The ageing process often results in the loss of fat on our faces, leading to a haggard, hollow-cheeked or even skeletal look. It’s a problem that affects men as much as it does women. Weight gain is rarely a good solution as you cannot dictate that your body stores fat in specific areas of the face, so there’s little you can do about it apart from turn to surgery.
Many people prefer fat grafting as a way of restoring volume to their face because it’s a natural approach using autologous materials (tissue taken from another part of the body). Your own fat is an almost perfect material to use as it’s soft and feels natural, is permanent and doesn’t cause immune problems. Fat grafting doesn’t involve the removal or stretching of the facial skin.
Fat grafting is a good option if you want to restore volume to your face, rather than achieve a tightening, of the skin. The treatment can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or combined with a facelift. While the effects can be long-lasting, fat can be absorbed by the body in the immediate aftermath of treatment or over the ensuing months, so there is a risk that you may not get the result you would like.
What we do is harvest fat from some other parts of your body, such as your buttocks or abdomen, and use it as an injectable filler in the areas of your face you wish to be treated.
You’ll be given an oral sedative and will receive injections of sterile saline, lidocaine and possibly adrenaline. If you are having liposuction for body contouring and will be having some of that suctioned fat injected, you can expect to go under general anaesthesia, otherwise a local anaesthetic will be administered.
Once the fat has been removed it must be placed in a centrifuge to remove blood and other fluid along with any damaged cells as whole, healthy fat cells are best for re-implantation. The healthy fat is then injected into the face using a smaller, finer syringe.
To ensure a smooth recovery, prepare to take it easy, at least for a few hours. Ideally you should try not to move the treated area as this will give the re-implanted fat cells a better chance to thrive. You shouldn’t wear cosmetics until at least the day after your treatment.
Ice packs should not be used on the affected area as these can lead to damage. You should expect to have mild to moderate bruising and some swelling which could last up to 4 weeks.
You will need to attend a follow-up appointment 6 – 8 weeks after treatment when most of the swelling has subsided and the early results can be evaluated. If further treatment is necessary you will need to wait around 3 months to allow all swelling to go down and the enable the blood vessels to grow to support any new fat grafts.
Yes, it’s possible to combine treatments. Once we understand the results you would like to achieve and have the opportunity to assess your face we will be able to provide advice and guidance on the best course of treatment.
Botox is NOT a filler. It is a paralysing agent that takes away facial wrinkles by preventing muscles from moving. Fat grafts are safer and more subtle than artificial fillers and, whilst they are slightly less reliable in terms of volume retention, they can be much more natural and long lasting
Everyone will absorb some or all of the fat although it’s not possible to tell how quickly this will happen before you have surgery. Smoking and other medical conditions reduce the body’s ability to retain the grafts.
Yes, we always seek a natural look unless you specify otherwise.