results in some of the tell tale signs of facial aging, including:

  • Shrinking of facial contours
  • Flattening of cheeks
  • Appearance of lines around the eyes and around the lips
  • Sagging of brows
  • Formation of nasolabial folds
  • Jowling and turkey neck

Soft tissue volume loss also effects the back of hands; resulting in skeletonized look. Restoring the volume of the face and hands brings back the youthful and aesthetically pleasing contours.

As can be seen from the photographs below, fat grafts may be used in many parts of the face to improve not only the deeper structures and support, but also to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. 

Micro Fat Grafting To Restore Volume Loss in Face. Dr. BCK Patel’s technique and results. 

What is fat grafting?

Fat grafting is a surgical procedure where a person’s own fat cells are harvested from one part of the body and grafted to another area, such as the face and buttocks.

Fat grafting restores facial contours, making it fuller and more lifted.

These days, fat grafting is increasingly being done along with other cosmetic procedures such as face lifts, neck lifts and blepharoplasty for a complete surgical makeover.

How is fat grafting different to other soft tissue fillers?

In cosmetic surgery, fat has long been considered the perfect soft tissue filler. It is natural to one’s own body hence there is no risk of allergic reaction, we are able to inject relatively larger volumes making it more cost effective and the results last much longer than other forms of dermal fillers. Fat cells are also rich in stem cell factors, which have added anti-aging properties.

Stem cells and Fat grafting. Whats the connection?

In recent years, scientific studies have shown that fat tissue contains stem cells known as Adipose-derived Stem Cells (ADSCc). The ADSCs have immense tissue regenerative properties and scientific institutions worldwide are attempting to understand the exact mechanism behind these  regenerative properties of grafted fat.

How is the procedure performed?

We employ a “micro-fat grafting” technique. The procedure involves three steps. First, fat is removed from the donor site on the body with a specially designed suction cannula. This is usually the lower abdomen, flanks or thighs. This fat is then prepared by concentrating the fat cells and the fat is then injected into the targeted area using a fine cannula. Procedure is performed under local anaesthesia . An average procedure requires around 90–120 minutes.

Recovery from facial fat graft surgery

Immediately following the procedure, the face is usually quite swollen. Recovery from this procedure is from three to seven days in most patients. Oral painkillers are prescribed for a few days. There may be some bruising which can be covered with makeup. Most patients are able to resume normal activities after about five days. We advise against undertaking heavy physical activity for at least four weeks post procedure.

What are the potential adverse effects?

Fat grafting is generally a very safe procedure. Common complications include post procedural swelling and bruising. This is transient and should not last more than a few days. Some patients may require a “top-up” following initial surgery. This is because the body reabsorbs some of the newly grafted fat. There are a few very rare side effects, which will be discussed with you at the time of consultation.

Preparation for fat grafting

Preparation for fat grafting (and any surgery) involves:

Avoiding blood-thinning medication like Nurofen, aspirin (unless for medical reasons), St John’s Wart, fish oil etc. for at least two weeks prior to the surgery. This prevents excess bleeding during the procedure and reduces post-surgical swelling and bruising.

Taking a herbal medication called Arnica for reducing post procedural bruising and recovery time. We recommend that it should be taken daily for at least five days before your treatment day. It is available over the counter through most pharmacies and herbal food stores.

No alcohol being consumed a day before surgery as it increases the risk of procedural bleeding and hence any bruising and swelling. Alcohol and cigarettes also interfere with the normal healing process, increase the risk of potential complications and prolong the recovery time.

How long do my results last?

As the fat is your own fat, although there is initial swelling, you reap the benefits from fat grafts for many years. All our patients comment on how much better the skin looks and feels. Although it is wrongly claimed that this is from stem cells from the fat (because no definitive proof of that yet exists), there is clearly an effect on the skin which is far superior to that obtained from fillers.

When should I have fat grafts?

We encourage our patients to have fat grafts in different parts of the face during all facelifts. With facelifts, the aim is to give an overall improvement with a youthful look to the structure of the face as well as the appearance of the skin: fat grafts allow us to achiever that. Furthermore, we utilize fat grafts in browlifts, upper and lower blepharoplasty, the Hammock lift, cheek lifts and treatment of acne scars. 

The series below nicely shows the power of fat grafts.....

englishsurgeon.com Results of a facelift with fat grafts and the use of the CO2 laser on the face by Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS, Salt Lake city, Utah
Facelift and Necklift with fat grafts, chin augmentation, CO2 laser to the face showing the nice improvement in structure, texture and appearance. BCK Patel MD, FRCS

www.englishsurgeon.com: Site of the "English Surgeon" website. Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS, Salt Lake City, St. George, Layton, Orem, Mid-Town, Utah; London, England

Originator of London Blepharoplasty, London Facelift, London Browlift, Patel Hammock Lift, SMURF Festoon Correction. Created by Patel Plastic Surgery - Dr. Bhupendra C. K. Patel MD, FRCS

Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS 1025E 3300S Salt Lake City, Utah 84106, USA (801) 413-3599 (phone/text) E: in**@pa*****************.com

Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS 585 E Riverside Dr Suite 201 Saint George, UT 84790 (435) 215-0014 E: dr********@gm***.com


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