Is Fat the Perfect Filler?
It’s all natural and all yours. In recent years, autologous fat transfers have become a popular solution for men and women looking to remove fat from one area of their body and use it to improve the volume or appearance of another. The use of fat as a filler has become an option many patients are now looking into, but how effective is this option?
Fat as a Filler: A Quick History
A fat transfer is a surgical procedure by which excess fat is harvested from one part of the body and used to add volume to another. When it comes to facial fat transfers, also known as microlipoinjection, fat can be used to add volume to the lips and cheeks, and to fill out lines and wrinkles. While this procedure may sound new, it has been in the medical literature since 1903.
Part of the growing popularity of facial fat transfer is the opportunity it gives patients to add volume to their face without having to turn to synthetic, temporary injectables. Microlipoinjection is viewed by many as a more natural alternative because it uses the patient’s own fat cells to recontour the face.
Who is a Candidate?
As with traditional dermal fillers, almost any patient over the age of 18 can be a candidate for a fat transfer. Given the nature of the treatment, it is important that individuals have excess fat tissue in another part of their body that can be donated to their upcoming transfer treatment. During your consultation, your plastic surgeon will conduct a thorough evaluation of your medical health to ensure you are healthy enough for the procedure. Additionally, patients considering this treatment do not need to worry about allergic reactions because the harvested fat is their own.
What Are Some Considerations?
As with any other cosmetic procedure, there are pros and cons to facial and body fat transfer procedures. Understanding some of these considerations as well as doing enough research and talking to an experienced cosmetic surgeon like Dr. Donofrio can ensure you have all the information necessary to make the right decision for your health and aesthetic goals.
Fat-Based Dermal Fillers Have Long-Term Potential
Due to the grafting process, not all the removed fat cells will survive the transfer process. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, about 50% of grafted fat cells survive. However, these surviving fat cells will always remain in place – they may shrink or expand but will always stay in place. In comparison, hyaluronic acid, collagen, and synthetic dermal fillers tend to dissipate after a period of time
Injecting Fat Fillers is a More Extensive Procedure
Compared to traditional injectables like Juvéderm® or Restylane®, the actual injected solution must be removed from the patient before the process can begin. During a facial fat transfer procedure, fat is harvested from another part of the body, refined, then re-injected into the target area. As not all the transferred fat cells survive the process, it can take several visits before patients achieve their ideal results.
Another important consideration is that while facial fat transfer may not appear to be especially invasive, the harvesting process requires some form of liposuction to collect the fat that will be grafted. As a result, it is important that patients set aside enough recovery time after the treatment.
Facial Fat Transfers are Highly Versatile
In addition to having zero chance of causing an allergic reaction, fat transfers have been successfully used to not only add volume but to smooth the appearance of wrinkles anywhere around the face. For patients nervous about BOTOX® or traditional dermal fillers, fat transfer presents a more natural alternative for restoring a youthful appearance.
Learn More by Scheduling Your Appointment Today
At Aria Dermspa, Dr. Lisa Donofrio and her team are proud to help Madison patients find the solution that best achieves their goals. Dr. Donofrio has been performing facial fat transfers for over 23 years and is considered one of the best in the world having performed 15,000 of these procedures. For individuals interested in facial fat transfers, we encourage you to call our office to schedule your consultation and learn if this treatment option is right for you. Call 203-421-6674 today to learn more!