How Facial Fat Changes as We Age
Changes to the skin and soft tissue are the main culprit for signs of aging in the face. Natural aging and the movements of your face also have an impact on facial aging of the skin, as well as sun exposure, your skin care routine and lifestyle habits. Meanwhile, gravity slowly causes drooping in the soft tissues.
Although both part of the aging process, these are two separate sets of changes. As a result, you need different treatments to restore your youthful skin.
Solutions to Restore Facial Volume
When patients want to address the loss of facial fullness, the use of fillers such as hyaluronic acid fillers is the treatment of choice. Hyaluronic acid is non-allergenic and is fully absorbable. The aesthetic results are immediate and very natural, however the results only last 6 months to 1 year and areas of the face that may need greater volume may prove costly.
Dr. Perez now offers an innovative procedure for patients seeking a more permanent result for loss of facial volume.
The procedure called autologous facial fat transfer is a procedure that restores facial volume by using the patient’s own fat. Performed in our Overland Park office under local anesthesia and oral sedation, Dr. Perez can help give patients who suffer from facial volume loss a more permanent result many times with just one procedure.
This sterile procedure is done by selecting an area of fat on the body, usually the upper abdominal area is the area of choice. This is done with local tumescent anesthetic to numb the area.
Once numbed, Dr. Perez begins to harvest the fat cells with much care, maintaining sterile technique through the entire process. The fat is then processed for re-injection using special instruments so the delicate fat cells are not damaged. The fat is then prepared into syringes and injected to the target facial area using a micro drop technique to add volume enhancement.
Common areas of treatment for facial fat transfer are:
- Underneath the lower eyelid
- Nasolabial folds
- Lips and jaw lines
With the added fat volume added to the face, many patients can expect once hollow areas to be filled. Nasolabial folds improve. Cheeks look lifted and the overall appearance of the face can look more youthful. Most patients can expect to experience moderate swelling post procedure which subsides within 5 to 10 days. Some patients experience mild bruising, especially light, thin, skinned individuals or those who are prone to bruising. By 7 to 10 days most patients are ready to return to work.
Results are immediate with the facial fat transfer procedure, however as the residual swelling decreases and the fat cells take up in their new environment patients start to see the desired results.
It must also be noted that there is also potential stimulus given by the associate “stem cells” that are transferred along with the fat cells. Some patients will not only have improvement in the volume of the face, but also experience improvement in skin texture. Some providers call this procedure a “Stem Cell Facelift,” however most of the attributes are theoretical and difficult to prove. Still, many patients swear by the benefits.