As we age, well defined fat pads in the face begin to atrophy as we enter our third and fourth decade of life which contributes to an aged, and tired appearance. There are many ways to help re-volumize the face and board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jacob Bloom in Chicago, IL can help educate you on your options. Synthetic methods with hyaluronic acid based fillers (Juvederm, Restylane and Revance) are popular ways to offer temporary correction of volume. Structural Fat Grafting, (commonly known as fat injection, micro fat injection, lipo injection, fat transfer, lipo filling) can be used not only to rejuvenate and improve the contours of the face seen during the natural aging process. When combined with other aesthetic facial procedures such as a facelift, neck lift or blepharoplasty; fat grafting can contribute to a significant but subtle, long lasting result. In addition to cosmetic surgery, fat grafting can also be used to fill defects caused by injury or previous surgery. Fat Grafting is used to correct deformities from previous surgeries such as liposuction, hollow eyes after blepharoplasties, and flattened cheeks and jaw lines left after a facelift. Fat can be used to rehabilitate traumatic injuries from automobile accidents, dog bites, or other accidents.
Outside of the face, in select patients fat grafts can be used to restore normalcy after cosmetic or reconstructive surgery in the breasts and other body regions. In addition, structural fat grafting can help correct deformities that are a result of medical treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or steroid injection.
Am I a candidate for facial fat grafting?
Patients who have a dissatisfaction in their facial volume may be considered for surgery if they are healthy without underlying medical conditions. To be an ideal candidate, patients should have excess body fat that can be used as a donor site. Common donor sites are the abdomen, love handles, back and thighs, to name a few. During the consultation Dr. Bloom will address your desired correction and evaluate your potential donor sites. As with all fat transfer procedures, only a portion of fat transferred will fully take. As a result, Dr Bloom will plan to add some additional volume at the time of surgery to allow for some postoperative volume loss. Once the fat cells are transferred in the body, they cannot grow back from the areas they were harvested from. However, weight gain after liposuction and fat transfer is still possible because remaining and transferred cells continue to grow and expand. It is critical to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime and avoid weight gain to maintain long-term results.
Details of the procedure and recovery
Fat grafting procedure to the face can take 1-2 hours. Facial procedures are usually performed as an outpatient under deep intravenous sedation with local anesthesia. The procedure for facial fat grafting involves first harvesting fat from the body. Since the volume of fat to be placed into the face is generally very small, we can usually remove fat from just one or two areas on the body that are bothersome to you. Obviously, this is an important part of the procedure, and we will want to design the removal so that your body shape is enhanced and problems are avoided. The patient’s fat is first removed via gentle, liposuction from areas such as the abdomen, thighs, love handles, etc. – wherever you have some extra fat to donate.
The suctioned fat is then specially processed by centrifugation to separate the oil and fluids to isolate the living fat. The centrifugation also concentrates the fatty tissue, associated stem cells and growth factors from the unwanted fluids and oil. The processed fat is then carefully placed into the areas to be treated using safe, blunt-tipped cannulas specially designed for this purpose. The refined and concentrated fat is then used to meticulously sculpt the volume depleted areas of the face. This technique can have a dramatic yet subtle effect, altering the shape of the face by placing miniscule amounts of fat at a time through three or four tiny entrance sites. This technique involves placement of minute volumes of fat with each pass of the cannula, ensuring that the grafted tissue will have ample access to a blood supply – so necessary for survival of the graft.
After your fat grafting surgery, you should be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks once bruising has resolved. During the first few days after surgery, patients should take Arnica Montana and use ice to reduce bruising and swelling. Dr. Bloom also encourages patients to remain upright as much as possible, including sleeping in a recliner or chair. The bruising and swelling will gradually subside over the course of about two weeks, during which time you can increase your range of activity; however, it is important to avoid increasing your heart rate, which may aggravate the swelling both in the donor and recipient sites. While immediate results are seen within a week or two of surgery, final results are appreciated six to twelve months postoperatively. Dr. Bloom will work carefully with you in the post-op period to help you manage your recovery process and enhance your ultimate outcome.
Why Choose Dr. Bloom?
Why select Chicago-native Dr. Jacob Bloom as your plastic surgeon? Because when it comes to something as important as your appearance, you want a highly-skilled, caring surgeon whom you can trust to make your health, your comfort, and your beauty his top priority!
Lead plastic surgeon at Bloom Plastic Surgery in Chicago, IL, Dr. Jacob Bloom is Board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. His knowledge of today’s advanced surgical techniques, backed by his years of training in New York and at Harvard University, enable him to develop customized treatment plans designed to match the unique goals of each and every patient, while delivering long-lasting results that will subtly—yet still dramatically—enhance your natural beauty.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of fat transfer with Dr. Bloom, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule your consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you!