Fat Graft to Face

Fat Graft to Face

 

We all yearn for a healthy and youthful face that looks smooth, supple, and young. However, as time passes, these desirable features are lost due to aging, unhealthy lifestyle, illness, and other harmful factors. The principal mechanism of these negative changes is the deterioration of skin and soft tissues. Soft tissues in the face undergo volume loss and descent, giving rise to sunken cheeks, depressed temples, flat forehead, tear troughs, deep nasolabial folds (laugh line), and jowls. The face appears worn and tired. While skin tightening procedures such as thread lift and facelift can correct skin laxity, the effective treatment for volume loss is fat grafting to replace the lost soft tissues.

 

Fat grafting means transferring fat from one part of the body to another part of the same patient. Usually, fat is harvested either from the thighs or abdomen and transplanted to the needed areas. Fat grafting is an effective technique to treat volume loss of soft tissue in the face. Fat graft also contains abundant adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) that stimulate tissue regeneration and improve the face’s quality, texture, and complexion. Common target areas for fat grafting in the face include the forehead, temples, cheek, nasolabial folds, tear trough, malar eminence, and sometimes eyelids and jawline.

 

After the transfer, the fat graft will be integrated and supplied with new blood supply in its new location and will remain for many years. A certain percentage of fat that is not integrated will undergo absorption during the first six months. The balance of fat integration and fat absorption depends on the technique and the patient’s body response.

 

The recovery after fat grafting is rapid. The wounds are tiny.

 

 

 

Preparation

      1. Inform the doctor of any pre-existing medical conditions and drug allergy. All medical conditions must be treated and stabilized before surgery.
      2. Stop smoking at least one week before surgery. Smoking is harmful to wound healing and increases the risks of other post-operation complications. Smoking also adversely affects the survival of fat graft and diminishes the overall results.
      3. Stop the following medications and supplements from one week before surgery until one week after surgery.
        1. All supplements containing vitamin E, ginseng, ginkgo, garlic, fish oil, and other ingredients that increase bleeding during the procedure. Other supplements, traditional medicine, and herbs, in which ingredients are unknown, have to stop as well.
        2. Medicine that increases bleeding during the procedure such as aspirin, NSAIDs, and warfarin. However, you may need to consult your physician who prescribed the medication before you stop them.
      4. On the day of surgery, wear simple and comfortable clothing. Do not wear any jewelry and metal objects on the face and body.

 

 

 

Surgery

Duration: One to 3 hours

Anaesthesia: Local anaesthesia

Hospitalization: Not required

Recovery*: Back to work in 3-5 days, light exercise after 2 weeks, heavy exercise after 3-4 weeks. * The actual speed of recovery may vary from person to person.

Technique*:

Fat Grafting  involves 3 sequential steps during the same procedure:

      1. Fat Harvesting: by liposuction technique (usually from abdomen or thighs)
      2. Fat Separation and Purification: separation of fat from the blood, body fluid and other unwanted elements.
      3. Fat Injection: fat injection into the desired location is done using a special fat graft cannula and micro-injection technique to optimize the fat graft’s survival. A specialized instrument such as MAFT Gun enables fat grafting delivered in ultra-tiny fat droplets, substantially improves the survival and refinement of fat graft.

 

 

Post-operative Care**

      1. What to expect:
        1. Swelling usually peaks on the second to third day after surgery and will gradually subside after that.
        2. Avoid excessive movements of the face during the first 2-3 weeks to minimize the fat graft absorption.
        3. Avoid applying direct pressure on the treated areas. Avoid direct contact with warm or hot objects.
      2. General care:
        1. Elevate the head during sleep to reduce swelling.
        2. Avoid smoking for at least one month. Smoking increases the risk of wound complications and adversely affects the survival of the fat graft.
        3. Good rest and adequate sleep are helpful for a speedy recovery.
        4. Sleep on the back. Avoid sleeping on one side to prevent pressure on the face.
        5. Be relaxed and calm. Contact the clinic if there are any queries.
      3. Medicine: Finish the oral antibiotics as prescribed. Take the painkiller as prescribed when necessary.
      4. Wound care: Clean the wound with a clean cotton tip soaked with sterile water/saline. Apply antibiotic ointment. No wound dressings are required. Washing the face and applying make-up are possible but avoid excessive pressure on the treated areas.
      5. Physical activity: Avoid heavy physical activity and exercise for at least one month.
      6. Follow-up: Come back one week after surgery for suture removal and review.
      7. Emergency: If there is heavy bleeding, a rapid increase in swelling or severe pain, immediately contact the clinic/doctor for advice.

 

** The instructions in this list are only for general guidance. If you have any specific queries or concerns during the post-operative recovery, please contact the clinic for further advice.

 

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