What is fat grafting?
I am glad you asked that question. Fat grafting is actually just that, we take fat from one area of our body and slowly place into another area. In this way, we can try to use your own tissues to augment or bolster your own lips or your face.
What is the history of fat grafting?
Another great question. Fat grafting initially was started years ago. It involved taking large segments of fat and trying to augment different areas of the chest wall, breast and face. However, the fat segments taken initially were too large. The only thing that happened is that all the fatty areas transplanted simply died and caused a great deal of inflammantion. For this reason, fat grafting fell into disfavor in the plastic and reconstructive arena. Only recently has the procedure again come back in to vogue. The reasoning for this resurgence is that the preparation techniques now are much more refined and therefore increase the chances that the tissues will be viable. Because the tissues tend to be smaller and more healthy, then the chances for the graft to take and become permanent is much greater. In this way, fat grafting affords the patient another option in regards to a filler, to fill defects in their face, lips or breast for the matter. The only drawback is that it costs a lot more.
How long do fat grafts last?
Interesting. Most data that has been published suggest that about 50% of the fat grafting volume placed survives and over time develops its own blood supply. By developing its own blood supply in the local tissues, it effectively becomes permanent. So the most direct answer is that fat grafting, once the initial swelling is gone, is permanent.
What are the possible complications of fat grafting therap?
Like any procedure, fat grafting involves certain risks. There is a chance you may have some bruising especially if you are taking vitamins, plavix, aspirin, coumadin or some other blood thinner. If you are, you should make the surgeon aware prior to undergoing the procedure. Also, fat grafts are applied subcutaneously and therefore may seem something bulky and bumpy after it is applied. To help with this, most patients are encouraged to massage the areas after the procedure so that the area is slowly smoothed out. Once these areas have been smoothed out, most patients are very happy with the results. If for some reason, some areas don’t smooth out, a chemical can be applied to help break up the small nodules so that the overall effect is still very positive.
How painful is the procedure?
Like any surgical procedure, there is pain involved. Most patients comment that they have a moderate amount of pain. Most compare it to being stung by a small needle or bee. Most patients comment that the pain is usually gone within minutes of the conclusions of the application. Following the procedure and fat graft application, most patients complain of facial or upper lip fullness.
How long do I have to take off from work?
Great question. The joy and use of fat grafting is that it does not need any downtime. Mind you that after the procedure we recommend that activity be restricted. However, after that the patient is usually free to do whatever they need to do. The “downtime” is usually just a few hours. Following this the initial swelling may take two weeks to pass. After this two weeks the fat grafts slowly settle and become a part of the face and the area in which they implanted.
Can I combine this procedure with any other procedure?
Yes. Because fat grafting is a facial procedure, usually patients tend to combine this with many other procedures such as Botox. In this way, fat grafts can be used to fill the defects in some parts of the face that make the face look “old.” The Botox treats some of the wrinkles, the ones affected by muscle contraction, while the fat grafts affects the wrinkle areas around the lips and the nose. This combination most often proves to be impressive.
Am I a good candidate?
Plastic surgery is not for everyone. It involves certain risks like any operative procedure. As long as you are aware of this fact, you can be considered for the procedure. However, in every case, the patient is best served by a thorough evaluation of their history, their body and
their overall expectations. You as the patient have to be realistic and cognizant of what is possible and what is reasonable. Trust me I am from Beverly Hills and I have had the privilege of working with many of the famous groups of plastic surgeons in LA. I can simply tell you there is no magic. We offer an opportunity to help you with surgical procedures in correcting what you may think is abnormal about your body. Also please understand that for many patients no surgery is needed; just a friendly word of encouragement and confidence from the local plastic surgeon.