Unfortunately, there are many facets to the aging process, and wrinkles are just one way the face begins to look older and more tired. Other signs of aging include sagging skin, a dull complexion, and the loss of volume in the face. Fat transfer is a great option for people who have started noticing this volume loss, and it has a few ancillary benefits that many other treatments do not offer. Many people are drawn to the treatment for its natural methods: using fat from one area of the body where it is plentiful and transferring it to areas that are lacking, typically the face. One of the most common questions patients have, however, concerns the longevity of the treatment. Is fat transfer permanent?
The goal of fat transfer is to add volume to the face with fat cells that will continue to live and thrive following treatment. While every effort is made to make sure as many of these transferred cells live as long as possible, some will inevitably die and be reabsorbed by the body. For this reason, results may change over the first several months following treatment.
Overfilling the Area
One of the ways surgeons cope with fat cell survival is by filling the area to be treated with more fat than appears necessary at first. This is to compensate for the cells that will die during the recovery process. Though the overfilled area may look strange at the beginning, patients will gradually see their final results as they heal and their transferred fat settles.
One aspect of fat transfer that patients often get excited about is the harvest process. This involves using a gentle liposuction technique to take fat from an area of the body where it is plentiful, and using it in the grafting process. While it is a perk to have some fat removed from the body, it is important for patients to realize that this harvest process is not for body contouring, and the results may not be as exciting as they may have imagined. The surgeon takes fat from an area that has a good potential for long-lasting results in the face, not necessarily an area a patient would like to have reduced with liposuction.
The Treatment and Recovery
Once the fat for the procedure has been harvested and purified, it is gently transferred to the face, using a small tube. The procedure is minimally invasive, as it involves no sutured incisions in the face, however the patient can expect some bruising and swelling following treatment. The overfilling process can also make the area appear overly puffy for a while as well.
Your Fat Transfer Results
After about three to six months following treatment, the fat that remains following treatment is likely to be permanent, as the fat cells will continue to live in the area to which they were injected. However, the effects of aging do not stop following any cosmetic treatment, and further volume loss may occur over time. Nothing can “stop the clock,” but you can usually continue various anti-aging treatments for many years to help offset the effects of advancing age.
Comparing to Fillers
Fat transfer is often compared to dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane, as they are used for similar purposes. So how does fat transfer stack up to dermal fillers?
Most injectable fillers are used to fill in lines and wrinkles, and while some formulas do help with lost facial volume, this is not their main purpose. Second, facial fillers require less downtime, as harvest is not required, and the substance is simply injected.
Fat transfer has a couple of advantages over fillers, however. Fat that stays alive after recovery is permanent, and will help enhance the face for a long time to come. Fillers, in contrast, last only a few months before they have to be replaced. In addition, many people find the idea of using their own fat much more appealing than a synthetic substance.
Is Fat Transfer Right for You?
Only you and a board certified plastic surgeon can determine your candidacy for a cosmetic procedure such as fat transfer. You must be physically able to undergo the procedure safely, and your surgeon must help you determine whether or not you are likely to get good results. Do not rush your decision, as doing so may cause you to regret the decision later on.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
As with any cosmetic surgery, the success of each procedure depends largely on the skill and experience of the doctor performing the fat transfer. Take your time when selecting your surgeon, and always look to a board certified specialist for advice. Dr. Edward Buckingham has been offering patients outstanding results in the Austin area, with a stellar combination of education, experience, and skill. If you would like to learn more about fat transfer with Dr. Buckingham, call Buckingham Center today at 512-401-2500to schedule your consultation.