In part 1, we discussed why permanent synthetic fillers are bad for the aging process. We also discussed how effective Restylane and Juvederm are in the short term. Well, what about those younger patients who do not need a full facelift, but have small problem areas on their face? What can they do that does not require biannual filler injections? The answer is STRUCTURAL FAT GRAFTING.
I routinely use fat grafting in my practice. There are a number of different approaches to fat grafting, and many of them work. My approach is simple and effective: Love the fat you harvest, care for the fat you graft. I routinely employ fat grafting in facelift patients, non-facelift patients, breast augmentation patients, breast reconstruction patients, and buttock augmentation patients. Results do vary between face, breast, and body, and can be influenced by the volume injected.
Structural fat grafts to the face are exceedingly effective. I routinely employ them with my patients. Results can vary, but fat grafts last at least 5-7 years, usually without any touch-ups. I use these types of fillers in my younger patients who don’t quite need a facelift, but also do not have enough finance to pay for continuous dermal filler injections. This is a natural and effective way to treat aging that actually works in both the short term and long term.
Unlike synthetic “liquid facelifts”, structural fat grafting is your own natural tissue. It will age with you. This allows you to continue to look young and natural, even as the aging process continues. The real expertise lies in the way fat is harvested, and in the grafting process. I have my own personal methodology for both collecting, purifying, and placing fat grafts such that the results are natural and durable for years. I offer it routinely to all of my facelift patients, as I find that adding fat grafting to a facelift creates a nearly perfect result regardless of age or preoperative appearance. As well, fat grafting is THE PERFECT FILLER FOR LIP AUGMENTATION. It is smooth, soft, and you are not limited arbitrarily by how much filler comes in the syringe, as most people have a little extra fat to spare!!
Fat grafting has exceedingly little down time. Most patients recover completely in 24 hours, and all patients recover within 72 hours. Less than 2% require time off from work. Bruising after grafting in the face does occur, but resolves within 2-3 days. Lastly, fat grafts contain natural stem cells. I am convinced that these stem cells improve your overall appearance over time as you age. I can’t scientifically prove that yet, but I am certain that the stem cells in fat have a long lasting beneficial effect on facial aging.
Where does structural fat grafting work on the face? It works anywhere that facial fat acts as a sign of youth!! Let’s take a famous young face and analyze it over time.
This is a picture of Sharbat Gula. This photograph was the Photograph of the Year in 1985, the year it was published on the cover of National Geographic. Let’s use her photograph to illustrate areas where fat grafting is useful.
Interestingly, Sharbat turned back up in the public spotlight about six year ago. When this photograph was taken in 1985 by world renowned photographer Steve McCurry, she was around twelve years of age. This picture captivates the imagination, and has even been called the “Afghan Mona Lisa”. Mr. McCurry then searched for his Mona Lisa, and caught up with her in 2002. She was 29 years old in the photograph taken below.
The sun damage to her skin is obvious. More telling, however, is how her facial fat has atrophied early to give her a tired, sunken look. However, she does not need a facelift because she does NOT HAVE EXCESS SKIN. She only needs replace what she has lost with a natural, living fat graft. Her lower eyelids have sunken, her nasolabial folds are more prominent, and she is developing marionette lines. She, like many Floridian men and women, have tight skin from sun exposure, but have significant fat atrophy early because of the elements. These patients are perfect for fat grafts alone. Below are typical examples of my patients with structural fat grafting. The first example shows the effect on the nasolabial fold. The second shows the effect on lip lines.
We have hundreds of photos regarding structural fat grafting. If you are interested in learning more, contact us at your convenience for a consultation.