When we age our underlying collagen and elastic begin to break down and wrinkles emerge. We also tend to lose some subcutaneous fat on our faces. This brings about a haggard, hollow, or even skeletal look.
Fat grafting is a natural approach to restoring a youthful look to the face that does not involve removal of skin, stretching the skin, or the risk of an unnatural looks that can result from a face lift. Fat grafting can be combined with a face lift, if that is what you need; some surgeons are also performing stand-alone stem cell facelifts that involve fat grafting. The use of autologous materials, which is essentially tissue taken from one part of the body and moved to another, is not a novel idea and has been used widely in treating many serious conditions or defects due to disease, trauma or birth defect. Although fat grafting and other types of grafting are still not perfect, they have certainly come a long way.
What Is Fat Grafting?
Fat grafting is also called facial fat rejuvenation, fat transfer, free fat transfer, autologous fat grafting or transfer, micro-lipoinjection, and fat injections. For simplicity, we'll just call it fat grafting.
Fat grafting is the process of taking small amounts of fat from one part of the body and reimplanting it elsewhere, where it is needed. This fat can be implanted to the lips, the nasolabial folds (the folds from the corners of your mouth to your nose), the under eye areas, the cheeks and other parts of your face and body. It is minimally invasive and can help correct problems such as acne scars and restore a youthful look to an aging face.
As an injectable filler, your own fat is almost perfect. It is soft and feels natural, it does not cause immune problems, and you already have some! The fat is harvested from some other spot on your body, such as you abdomen, and can be a by-product, if you will, of liposuction.
The main downside to fat grafting is that your body tends to absorb it at least to some degree. The amount of fat that is implanted and then absorbed by your body varies depending on who you talk to. Some studies have found that almost all the fat is absorbed, but there have been a lot of improvements in harvesting, treating, and injecting the fat and many cosmetic surgeons are reporting very good, lasting results. A lot depends on factors including how the fat was removed, how it was concentrated and treated, how much was injected, where it was injected, how still you kept the treatment area in the time right after treatment, and your metabolism and how well your body heals itself.