As we age, our faces lose volume and together with it, signs of aging appear. Bags develop under the eyes, brows descend, jowls appear, cheeks drop and the most distressing, many wrinkles emerge. The effect of the loss in volume is comparable to a grape turning into a raisin. In order to restore the raisin from its original appearance, it must be inflated. Similarly, our face also needs volume to restore its youthful appearance. Here is where Fat Grafting comes in. The technique’s greatest advantage is safety, as the product comes from your own stored fats. When your fat is harvested, there is usually more than enough to be used on your entire face. When correctly done, it will become permanent filler.
Fat grafting is quickly growing in popularity, not only because of safety but also, because this procedure is performed with basically no incisions. A patient will be put under mild sedation, and the procedure is performed in a sterile operating room. Generally, it takes two to three hours to complete and there will only be very little pain or discomfort involved in this procedure. The recovery period takes 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the patient’s ability to heal.
Your Personal Consultation
Your surgeon will discuss possible treatment with your facial fat grafts during your initial consultation. He will tell you about the things that you need to do and how to prepare for your Facial Rejuvenation procedure using fat grafting technique. The consultation may also include the identification of the area to which fat will be taken and to what parts of your face it will be grafted. Your surgeon will also advice you to refrain from any activities that will slow down the absorption of fat in your face such as smoking, and if you are under any kind of medication, kindly let your surgeon know, for he may advise you to stop taking it. In order to be equipped before the procedure, never hesitate to ask your surgeon anything that bothers you in undergoing the treatment.
The procedure involves both the donor area (where the fat is taken from) and the treatment area in your face (where it is being put). Usually, the donor site is the abdomen or buttocks. A local anesthetic will be given to the site where the fat will be removed. You might think that your surgeon could just use a syringe to suck out the fat from the donor site and use the same syringe to inject it in your face, but this is not done like that. The fat must first be treated to remove water, blood, oil and any damaged fat cells. Whole and healthy fat cells are best for this procedure. After suctioning out a little fat, your surgeon then spun this fat in a centrifuge or treated it in some other way to separate and remove damaged fat cells and excess fluids. The fat in the syringe (which looks like a yellowish liquid) is then injected in the treatment area of your face using a separate smaller hypodermic needle.
When the procedure is finished, you will be brought and be monitored in the recovery room until you are ready to be released. Most patients are released for about 2 hours after the procedure is finished. Your face may feel tender, tight and quite numb as the anesthesia wears off and your donor site may also feel sore. Though most patients after the procedure do not have too much discomfort or pain, it is not advisable for them to drive. If ever you experience unusual pain, call your surgeon immediately.
Recovery and What to Expect
Bruising and swelling are expected, but can be reduced by keeping your face elevated, refraining from strenuous activity and applying cold compress for three to five days or longer. Five to 10 days of swelling is common. Predicting the viability of facial fat graft with a long term improvement is difficult, but it is sensible to think that 30 to 40 percent of the fat grafted survives. Significant results are observed three months after the procedure and could hopefully last three years or longer. For ideal results, you should consider to have smaller facial fat grafting procedures performed about one to two more times in an eighteen month duration to get the best result.