Over the years, facial rejuvenation has become more accessible and convenient. More and more, adults are turning to non-surgical techniques like dermal fillers and, now, fat transfer. Here, we discuss how this process works and what you need to know to determine if it may be right for you.
Fat Transfer is Not New
People have joked for several years about how nice it would be to take unwanted fat from one area of the body and place it where it could do some good. Long before any of us were born, fat transfer had been performed by German plastic surgeon Gustav Neuber. At that time, the surgeon used harvested fat cells to treat scarring around a patient’s eyes. Since that time, fat transfer has been performed, albeit sparingly, all around the world. Only recently has it become common to perform the procedure routinely to address the signs of aging.
Today, fat transfer is performed to improve the overall shape and contouring of the face, both of which change with age. Common target areas include the temples, cheeks, under-eye area, lips, and various lines and creases.
The Fat Transfer Process
There are three steps to fat transfer.
- Harvesting. To obtain fat, the surgeon performs liposuction in a donor site. Usually, the body holds sufficient fat in the abdomen, thighs, or hips. Liposuction can be performed with local anesthesia and a mild sedative.
- Purification. Liposuction removes fat cells as well as some fluid located in adipose fat. Fluid is not necessary for fat transfer, so the obtained matter is placed into a centrifuge to spin out impurities.
- Injections. To rejuvenate the face, the surgeon uses a syringe filled with fat cells and a small needle or cannula. This aspect of treatment is performed just like dermal fillers; fat is carefully injected into areas where volume is needed. Some degree of improvement is seen immediately, though fat settles over time, resulting in a natural, plumper appearance.
Is Fat Transfer Better than Fillers?
With the development of fat transfer treatment comes questions. Is it safe? Yes. Is it effective? Yes. Is it better than dermal fillers? Maybe. The answer to that last question may differ for every person. Fat transfer is appealing because it can achieve permanent results. That is its primary benefit. Satisfactory results may be achieved in just one session, whereas dermal filler injections must be repeated. On the other hand, dermal fillers achieve immediate, predictable results with no downtime, whereas swelling and bruising may last a week or so after fat transfer.
If you would like more information or are ready to schedule your consultation for fat transfer at our St. Louis or Festus location, call 314.475.3700.