“How facelift experts are using fat transfer to achieve the best results in facial rejuvenation surgery?” by Dr. Chana
by Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jag Chana
Fat transfer is a technique which has been used for many years since New York surgeon, Sydney Coleman, first described the technique. The technique is used for multiple indications both in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery on numerous parts of the body . In facial surgery it’s use is rapidly becoming more widespread with the recognition that ageing of the face results in atrophy of the soft tissue compartments of the face occurring from the loss of fat with age . It is obvious that younger faces have fuller appearances than older faces but this very basic observation has not generally been addressed in facial rejuvenation surgery until now.
San Francisco surgeon, Tim Marten, has been a big proponent of fat transfer used as an adjunct to facelift techniques. He has shown that fat can be injected to multiple areas of the face alongside standard facelift techniques to greatly enhance the overall rejuvenating effect and to produce the best results. Fat can be injected into the midface, tear-trough, temporal hollows, nasolabial grooves and the upper and lower lips. The advantages are not only the volumetric effect but the stem cell effect on improving the condition of the skin in many cases.
The process involves performing liposuction to harvest fat from another site of the body. This fat is then centrifuged and the healthy fat cells transferred into syringes ready for injection. It is particularly important to use the very finest injection needles to allow the fat to be injected smoothly with no clumps of fat. The availability of injection needles of less than 1mm in diameter have greatly improved the technique. The fat is injected very carefully in multiple tunnels within the face to allow the best integration into the tissues. This process is carried out first before the facelift in order to avoid injecting fat into the free spaces created by the facelift dissection. There are no extra scars since the technique is simply a methodical injection process but needs to be carried out carefully and symmetrically on both sides of the face.
The technique can be also used by facelift experts and its even more beneficial in secondary facelift surgery since further surgically over-tightening the tissues over an already atrophic face can easily produce unnatural results and should be avoided. In such situations fat transfer is one of the most powerful rejuvenating factors which helps to achieve consistently natural results in patients who have previously had a facelift and suffer from varying degrees of facial atrophy.
A recent survey of surgeons in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has shown that a majority of facelift surgeons now use fat transfer as a part of facelift surgery which demonstrates the importance of this technique. It is one of the most significant changes to have occurred in the advancement of facial rejuvenation techniques in recent years.