Many of us are trying to lose fat, but fat is a natural part of our bodies, and sometimes if it’s in the right place it can give us the shape we want. As we age, our midsection may gain extra weight while our face tends to lose it. This is what causes our faces to look withered and aged, and it can start as early as our mid-30s. To give your face more volume, a fat transfer, a surgical procedure that’ll rejuvenate your face by replacing the fat, may be considered.
Signs You Need a Fat Transfer
You have nasolabial folds, which are what most of us call“laugh lines.” These areas may not have been affected by laughter though, instead, uneven distribution has created a descent in the midface where the cheeks are.
The more our faces age, the more the midface region loses its fat and therefore its volume. In addition, with the loss and descent of facial fat, the tear trough area becomes more distinguished. The tear trough is the valley that runs from the inner corner of the lower eyelid to the junction between the cheek and the lower eyelid. The loss of facial fat combined with lower eyelid bags can pronounce the tear trough, and through the thin eyelid skin you can sometimes see the rim of the orbital bone.
Another area affected by the loss of facial fat is the temple, making it look hollow andaging the face.
Good News for the Midface, Tear Trough Area, and Temples
Since the midface, tear trough, and temples have a good blood supply, fat transfers to these parts of the face are likely to be successful. Wherever there is a good blood supply, fat survives the best. The other places where Dr. Bustillo can perform fat transfers are the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and the pre-jowl areas. The blood supply isn’t as good here, so fat transfers have a lower survival rate.
The survival of the transferred fat depends largely on it obtaining this good blood supply –that’s why only around 50 percent of the fat that’s transferred usually thrives. But note that more fat can survive depending on where it has been transferred.
The Fat Transfer Surgery:
Before the surgery, during the consultation, if you’re looking for facial rejuvenation, talk with Dr. Bustillo about whether a facial transfer is right for you or whether this procedure should be performed with another facial surgery.
The fat transfer can be performed with either IV sedation or general anesthesia. During the surgery, first the fat will be harvested or obtained using a small liposuction cannula. The fat is usually taken from the abdomen (an incision will be made inside the belly button so the scar will be hidden) or from the flanks. After that, the fat is processed and separated from your body fluids. Then, with very small blunt needles the fat is positioned into the areas of the face that need it. The fat’s placed at different depths inside the facial tissues. The whole procedure takes about one hour — the majority of it consists of Dr. Bustillo placing the fat in facial compartments through many small passes underneath the skin.
After the surgery, your face will be swollen for about seven days. The swelling will gradually decrease. It may take up to several weeks to see the final results because as the swelling decreases it may look like your face is losing some of the volume. That’s normal. During this period, the fat grafts have just started to regenerate. Around two months, the fat grafts will start to take and the volume will be replenished.
Patients who have had other procedures, besides just having the fat transfer done, may have a longer recovery depending on what was performed. If you only had a fat transfer, you may return to work and other normal activities usually after seven days.
Dr. Bustillo is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who has been practicing for over 10 years. He’s known for providing his patients with the results they want: Plastic surgery that looks both natural and conservative. For more information or to schedule your consultation, you can reach Dr. Bustillo’s Miami-based practice at 305-663-3380.