Fat Transfer to the Face

September 28, 2015

Fat transfer, also known as lipofilling or fat grafting, was first developed in the late 80's by Texan plastic surgeon Dr Sydney Coleman, and became popular in the 90's as a facial volumisation procedure.

Living adipose (fat) tissue is harvested from one part of the body using a gentle modified liposuction technique, processed, and then re-injected with a fine cannula into the recipient site - which can be anywhere in the body, but most often It's used for the face.

The procedure is very technique-dependent: which is to say, some surgeons get consistently much better results than others. For this reason, fat transfer waned in popularity during the early 2000's, having gained an (unwarranted) reputation for unpredictability and short duration of effect.

However, recent detailed research has yielded improvements in operative techniques to produce reliable and long-lasting outcomes. In addition, we now understand that fat transfer has many benefits other than simple filling and volumisation. This is largely due to the fact that human adipose tissue is richly invested with adult stem cells - multipotential cells which can differentiate into virtually any cell type, given the right triggers.

For many years we have known that following facial fat transfer, patients report improvements in skin tone and texture. Indeed, even twenty years ago fat transfer was being used as a treatment for acne scarring. We now know that the stem cells in transplanted fat migrate into the lower layers of the skin, where they turn into collagen-producing fibroblasts which lay down fresh dermal tissue and initiate scar softening and remodelling.

These new uses for fat transfer sit well with our increased understanding of the causes of facial ageing. Where once we thought it was all about sagging, stretched facial skin, we now know that volume loss (both from bone shrinkage and soft tissue loss) are equally, if not more important. Not only is simple skin lifting insufficient for restoring youthfulness to most ageing faces, it is in many cases unnecessary - as a simple, well-planned and expertly-performed revolumisation with fat is all that's needed. Plus fat grafting has the side benefits of rejuvenating the skin's surface, thanks to the stem-cell effect.

The versatility, safety profile, minimal invasiveness and cost effectiveness of fat transfer all combine to make this truly a cosmetic procedure for the 21st century.

If you have any further queries or would like to book an appointment please call the me clinic on 9569 3511.




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