One of the most common problems addressed by cosmetic plastic surgery is the tendency of tissue to lose elasticity and volume over time. In many ways, the skin can be compared to a balloon. At first, the balloon is full and outer surface is taunt and springy, but over time, the balloon slowly deflates, losing volume and causing the outer skin to wrinkle and sag. There are many different methods for addressing this facial wrinkling, ranging from cosmetic injections of Botox® or Dysport® to the surgical removal of excess skin during a facelift or the treatment of skin with laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels. However, one of the most popular and successful methods of treatment involves the injection of a filler substance into deficient areas. Where facial resurfacing can be thought of as “leveling the mountains,” use of an implantable substance effectively “fills in the valleys.” A number of different substances have been tried over the years, but have sometimes felt unnatural, caused adverse immunologic reactions, or been costly and difficult to obtain. However, simple fat taken from the patient’s own body, also known as autologous fat or tissue, has proven to satisfy all of these concerns.
Using fat to augment areas of the face is not a new idea. As early as 1893, German physician Franz Neuber grafted a piece of upper arm fat to a patient’s cheek to fill a soft tissue defect. Developments in the technique continued through the early part of the 20th century, and many attempts have been made over the years to use fat to correct conditions ranging from burn scars to thin lips. However, modern fat transfer techniques did not develop until the early 1980s, when the increasing popularity of liposuction made it possible to remove and transfer large amounts of liquid fat via injection. Youthful faces are full and often even plump in appearance. But as the face begins to exhibit the signs of facial aging, it slowly loses that volume and fullness, leaving the skin hanging in loose folds and creating gaunt, hollow-looking features.
Fat transfer takes fat that has been removed from the abdomen via liposuction, filters and purifies it, and then re-injects it into the areas of the face where volume has decreased. Typically this restores a youthful fullness to the face and alleviates wrinkles and sagging skin in key areas like the lips and nasolabial folds, without the need for invasive facial surgery. In the more than twenty years that I have been performing this technique, I have found that fat transfer can often provide longer lasting, more natural looking results than artificial facial fillers, because it uses living material taken from the patient’s own body rather than a man-made foreign substance.
If you are interested in learning more about facial rejuvenation techniques or any of the plastic surgery procedures that I perform, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, today. Additionally, Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides a variety of options for financing, including CareCreditSM, in order to assist you. Be sure to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.