What is facial fat grafting?
As the face ages it gradually starts to lose volume, a process known as fat atrophy. This tends to accelerate as time passes and can result in an unhealthy, fatigued or prematurely aged appearance. Fat Grafting also known as Fat transfer in Iran uses one’s own fat cells to reverse this effect, providing both structural support to soft tissues and restoring fullness to the face.
The procedure involves transfer of fat cells (adipocytes) into areas of fat atrophy. Adipose tissue is gently harvested from the lower abdomen, hip or inner thigh using small syringes, processed to garner viable cells and these are then transplanted in thin layers to areas of thinned and sunken tissue. Fat transfer in Iran is especially useful for restoring cheek contours and minimising creases and hollowness around the eyes.
Facial Fat Grafting in Iran has many applications. Cosmetically it is used to contour and energise the soft tissues of the face, but it is also used all over the body to improve the appearance and skin flexibility of trauma/acne scars, surface depressions, accidental damage/burns, and certain congenital conditions.
Facial fat grafting in Iran, also known as autologous fat transplantation or lipoinjection (lipofilling), can fill in features of your face using fat cells extracted from other parts of your body. When injected beneath the facial skin, it can fill in sunken cheeks and the eye area, reduce line folds and scars, and enhance lip size.
Facial fat grafting in Iran can give you results that look and feel natural. It can be used to optimize the results of larger reconstructive or cosmetic procedures or be used as a stand-alone technique for recreating a more youthful face.
. Aesthetic and structural advantages
By restoring volume to specific areas of the face (the midface, periorbital, perioral and temporal regions respond particularly well), fat transfer not only expands the skin and provides a lift, but also re-establishes the structural support of adjacent tissues. For example, a balanced revolumisation of the fat compartments of the cheek will stabilise the lower eyelid by restoring underlying layers, thereby reducing the tendency for hollowness and the formation of eye bags.
. Other physiological benefits – the stem cell effect
The fat grafting procedure also has a number of physiological benefits. For example, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction as the fat is taken from the patient’s own body.
There is also evidence that grafted fat contributes to the healing process and improves the condition of the overlying skin, properties which are attributed to the fat’s high stem cell content and its ability to form new blood vessels. Additionally, the effects of fat grafting can last for many years – although the procedure can be repeated if required.
Moderate to significant swelling may be experienced for 2 weeks following the procedure until the grafted fat cells integrate with the surrounding tissue. It is not possible to predict how many of these cells will survive, the extent being determined by genetic factors as well as the inherent characteristics of the tissue into which it is transplanted. Usually, a 20-60% survival rate is expected.
Fat transfer is not an age related procedure, and it can benefit most people who experience fat atrophy or desire rejuvenation and soft-tissue restoration. Patients are generally aged from their late twenties up into their sixties, and it is of most benefit to non-smokers with good general overall physical health. It is a minimally invasive procedure and the best results are seen in areas with previous fullness that have since undergone atrophy.
How is it performed?
Fat transfer, also called fat grafting, fat injections and lipofilling, is a procedure that uses a person’s own fat to fill in irregularities and grooves.
Aesthetic indications for undergoing lipofilling include sunken cheeks, the disappearance of fat from the cheekbones, deep grooves running from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and in some instances of lines between the lower eyelids and the cheek. It is also one of the most common methods used for lip enhancement. In addition, lipofilling can be used to smooth out all types of irregularities such as those resulting from poorly performed liposuction or injuries.
The necessary fat is obtained by a limited liposculpture through one or several 3 to 5 mm incisions. It is normally taken from the abdomen or inner thigh. The aspirated fat is processed by centrifuging, filtering or rinsing. Pure liquid fatty tissue ready for injection is the result.
The fat is then injected where needed. The fat is evenly distributed into the area by injecting minute amounts in the tissues so that the injected fat is well surrounded by healthy tissue. This ensures that the transplanted fat remains in contact with the surrounding tissues that must supply it with oxygen and nutrients.
During the procedure, both the donor and recipient sites of the fat are numbed with local anesthesia. If larger volumes of fat are required, your surgeon may also recommend sedation or general anesthesia. If you elect to use either, you’ll be required to arrange for a ride home after your treatment.
After cleansing and treatment with local anesthesia, fat is withdrawn using a syringe and cannula (a thin tube inserted into the body). Once the fat is purified to remove blood and damaged cells, it’s injected into your face with a needle. Slight overfilling may be necessary to allow for the fact that transferred fat may be reabsorbed by the body over time, reducing the volume gained from surgery.
. Donor area: bruising, swelling, tenderness, up to 24 hours drainage of anaesthetic liquid.
. Treated area: bruising, swelling (especially the lips if treated), and tenderness.
The areas that have been treated will be rather swollen immediately after the operation, especially the lips if they have been treated. It is therefore important to use a cold pack and a compress in the first few hours to minimize the swelling. A cold pack is a freezer bag filled with ice cubes and water.
The swelling will increase until about the third day, but will then gradually subside. After about a week to ten days patients feel confident about going out and resuming a normal social life. If any bruises have developed, they might remain visible for a little longer but can be hidden reasonably well with makeup.
Patients should have a check-up with the surgeon after five to seven days and again three weeks later. By then most of the swelling will have subsided, but the correction may still look rather exaggerated. Surgeons usually over-correct, which means injecting more fat than is actually needed because 25 to 30% of the transplanted fat cells do not survive. The final result is assessed after three months. The surgeon will then take photographs to be compared with those taken before the procedure. A second session may be scheduled to top up any shortfall in volume.
Post operatively it is important that the patient minimises pressure to the grafted areas and keeps the face warm by avoiding cool outside conditions for at least a week. A high carbohydrate intake for four weeks post-surgery helps with graft take (thought to be mediated through the actions of insulin-like growth factor).
It is important to limit patients’ immediate post-operative expectations – it is usual for them to appear swollen and red for two to three weeks following surgery and telling them that they should not expect to see any indication of how they will ultimately look until after the three-week mark is important. Volume changes are normally apparent up four months post procedure, with the final outcome being visible by six months.
Most patients resume normal activity the same day as surgery. Patients who had a higher volume of fat transferred may need a brief recovery period. Expect some swelling, bruising, or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity will depend on the size and location of each area. Avoid time in the sun until redness and bruising subsides — this usually takes about 48 hours. Makeup with sunblock protection can help conceal your condition. In some cases, swelling, and puffiness in the recipient site lasts several weeks, especially if a large area was filled.
While some patients report results lasting one year or more, the majority of patients find that at least half of the injected fullness disappears within six months. Therefore, repeated injections may be necessary. Typically two to three injections are performed in a given area to achieve the desired effect. Your surgeon will advise you on how to maintain your results with repeat treatments.
The transferred fat cells will continue to live in the area in which they were injected, establishing a blood supply and behaving like any other fat cell. This means that if a significant amount of weight is gained or lost, these cells could expand or shrink, affecting the overall results of the procedure. This is why patients are encouraged to be at a stable weight before the procedure, and maintain that weight following surgery, in order to preserve results.