For many people, the loss of facial volume is one of the most obvious signs of aging, resulting in sagging skin, a hollow appearance, and telling folds and wrinkles. Facial volume loss was only fairly recently recognized as a major concern in facial aging, but the procedures are quickly developing to help people deal with the problem and make the face look more youthful—naturally. One of the most popular procedures for restoring lost facial volume is fat transfer—a minimally-invasive surgery that takes fat from one or more areas of the body and uses it to rejuvenate the face. Fat transfer a win-win for many patients: they get the dual benefits of anti-aging and spot fat reduction. Some prospective patients do not understand the candidacy requirements, however, and believe that fat transfer can be used for weight loss. On the contrary, prospective patients need to be at a stable weight before undergoing the procedure. But why?
Fat transfer is a multi-step process that is fairly simple, but takes a skilled surgeon to produce good outcomes. First, the fat is removed from an area of the body where it is plentiful (such as the hips, thighs, or buttocks). This is done using gentle liposuction techniques that leave only small, discreet scars. The fat is then purified and washed so only the best cells remain for the transfer process. Finally, the fat is injected into the face to fill in hollows and wrinkles. Fat that survives this process is considered to be permanent, and patients can see final results about 6 months after the procedure.
The liposuction portion of fat transfer is something many patients are excited about, and no wonder. The procedure is great for improving “problem areas” of stubborn fat that are unresponsive to diet and exercise. Unfortunately, the procedure is not so good for weight loss, as only small amounts of fat will be removed, and liposuction does not prevent future weight gain. For this reason, candidates for fat transfer should be at or near their goal weight to get the best results from the treatment.
Fat cells removed with liposuction do not grow back, but remaining cells can continue to expand, causing weight gain. This is why maintaining a stable weight following the procedure is necessary for long-term results. Fat transfer is technically permanent, but the cells transferred to the face will live and establish a blood supply, which means they can behave like other fat cells—expanding or collapsing depending on lifestyle changes. Weight stability is important for fat transfer results—and it’s much easier to maintain those results if you’re used to keeping yourself at a stable weight before the procedure.
Only you and a board certified plastic surgeon can determine your individual candidacy for fat transfer. Your consultation will be a valuable experience for you, and help you assess your readiness for the procedure. Remember, even if you’re not quite at the point where you are considered a good candidate for fat transfer, that doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.
There are many reasons to choose a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedure. Fat transfer is a straightforward but tricky procedure, as some of the fat will not survive the process. Because of this, doctors must be able to predict outcomes and sculpt beautiful new contours of the face.
If you’d like to discuss the possibility of fat transfer at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, call our offices in Birmingham or Dearborn, MI (866-487-3223) to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Haitham Masri.