Micro Fat Transfer
Fat Transfer is one of the most popular and common procedures we perform at Carmel Valley Facial Plastic Surgery. It is essentially the cornerstone of our facial rejuvenation program. The main reason for this is that it is extremely effective and the results are permanent. We perform this procedure alone or in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation procedures such as facelifts and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). The key to success is highly based on the surgeon’s experience and technical abilities. Dr. Karam is among the most experienced fat transfer surgeons in the country.
The Problem: As we age, the layer of fat under our facial skin begins to thin. This causes the face to look deflated and drawn when compared to the full roundness of a younger face. Especially around the eyes, hollows and contour changes leave the face looking older and more tired. Volume loss is one of the earliest signs of aging. It starts to occur in the mid 30’s and continues to progress. Until recently, this component of facial aging was overlooked. We are now realizing what a major contribution volume makes to looking younger, healthier and more energetic.
Dr. Karam’s wife! 3 years following full face fat transfer. The results represent the lasting and continued rejuvenation effect of fat transfer.
The Treatment: One of the old dictums in plastic surgery is “replace like with like.” When it comes to facial volume loss, micro fat transfer is the treatment of choice. A gentle liposuction technique is used to prepare the fat for transfer. Then the fat is then injected in the desired portion of the face, using a micro injection technique. This approach allows extremely small parcels of fat to be placed into multiple layers of the face. This maximizes potential survival and allows for optimal aesthetic outcome. In my practice this is done most commonly around the hollows and grooves of the lower eyelid region and cheeks. Another common area is around the mouth and jawline. It can also be done throughout the entire face giving the entire face a natural rejuvenation.
A photo of a woman who underwent fat transfer to correct her flat midface and lower lid region. Note the enhanced and youthful contour of her cheeks and most importantly the durability and persistence of the fat after 3 years.
Anesthesia: The procedure is most commonly performed under local anesthesia with a light oral sedation. Patients go home the same day with little discomfort and essentially no downtime. Bruising is variable.
Expected Outcomes: Generally, 40-60% of the transferred fat persists permanently. Although, the long-term efficacy of transferred fat has been documented in numerous studies results are extremely technique dependent. I encourage all my prospective patients to speak to past patients and ask them what their experience has been with the long-term results.
Post operative Course: Other than a very small incision at the fat harvesting site, no incisions are made in the face. The most common post procedure issues are swelling and bruising. This is often minimal and often resolves in a few days. Patients usually return to normal activity within a week. The more regions of the face that are treated, the more time it takes for the swelling to settle.