“Fat transfer during facelift surgery is now routine” by Dr. Jag Chana
by Plastic Surgeon Jag Chana
A study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports a large majority of US plastic surgeons have adopted fat grafting techniques as part of their approach to facelift surgery. Although these techniques are now widespread in the US only a handful of the best London facelift surgeons are routinely using fat transfer during facial rejuvenation surgery. Studies such as this are therefore important in demonstrating the value of new techniques in advancing plastic surgical results.
Fat grafting involves transferring small amounts of the patient’s own fat to areas where a volume enhancement is required. Recent advances in facelift surgery have incorporated an understanding that not only skin ages with time but that along with the descent of tissues there is a loss of fat from the face with age. Replacing this fat enhances the results of facelifts.
The researchers surveyed a random sample of ASPS members regarding their use of fat grafting for facelift procedures. Responses were received from 309 ASPS members. Overall 85 percent of plastic surgeons said they used fat grafting during facelift procedures. More than 70 percent of surgeons said they had started using fat grafting within the last ten years.
The survey also collected details on the techniques used to collect and transfer fat grafts, including fat collection, processing and transfer steps. Fat was most commonly used from the abdominal area and injected in amounts typically ranging from 11 to 25 cc.
One of the main sites of fat injection was the cheek, where fat grafts were used to provide a fuller appearance to counteract the age related deflation. The area below the lower eyelids and the nasolabial folds was also commonly fat grafted.
While some of the fat is resorbed, the surveyed plastic surgeons believed that most of the transferred fat was still present up to a year post facelift. If necessary top up fat grafting was performed to refine the results 4 to 6 months post procedure. Patient and surgeon satisfaction rates were good. The results show the rapid adoption and acceptance of fat grafting during facelift surgery.
Dr Sinno and co –authors concluded that ‘ The results of our survey demonstrate most surgeons currently believe that facial fat repositioning in combination with volume addition increases the ability to utilise these two complementary techniques to restore the volumetric highlights noted in youth, thereby enhancing facial shape’