Here at our Aventura cosmetic surgery & laser center, we are often asked to ‘take a few years off’ someone’s visage. Can do. There are multiple tools these days to create the effect of a more youthful countenance. One of our most popular treatment procedures is called the facial fat transfer. The reason it’s used so widely is because it can be used to reshape the face to an individual’s taste.
There’s an old saying that people of a certain age must choose between a youthful face and a firm body. That’s patently untrue in this era of medical aesthetics. The face grows leaner as we age, it’s true— especially if we manage to keep the weight off. But now, there’s an app for that.
Men and women tend to lose facial tissue as they get older. We develop flat cheeks and hollows under the eyes. This is a result of gravity as well as a loss of bone tissue and thinning layers of fat under the skin.
To address this widespread problem, doctors developed a clinically safe procedure called the autologous fat transfer.
By extracting fat cells from the patient’s own body (thighs, abdomen or butt) and then injecting the cells into certain areas of the face, we can now add natural-looking volume to the lips and cheeks, or restore a jawline to its strong former profile.
Platelets and Stem Cells Replenish
We perform this procedure right here in our Miami clinic. No hospitalization necessary. You’ll have local anesthesia for the harvest of cells from the thigh, abdomen or buttocks. This treatment can be combined with PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma from your own blood) to ensure that the facial tissue has a good blood supply. Platelets also help speed healing.
Since platelets contain stem cells, they stimulate the production of collagen, an elastic-like tissue that gives young faces their taut, pleasing appearance.
In fact, a consequence of aging is less collagen— which is one reason why you can spot an ‘old’ face on a ‘young’ body.
But who’s to say who’s young or old these days?
We all know people who have managed to retain a youthful figure that belies their age. Similarly, we see rock stars and models whose faces confound us as we try to estimate their age.
The secret is in the curves. As we age, the face is like a balloon that’s losing air. Cheeks sag. Lips thin. Jowls droop. Folds and wrinkles appear in the balloon. Thank goodness we’ve discovered how to reverse this process! Otherwise, Sunny Isles and Golden Beach would be peopled with slender, tight bodies topped by face masks.
Repeat Therapy Until Desired Effect
The beauty of this discovery is that we use your tissue, harvested from your own body. There are no artificial materials, and no risk of rejection. At most, you may look like you have a strong blush for a few days. The treatment can be repeated until we achieve the desired results.
A facial fat transfer lasts longer than a dermal filler because it’s vascularized (nourished with blood). In fact, the transferred cells are so natural they respond to weight gain (more incentive to guard your trim figure).
Eventually, life takes its toll again. Late nights, laughing, eating, even sleeping . . . work their way back into your features in the form of sagging tissues and wrinkles. At that point, we can repeat the procedure.
From Liposuction to Fat Transfer
This treatment is not new. Surgeons have been using fat transfers for years for skin grafts, to reconstruct damaged faces and regrow skin. What’s new is the technique that allows us to treat very specific areas, using ultra-fine needles.
While the procedure is similar to liposuction, the difference is in the volume. Liposuction is used to remove fairly large amounts of fat, to achieve slimmer thighs, hips and buttocks.
The facial fat transfer, on the other hand, is a miracle of micro-precision.
Very few people are fond of the way their faces change over time. We have one patient who refused to attend his college reunion. ‘I don’t want them to see me like this,’ he explained. ‘I want them to remember me the way I was.’
When we explained that we could help him look more like ‘the way he was’, his whole demeanor changed. Now he appears in public quite frequently— we saw his photo just the other day in the newspaper— looking more assertive and confident than at any time since we met him 10 years ago.