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Fat Injection as a Cosmetic Facial Filler

A medical procedure which involves extracting fatty tissue from your own body (autologous tissue), and injecting it into the facial area in order to decrease facial wrinkles, is called fat injections, fat grafting, fat transfer, fat transplantation, and microlipoinjection. The fat cells removed from your buttocks, stomach or thighs is injected into the dermal layer of the face, beneath wrinkles, adding volume, and smoothing out wrinkles from age, sun damage, disease, or lifestyle. This procedure is typically used for filling the face, cheeks, lips, chin, and buttocks.

Benefits of Fat Transplantation

Fat injections can help to improve lines and wrinkles in the face temporarily, and can last from 3 months to years, depending on the rate in which your body absorbs these injections. Common uses of fat transplantation are to:

  • Correct Glabellar lines or wrinkles between the eyebrows
  • Lessen forehead wrinkles
  • Correct wrinkles around the mouth area such as marionette or laugh lines
  • Make lips more supple
  • Plump sunken cheekbones
  • Fill in hollows underneath the eyes
  • Lessen the appearance of scars from injury or acne
  • Smooth and repair aging hands

The Facial Fat Injection / Microlipoinjection Procedure

Finding a doctor or plastic surgeon who is knowledgeable and has expertise with fat injections is crucial to the end results. After locating an experienced doctor to perform injections, your medical history should be discussed, and any medications that you are currently taking. The doctor should advise you as to whether fat transfer injections will deliver the results that you are expecting or not. Because the injection is from your own body, there is no need for a pre-test for allergy, yet how long the injections last will be dependent on the injection site, and how quickly your body absorbs the injected fat.

Fatty tissue is extracted from your stomach, thighs, or buttocks, with a syringe, or cannula (a thin hollow tube which is connected to a vacuum). The fat cells are then processed and purified, before injecting. Local anesthesia is used, and an antiseptic is applied to fat extraction sites, as well as facial injection sites. Injections are made under the wrinkles, in the dermal area of the face. This process typically takes from 30-90 minutes, with little to no downtime.

Stem Cell Face Lift

In this procedure, adipose cells, containing the highest number of healing stem cells are used for injection. After fatty tissue extraction, doctors concentrate the stem cells prior to injection, using two techniques. Adult stem cells are used, rather than embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells, because of their ability to heal. Culture expansion, which multiplies the stem cells is one technique, and takes days or weeks to prepare for injection. The more typical method is to isolate adipose stem cells, and combine them with collagenase, making a stromal vascular fraction (SVF), helping the healthy tissue to grow, and can be accomplished in a few hours.

Stem cell injection uses a similar procedure, yet may offer longer lasting results, with less swelling or other side effects. Stem cell injections are more expensive, averaging $5,500-$15,000, while fat injections average from $300-$5,000, depending on the number of injections, and the doctor administering them. Both fat injections, and stem cell injections compliment other facial resurfacing procedures, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or other dermal fillers.

Results, Risks And Complications Of Fat Transfer Dermal Fillers

Technique is critical when receiving fat injections.  In order to research and choose a doctor to administer fat cell injections, a review of his or her accreditation, experience, and reviews of former, impartial patients should be made.  Anyone over the age of 18 may be a candidate for fat injections, however the regular exclusions are if you are taking medications which would affect your body’s ability to accept any injection, which should be discussed with your doctor.  Results should be evident within a week, yet one should never expect 100% improvement, the results are not permanent, and injections must be made to maintain the desired effect.

Fat injections come from your own body tissue, so there is little chance of rejection, as opposed to other dermal fillers which use animal or synthetic substances to enhance facial features.  The most common side effects may be minimal injection site pain, swelling, bruising, reddening, and/or scabbing of injection sites.  It is recommended that you avoid excessive sunlight, but there is virtually no down time associated with fat injections.  Some injection technique mistakes may cause uneven texture, asymmetrical facial features, overfilling, and under filling.  As with any type of injection, there is a risk of skin infection, abscess, or scarring.

Fat Transfer Facial Injection Reviews

As with any type of facial dermal filler, results are dependent upon the experience of the administrator, and how quickly the body absorbs the injections.  Approximately half of the patients were pleased with their results, while the others were not.  Many of the negative reviews were due to the fact that the injections were made below the eye, where the skin is thin, and injections are rather superficial, instead of deeper into the dermal layer of skin.  Complications experienced were swelling for months, and some complained of overfilling in some facial areas.  Two things to consider are the expertise of the doctor, and the area of the face to be injected.

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