One of the most significant changes I’ve witnessed during my career is the emergence of effective nonsurgical aesthetic treatments such as injectables. Synthetic injectable products, (e.g., JUVÉDERM®), don’t require allergy testing and are more advanced and longer lasting than ever. At my Chicago plastic surgery practice, though, I often favor fat transfer as a more effective way to restore a more youthful appearance.
As one of the plastic surgeons who pioneered the use of fat transfer (also called fat grafting) for aesthetic purposes, I’ve performed the technique thousands of times to treat a range of facial cosmetic concerns. Below, I explain how I use fat as a filler in different areas of the face and the unique benefits provided by this technique.
Hollows or bags under the eyes: Men and women who come to my practice considering lower eyelid surgery because hollows or undereye bags make them appear tired all the time, may actually benefit from fat transfer or dermal fillers. Fat grafting is especially useful for correcting bags under the eyes.
Scarring: Fat transfer is an excellent option for elevating a sunken scar. It’s important that a patient chooses a plastic surgeon with experience performing fat transfer procedures because the technique used is important. Getting optimal results sometimes requires more than one transfer. Fat grafting or fillers can help smooth pitted acne scars, especially when combined with CO2 laser skin treatments.
Loss of volume in cheeks: Plastic surgeons figured out years ago that wrinkles and skin damage weren’t the only reasons for facial aging. The loss of volume, especially in the cheek area, creates a sunken appearance that makes us look older than we are. For many women and men under 50, injecting fat or specialized fillers, such as JUVÉDERM VOLUMA®, into the cheeks can produce a lifted, more youthful appearance.
Thin Lips: Lip enhancement is currently popular among younger women, but thinning lips is one of the most common signs of aging. Even though there are now dermal fillers, such as JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA®, that are specially formulated for lip augmentation, fat transfer, when injected properly, can create fuller, contoured lips with longer-lasting results. Fat is a softer, smoother filler than the synthetic fillers now available.
Deep wrinkles: Using either fat grafting or dermal fillers is one of the best ways to minimize deep wrinkles, such as nasolabial folds, that gradually develop as we get older. Combining fat grafting, to restore volume, with fillers in other areas of the face can create the comprehensive results most patients desire.
As a complement to other facial plastic surgery procedures: I was among the first plastic surgeons to see the benefits of using the fat transfer technique to enhance the results of facial plastic surgery. I use fat to refine the results of facelift surgery by adding volume, and during blepharoplasty as a finishing touch, among other procedures.
I’ve spent more than 20 years of my career working to perfect the art of fat grafting for aesthetic purposes, either as a standalone procedure or to complement surgical procedures. Fat is a completely natural way to restore lost volume, with the results lasting much longer when compared to synthetic fillers.