Facial Aesthetic Surgery
I had a friend who had fat grafting in her face. Is this a popular procedure and if so why?
According to a recent survey of Plastic Surgeons, facial fat grafting is increasing in popularity.
The practice of transplanting fat by injecting abdominal or other fat to fill out cheeks, creases and areas that are sagging has become more widely embraced by plastic surgeons in the past few years. According to results of a survey by NYU Langone Medical Center researchers, the process of fat grafting is gaining in popularity.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest plastic surgery specialty group worldwide, and 309 randomly-selected members were asked to complete the survey.
Surgeons were asked about their methods of harvesting, processing, and injecting fat, the most commonly selected injection sites, and their opinions on the overall efficacy of grafting as a facelift procedure. They were also surveyed as to how often they used fat grafting in facelifts.
85 percent of the 309 facial aesthetic surgeons surveyed use fat grafting as a technique to enhance the results of facelift procedures designed to smooth wrinkles and creases, and eliminate sagging. Of this group, over 70 percent reported adopting the method within the past 10 years.
The survey results show that a majority of plastic surgeons across the country are adopting fat grafting as a standard technique to optimize the results of facelift procedures.
Researchers say the survey is believed to be the first of its kind to determine the frequency and extent of plastic surgeons’ use of the injectable fat-grafting method for facelifts. The survey results are summarized in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
As part of the survey, the ways in which plastic surgeons practice fat grafting were analyzed. The most popular sources of fat were from the patient’s abdomen (over 80 percent of the respondents’ cases) and from the hips (10 percent of cases). The amount of fat injected into the face to replace volume loss from aging ranged from 11 cubic centimeters to 25 cubic centimeters (about 3 to 5 teaspoons).
Surgeons typically add extra fat to compensate for the amount of fat likely to be reabsorbed by the body, about 40 percent of the initial injection. The rest remains indefinitely. By contrast, synthetic/commercial dermal fillers, an alternative to injected fat, last only nine months to a year and require repeated injections.
According to the survey group, the most commonly injected areas of the face are the cheek, the region below the lower eyelid, and the nasolabial folds, or creases between the nose and corners of the mouth.
Fat grafting is currently the only widely used method able to counter so-called volume deflation in the face, or loss of fat over time. The results of fat grafting procedures have improved dramatically in the past 10 years. Initial results were sometimes unpredictable and inconsistent. A deeper understanding of the facial anatomy in regards to fat compartments has led to refinements in fat grafting, along with more consistent and longer-lasting results. Reports of complications are rare.