Autologus Wrinkle Fillers/Fat Graftings
Wrinkle Fillers /Fat Grafting:
The idea to transplant the patient’s own tissue to correct cosmetic imperfections is not new. Indeed, the benefits of such approach would seem obvious. The implant should survive permanently, cause no allergy or rejection, and carry no intrinsic risk of disease transmission because, after all, it is your own “flesh and blood”. Other short and long-term risks are low as well.
Autologous fat transfer (structural fat grafting, fat injections, etc.) is a procedure whereby a patient’s own fat is harvested (e.g. from the abdomen), processed and injected into the subcutaneous tissue to add extra volume to depressed areas. In particular, far grafting is often used to restore lost facial volume in the eye area, cheeks, lips, under deep smile lines and so forth. Since the procedure involves autologous (patient’s own) fat, there is no risk of rejection or disease transmission. Generally, some of the injected fat integrates in the treated area and stays permanently (for at least a year and often much longer) while the rest dissipates over a few months. Until late 90s, autologous fat transfer had been the only widely-used transplant-based procedure to fill cosmetic facial defects.
The fat is harvested under local anesthesia using suction and a special aspiration needle. Then it is purified, homogenized and treated to prepare for injection. Finally, the fat is injected under local anesthesia in the subcutaneous tissue in the desired area. However, due to many subtleties of the technique, the surgeon’s skill and experience are important. The biggest issue is that only a percentage of the injected fat takes hold in the treated area. Furthermore, this percentage may vary widely: from about 10% to 50% depending on a variety of factors. Many surgeons have their favorite harvesting and injection techniques and claim higher than average clinical longevity of the grafts. However, the factors specific to the individual patient and area treated play at least as big a role. If you are interested in fat injections you do need to find an experienced dermatological surgeon. You may have to undergo multiple treatments until sufficient fat has integrated long-term in the treated area.
Your own fat is surgically removed from your thighs, buttocks, or stomach, treated, then injected. You will need to have two procedures (one to remove the fat and one to inject it). Both procedures can be done in one visit.
Platelet-rich plasma injections (“vampire lift”)
Platelet-rich plasma injections (“vampire lift”) are another type of autologous wrinkle filler/volumizer. Blood is drawn from the arm, treated, then injected into the face. The effects can last 12 to 18 months.
Frequently asked questions
Is there a risk of allergic reaction with dermal fillers?
Fat grafting is a treatment option that is completely non-allergenic because the filler comes from your own body. If you are concerned about allergic reactions with dermal fillers, autologous fat transfer is the best option for you.
What is autologous fat?
In autologous fat transfer, the body’s own fat is re-injected as a filler. The fat is obtained through liposuction – either as a nice side effect of a planned liposuction for body contouring, or as a specific procedure just to harvest fat. Harvesting autologous fat is thus a mini-liposuction“ at just one body site – often the thighs – but fat is removed in a symmetrical fashion! Here it is often possible to kill 2 birds with one stone.“ The body’s own fat is naturally well tolerated as a filler and usually provides good long-term results, generally lasting more than 2 years because the fat cells become incorporated into the injection site. We freeze and store the fat that we extract; it is thawed for the follow-up treatments at 4 and 8 weeks, but also can be thawed at a much later date, if you need it. The main uses of autologous fat are to restore volume in the face, especially for sunken cheeks and around the eyes, as well as on the body to correct contour defects and add volume and finally for hand rejuvenation.
Where can the fat transfer be used?
It can be used at any area which is depressed and needs to be filled. It can be deep laugh lines on the face or a depressed scar of an accident, low cheek bones or small breast. It can also be used to rejuvenate the hands and feet where emptiness can give them an aged look.
How long will the fat last in new location?
Once transferred about 50-70% of the fat is absorbed by the body and 30-50% will stay for a long time and maybe for life. It means that additional procedure may keep on adding volume to the pre-existing fat.
Is fat transfer a safe procedure?
Absolutely yes. It is as safe as it can get, because it is your own fat being transferred from one place to another. Since no foreign material is used, no reactions are seen.