Fat: for some people, it might as well be a four-letter word. But, a bit of fat isn’t so bad. In fact, fat plays an important role in helping you you look and feel youthful. As you get older, you start to lose fat from certain areas of the body (and gain it elsewhere, but that’s another discussion). When you lose fat from your cheeks, lips or around the eye area, you can look older than you feel and older than you want to look.
Fortunately, there is a way to restore some of that lost fat. It involves taking fat from an area of the body where you might have it in abundance, such as your tummy or hips, then injecting it into the area that would benefit from a bit of extra fat. Known as fat transfer, the process can help smooth lines and wrinkles while restoring volume to areas like your cheeks, eyes and lips. Here’s how fat transfer can benefit certain areas of your face.
Fat Transfer Can Plump Up Your Cheeks
When you were very young, you most likely had plump, even chubby cheeks. Your face might have had an upside down triangle shape, meaning it was wider across the cheeks and came to a point at the chin.
As you get older, those chubby cheeks fade away as you lose fat, and the triangle flips over. The chin area begins to look wider than the cheek area.
You have a number of options for restoring volume to your cheeks, from implants to injections. Fat transfer is a sort of middle ground. Its results last longer than injections like Juvederm Voluma. Yet, the process is somewhat less invasive than the surgery needed to insert a cheek implant, although fat transfer does still involve surgical fat removal.
Fat Transfer Can Add Volume to Thin Lips
Fuller lips have been trendy for some time now and the trend shows no sign of easing up. Although there are a number of temporary options for adding volume to your lips, fat transfer is a more permanent choice.
Although some people are born with naturally thin lips, many people lose volume from the lip area as they get older. The lips also change in other ways with age. The lips themselves can become more wrinkled, the corners of the lips can start to point downward, rather than turn up, and the borders start to become less distinct. Fat transfer can not only restore volume loss, it can also improve the general shape and definition of the lip.
Fat Transfer Can Restore a Youthful Look to the Eye Area
Like the cheeks, the area under the eyes, known as the tear trough, can also lose fat as part of the aging process. That leads to a hollow, sunken eye appearance. The loss of fat from the area also contributes to the development of dark circles and bags under the eyes. Those bags and circles not only add years to your appearance, they also make you look tired and weary.
Fat transfer in the tear trough area offers a permanent option for restoring subtle volume to that area. It can be combined with fat transfer to the cheek area to create a more thorough rejuvenated appearance.
Understand the Fat Transfer Process
Although fat transfer involves injecting your own fat into the treatment area, the process is slightly more involved than your standard injectable fillers. First, the surgeon performing the transfer needs to harvest fat from another area of your body.
To harvest the fat, the surgeon will make a very small incision in the donor area, then will perform liposuction to remove a small amount of fat. Although you can choose to combine fat transfer with full on liposuction, generally the amount of fat removed during the first stage of fat transfer isn’t enough to be noticeable.
Once the fat is harvested, it needs to be purified and prepared so that your surgeon is able to inject it using a small needle syringe. When the fat is ready, it will be injected into the treatment area.
Usually, a surgeon will over inject the fat into the designated area, since as much as half of it is usually reabsorbed by the body over time. That means that you might might look puffy or overfilled for a few days or weeks. As soon as the fat settles in and your body absorbs the excess, you’ll see the final results.
Is Fat Transfer for You?
Fat transfer isn’t the right choice for every patient. It might not be the right option for you if you don’t have enough extra fat on your body. You need some fat to benefit from the procedure.
You should also be in good general health before fat transfer. Your surgeon will perform an exam and take a medical history to make sure the treatment is right for you.
Depending on your goals, it might be worth trying a temporary filler option before deciding on fat transfer. Trying a filler such as Volbella or Voluma before deciding on fat transfer will give you an idea of what your cheeks or lips will look like, but won’t provide permanent results.
An aging face specialist at the Naderi Center, Dr. Jessica Kulak regularly works with patients who want to restore volume lost in their cheeks, lips or beneath the eyes. To learn more about fat transfer and other options for replenishing lost volume, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak today. Call 703-481-0002 for an appointment at the practice in Virginia, or 301-222-2020 for an appointment at the practice in Maryland.