Did you ever look in the mirror and wonder what happened to the vibrant, youthful person you used to see? This is a common reason our patients make appointments to come see Dr. Anna Wooten. As we age, many have dramatic changes to their facial features. The layer of fatty tissue just beneath the skin starts to shrink. When the underlying collagen and elastin begin to break down, wrinkles emerge, giving us a more haggard, hollow or even skeletal look. As this layer of support thins, your face shape can change. Your cheeks may flatten, or wrinkles may develop around your eyes or mouth.
Often, this is when a facelift or filler injections may be recommended by plastic surgeons. But, there is a newer approach that can solve this problem in a more natural-looking & longer-lasting way. This procedure is called fat grafting. The great part about this particular procedure is that we all have fat somewhere on our bodies that we want to get rid of, so here is a great recycling remedy. Fat grafting is a natural approach to restoring a youthful look to the face that does not involve removal or stretching of skin. The fat grafting procedure can be combined with a facelift, if that is what you need.
Essentially, you are replacing the missing fat tissue that was present when you were younger with other fat tissue from your own body. This is a more natural way to treat cosmetic problems for amazing results. Fat grafting requires less surgery than most other options and offers a quicker recovery time with similar results. This procedure can correct a number of issues, including wrinkles, hollow cheeks or jowls, nasolabial folds and under-eye grooves. As an injectable filler, your own fat is almost perfect. It is soft, feels natural, does not cause immune problems, and you already have some!
The main downside to fat grafting is that your body absorbs it to some degree. The amount of fat that is implanted and then absorbed by your body varies. A lot depends on factors such as how the fat was removed, how it was concentrated and treated, how much was injected, where it was injected, and how still the treatment area was kept right after the treatment. Other important factors are your metabolism and how well your body heals itself. To ensure a higher degree of success with the procedure, the addition of PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is done during the procedure. This PRP comes from the patient’s own blood and improves the ability of the grafting to succeed. It also shortens recovery time and allows for more consistent results over time.
Often patients wonder how fat grafting is actually performed. Using small syringes, fat is harvested from usually the hip, inner or outer thigh or lower abdomen. The fat is then decanted and processed in a special centrifuge, and injected into the desired area. When performed properly, a large percentage of this fat transfer will “take” and leave the patient with long-lasting results.
At the time of the procedure, a small amount of blood is drawn and centrifuged to isolate the PRP layer from the blood cell. Prior to injection, Dr. Wooten will add the PRP directly to the fat. This technique provides a very concentrated group of natural growth factors to speed up the healing, helping fat cells to become viable and permanent tissue.
To be a good candidate for facial fat grafting, you have to be in good health, with no active diseases or pre-existing medical conditions, and you absolutely MUST have realistic expectations of the outcome. Fat grafting, like any other cosmetic procedure, can make you look more youthful, but it will not change anything else about your life. We must always keep in mind that plastic surgery solutions will not give you a happy life or a better marriage.
It’s a new year and it just may be the year for a newer version of you! Remember that you are doing something wonderful for yourself by recycling your fat – and that is ALWAYS a good thing!!