In addition to a variety of non-surgical facial cosmetic treatments, Dr. Alexander Ereso also gives patients the option of filling wrinkles, lines and sunken areas around the cheeks, brows and under the eyes with their own fat in a microstructural fat grafting procedure. For years, our team has been using this fat grafting technique at our Mountain View practice and we are convinced that this type of replacement of soft tissue can produce the most dramatic improvement in the face and other areas of the body.
Microstructural fat grafting performed at the time of facelift, neck lift, eyelid surgery and brow lift has become a routine part of facial rejuvenation. In younger, well-selected patients, fat grafting can be performed as a standalone procedure. Used as a soft tissue filler, fat provides a natural look and feel and can help recreate a youthful appearance around the eyes, cheeks, brows jawline, and chin. It can also be used to enhance the lips and reduce and soften smile lines.
As we age, fat atrophies, particularly in the face. Adding facial volume to the aging face is an important part of producing a beautiful youthful appearance. Fat replacement to the back of the hands has been shown to reduce wrinkling and the appearance of bulging veins and prominent tendons. When combined with FRAXEL® laser treatments to reduce pigmentation and sun damage to the skin, significant visual improvement can be seen.
You could qualify for facial fat grafting if you are bothered by the age-related loss of volume and definition. When evaluating you for fat grafting, Dr. Ereso will confirm that you have excess body fat to transfer to areas of your face. (Even if you are very slender, chances are you have fat somewhere that could be used as donor tissue.)
Dr. Ereso will also assess your general health to ensure you are healthy enough for fat transfer. Fat transfer is not indicated for individuals with certain systemic health conditions (such as blood disorders). If you smoke, Dr. Ereso will ask you to quit prior to surgery, because nicotine can interfere with your healing.
Fat Grafting Benefits
One of the main benefits of facial fat grafting is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are enhancing your features using your own donor tissue. Rather than injecting an artificially made substance into your face and worrying about allergic or adverse reactions, you can feel confident that your body will not reject your own fat.
Cosmetically, fat transfer delivers outstanding results. Your features will look naturally rejuvenated, as if they have always been plump and youthful.
An additional benefit of facial fat grafting is the contouring effect on the donor area of your body. Whether Dr. Ereso uses fat from your abdomen, thighs or another “problem area,” the area should look noticeably slimmer after fat transfer.
Also, consider the lasting effects of fat transfer. As long as the fat develops a blood supply, your body will not absorb the fat like it does dermal fillers.
One of the most important ways to prepare for fat transfer is to quit smoking (if you smoke). Also, discontinue taking any medications known to increase bleeding, including aspirin, Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Double-check that Dr. Ereso has reviewed all of the medications, vitamins and supplements you regularly take, and make any adjustments he recommends as needed.
Practically speaking, you can prepare for your treatment by arranging for a companion to drive you to and from the procedure and stay overnight with you. Expect to lay low for at least a few days while you recover from fat transfer. Stocking your home with easy-to-prepare meals, clean laundry and recovery essentials is helpful.
Facial Fat Transfer Treatment Details
Usually, oral Valium will be given to you approximately one hour prior to the fat grafting procedure. Intravenously, additional Valium-like medications combined with narcotics and medications to reduce nausea and promote relaxation will be given to you for your comfort. Fat will be harvested from the thighs, flanks, buttocks, or abdomen, by hand, using 10cc syringes and blunt needles. Sixty to 120 cc’s are usually obtained (two to four ounces). The fat is then centrifuged to remove the water and blood, followed by wicking fatty oils from the fat, leaving compacted yellow fat.
This fat is then aseptically transferred into one cc syringes to be placed in the deep tissues of the face with blunt needles. Four to five cc’s of useable fat is retrieved from each 10cc syringe. The fat is layered and placed in multiple planes to improve its survival. A light dressing is usually applied, and ice therapy is begun immediately to reduce pain bruising and swelling. One to two days after the microstructural fat grafting procedure, Dr. Ereso will see you at his office in Mountain View for a recheck evaluation.
Recovery/Results Of Fat Grafting
Swelling and bruising will occur but can be reduced by keeping your head elevated, applying iced compresses for three to five days or longer, and refraining from strenuous activity. Arnica applied topically and taken systemically with Bromelain has also helped recover more quickly. Five to 10 days of swelling is not uncommon.
Predicting structural fat graft viability with a long-term improvement is difficult, but it is realistic to think 30 to 40 percent of the fat placed survives, and what you see at three months after the procedure should hopefully last three years or longer. For ideal results, consideration should be given to having similar but smaller fat grafting procedures performed one to two more times in an 18-month period, to produce the best result.
Each patient is evaluated and treated individually. Individuals who are older or exhibit more lax tissues obtain a much better, longer-lasting, natural result if structural fat grafting is performed in concert with a modern lifting or tightening procedure. It is important to maintain or add volume to the aging face to obtain a youthful improvement.
It is highly unusual to experience lasting complications after fat transfer. Nevertheless, familiarize yourself with some of the potential risks, including infection, hematoma, seroma, permanent changes in skin sensation and scarring in the donor and treated areas. Following all your pre- and post-operative instructions from Dr. Ereso will minimize some of these risks.
Facial Fat Transfer Costs/Financing
The cost of fat transfer is based on the details of your individual treatment plan. Dr. Ereso and our team are happy to provide a custom pricing quote once you have consulted with the doctor about your care. We can explain what is and is not included in the total cost of your treatment.
For more information about fat transfer costs as well as financing options through CareCredit, please contact Ereso Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics today.
Schedule A Fat Grafting Consultation
Our practice is proud to serve patients from throughout the San Jose Bay Area. We invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Alexander Ereso to learn more about the procedure, the recovery time, and the results that you can expect.