Facial Fat Transfer
Through the natural aging process and the effects of gravity, we experience a breakdown in collagen which leads to less of the glowing, plump skin we associate with youth.
Though many people look to injectable fillers to restore this volume, redistributing fat from a donor area to the face can be an excellent way to improve the signs of aging and is one of the most effective tools in facial rejuvenation.
Facial fat transfer, as it’s known, has gained immense popularity in the past decade for its long-term results – a 2017 study found an 81% satisfaction rate with facial fat transfer patients. New, innovative technologies such as Dermapose have further enhanced the success of the procedure and allow for even more dynamic control over the outcome. Dr. Kaplan uses facial fat transfer to artistically sculpt the face by volumizing sunken areas which require density and creates definition for those looking to add soft, contoured structure to the face.
What Happens During Facial Fat Transfer?
The process of facial fat transfer involves removing fat from one area of the body and distributing it to another to restore volume. To harvest the fat, Dr. Kaplan uses a minor liposuction technique to extract fat from an area of the body that is naturally rich in fat cells. This is usually the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs, but can be elsewhere depending on the patient’s anatomy.
Unlike traditional liposuction, the fat removed for transferring is treated very carefully to ensure it has the best chance of survival when injected back into the desired area. Once it’s been removed, the donor fat is prepared for transferring through a gentle purification process.
Fat is then strategically injected into the areas of the face which require more volume. Dr. Kaplan takes a unique approach to each patient and no two transfers are the same, but common areas that see improvement from facial fat transfer include the cheeks, nasolabial folds, and temples.
Once the transfer is complete, the fat naturally embeds into the tissue of the face and will develop its own blood supply to survive. Facial fat transfer is often combined with additional procedures to emphasize the result. In particular, a facelift works wonderfully as a complementary surgery and 85% of cosmetic surgeons like to combine the two, as reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
How Is Fat Transferred To The Face?
Dr. Kaplan uses two techniques to transfer the harvested fat into the face, depending on the patient’s desired result and personalized requirements.
Dermapose is an innovative new fat transfer system that works by processing harvested fat into microfat, making it easier to inject with a smaller syringe. As Dermapose maximizes revascularization and nutrient exposure, it enhances the chance of fat survival and provides an excellent volumizing structure. For patients that require small volume fat transfers, Dermapose is a fantastic option.
Classic Fat Transfer
Using a small cannula, Dr. Kaplan reinjects the harvested fat into the face to rejuvenate and create shapely contours. With this technique, Dr. Kaplan can use a higher volume of fat to fill defects, restore volume and create definition for areas of the face that benefit from lots of soft tissue, especially those which may have sunken with age.
Why Choose Facial Fat Transfer Instead of Injectable Fillers?
Most commonly, injectable fillers are made from substances such as hyaluronic acid and are broken down by the body over several months or years, depending on the filler used. Fat transfer is a much longer-term procedure and results can even be permanent in some patients.
As facial fat transfer uses your own body’s material, the procedure can yield more natural results than fillers and is associated with a lower risk of allergic reaction. Some patients find the idea of using their own fat much more desirable, with the added benefit that they can remove a small amount of fat from an area in the body they don’t want it.
As facial fat transfer is a significantly more intricate procedure than injecting dermal fillers, the expertise of a highly-skilled surgeon like Dr. Kaplan is crucial to producing natural, youthful-looking results with longevity.
When Can You See Results From Facial Fat Transfer?
The facial fat transfer takes around nine months to see the final result. This is due to some of the transferred fat dying off during the healing process, which is completely normal and we expect to happen. Several factors determine the survival rate of the fat once it’s been injected, some of which include age, genetics, and how well aftercare is followed.
Are Results From Facial Fat Transfer Permanent?
In some patients, facial fat transfer can be permanent. As the newly transferred fat will act as it does in any other area of the body, it’s important to remember that significant weight gain or loss may affect the long-term result.
What Is The Recovery Process of Facial Fat Transfer?
We recommend patients take one week off work following their procedure to recover from the typical redness, bruising, and swelling that’s expected. Recovery time is often dependent on which area of the face the procedure is used, with areas like the lips requiring more downtime than others. As fat transfer works by sculpting the face in the places each patient needs, The Kaplan Center team will provide personalized recovery guidelines on when you can expect swelling to subside. After a week, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities but we advise waiting a little longer for taking part in rigorous exercise.
Dr. Kaplan generally recommends patients take time to rest, stay hydrated and be careful when sleeping while recovering. We advise patients to sleep with an elevated pillow for up to four weeks following surgery to help reduce swelling and avoid sleeping on any areas where the fat transfer has taken place. Unlike in other procedures, Dr. Kaplan doesn’t advise patients to use ice to reduce residual swelling during the recovery process. This is because the transferred fat can be temporarily sensitive to temperature and we want to ensure it’s got the best chance of survival. Patients must not smoke during the recovery process, as smoking reduces blood flow to the cells and can harm the chance of the transferred fat surviving.