As we age, there continues to be a loss of collagen and elastin in our skin. This can especially be noted in our facial wrinkles and sunken cheeks.
Numerous texts have been written on ways to reduce these effects. They include reduced sun and wind exposure, healthy diet with adequate hydration, and fish oils. The cosmetic surgeon relies upon skin tightening procedures and injectable fillers to combat this “Sinking and Sagging” of collagen loss over the past “20″ years.
Hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyappetite are the most common Med Spa filling agents used to reduce midface wrinkles and atrophy. They can help correct small areas collagen loss, but for more dramatic improvements as well as longer lasting results, fat transfer is the preferred procedure.
Over the past 15 years, I have been performing fat grafting with the patient’s own fat. Just in the past 5 years has there been more attention paid to the fat graft. We have always noted wonderful results with these micro lipoinjections to the face, lips, chin and cheek. The tissues seem to “come alive” and have a “beautiful glow” after being implanted with the centrifuged fat.
Click here to see some representative photos of fat transfer.
The device we use to harvest and process the fat graft, uses state of the art filters to ensure the maximum number of healthy fat cells. In the column of the syringe, one finds numerous lipocytes or fat cells at different stages of development. “Our technique yields over one million pre-adipocytes or Fat Stem Cells for each teaspoon of Fat (5ml of purified fat). These mesenchymal or precursors to fat cells are responsible for the collagenesis that occurs in the body when reinjected into the patient.
Around the world fat grafting has become the “Natural Filler” to smooth out wrinkles, elevate brows, plump lips, strengthen chins, define jawlines, contour hands, enlarge breasts and buttocks, as well as fill in traumatic skin and soft tissue deformities. Some surgeons call their facelift procedures Stem Cell Facelifts, when they add fat transfer for this same reason.
These stem cells have lasted in some patients over 12 years, and on average one sees a 3 to 5 year benefit. Less overcorrection is needed in the procedure as a result of “capturing” a higher concentration of these pre adipocytes.
This procedure can be performed as a targeted fat transfer, or the stem cells can be harvested and transferred from the patient’s lower abdomen or thighs to the desired new location at the same time another procedure is being performed. My personal favorite sites to implant the stem cells include the nasal fold, lips, chin, cheek, and brow during a facelift or mini facelift.
The hands look 10 years younger with this procedure, and the buttocks certainly obtain a nice “lift” with fat transfer. Up to this date, there have been no recorded allergic reactions to a person’s own fat cells.
Complications from the procedure include a small amount of bruising and swelling for 3 to 4 days that can usually be easily camouflaged with make-up. There is minimal downtime with this procedure, due in part to using very small needles for the reinjection and medications provided.
With the Stem Cell fat transfer, there is less resorption of the fat graft; therefore the procedure requires less overcorrection as was used in earlier procedures. After four months, the new fat cells have matured, so after that time period one may discuss additional refinements.
Stem Cell Fat Grafting is the current state of the art technique for facial wrinkles. It also is a wonderful method for soft tissue repair and replacement secondary to trauma or the aging process. It is an all natural technique to gain new collagen and elastin in our skin to treat faces, hands, buttocks, breasts, and acne scars.