Today a wide array of methods and materials is available to restore a smooth and youthful appearance to aging skin. Injectable treatments are one of the most popular methods, and fat is one of the most widely used materials. Like other injectables, fat helps reduce or eliminate wrinkles.
Fat comes from the patient’s own body, so there’s no chance of an allergic reaction. And fat can be used in higher volumes than most other injectable materials. This means that, instead of merely eliminating aging lines and crow’s feet, fat injections can provide a fuller, more youthful face with high contours and smooth skin. Injections of fat into the deep layers of facial tissue can virtually eliminate the angular, thin appearance that often accompanies age. This technique was developed and refined by Sydney Coleman, M.D. from New York City. Dr. Kremer spent time there and learned those delicate techniques. If you're considering having fat injections, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure.
For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Kremer.
Frequently asked questions about Fat Injections (Lipostructure) by Dr. Michael A. Kremer:
"Lipostructure" can significantly reduce or eliminate wrinkles and other skin imperfections. It can also give patients a more youthful appearance by reestablishing pleasing contours. Fat is the first choice of material when injections are needed in deeper layers of tissue or larger volumes. The procedure attempts to keep the extracted fat cells alive so that blood supply can be established in the recipient zone and results will last longer.
However, injected fat may not last as long as some other materials. The fat is slowly absorbed by the body, although the amount of absorption is variable, and frequently hard to predict. Typically, more than half of the fat used in injectable treatments is absorbed with six months of the procedure. Almost all patients will permanently retain some of the injected fat. However this percentage varies from patient to patient. If a significant amount of fat is absorbed, a second procedure may be needed to achieve the desired result.
During the consultation, you and Dr. Kremer will discuss the changes that you would like to make in your appearance. Dr. Kremer will examine your skin and facial structure, and explain the different options available to you. Once you've settled on an option, Dr. Kremer will explain the procedure itself as well as the anesthesia required.
Be sure to as all the questions you have about the surgery. Learning everything you can about your options, risks and benefits is the key to making an informed decision.
A fat-injection procedure is a two-step process. The fat must be harvested from somewhere on your own body - typically from the abdomen or inner thighs. This can be done in conjunction with a liposuction procedure. After the fat is extracted, it is placed in a centrifuge to separate the fat from surrounding tissues. The fat is then packed into several small syringes and thereafter injected in different layers, locations and amounts.
Because fat is a bit larger than other injectable materials, it is almost always injected more deeply into the skin. Volumes of up to 50-100 cc can be used to over the entire face. The injected fat plumps and tightens the skin, thereby decreasing and in some cases eliminating wrinkles, scars and lines from sagging skin.
This depends on the extent of the procedure. Fat injections normally take between 30 and 60 minutes.
Fat injection procedures are almost always done on an outpatient basis in the office. In more extensive procedures such as injections into the lips, cheeks, or folds between nose and cheeks, mild sedation may be required.
The amount of pain during any cosmetic surgery varies from patient to patient. However, the discomfort associated with injectables is normally relatively mild. In many cases, fat injections are performed without anesthesia. This may be somewhat painful to patients, depending on the site of injection. For instance, the area of skin around the lips is one of the more sensitive parts of the face. Injections performed on the cheek, chin and eye area are usually less painful.
Most people experience some swelling and redness for the first 24-48 hours. Itching and mild discomfort is not uncommon either. Recovery time will depend on the extent of the procedure. When larger amounts of fat are injected into the face, swelling may last several days to several weeks. However, don't confuse the desired volume increase with the temporary postoperative swelling.
Most patients who have had a fat-injection procedure are pleased with the results. The treatments can, in many cases, significantly reduce facial wrinkling and increase tissue volume. You should be aware that a part of the injected fat cells are going to vanish so that a partial volume loss is to be expected. After two to three treatments, the result usually remains constant.
In general, the best candidates for are:
- Individuals with scarring, sagging or wrinkling on the face.
- Missing some of the youthful plumpness or high contours on the face.
- In good physical health.
- Psychologically stable.
- Wanting to improve their appearance.
- Realistic in their expectations.
The above is only a partial list of the criteria that Dr. Kremer will consider in determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you. Be sure to ask Dr. Kremer if he considers you an ideal candidate for a fat-injection treatment.
In some cases, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion or a chemical peel will work better than injections – especially for smoothing very fine surface wrinkles. These procedures do not directly restore volume to the face, but they do eliminate the high points of the wrinkles by removing the outer layers of the skin and inducing skin regeneration. Any of these treatments can be used in combination with fat-injections. Consult with Dr. Kremer for more information about the best options for you.
Infection can be associated with all injectable procedures. This risk can be minimized by the sterile technique used and a short antibiotic prophylaxis. As injected fat cells continue to function in their new location, weight gain even a long time after the procedure may be associated with increase in size of the injected fat cells. This must be considered when a future weight gain is anticipated, especially in the lips.