What is Fat Grafting?
We emote to express. While emoting we use different expressions such as smiling, frowning, elevating the eyebroes, crying. All these movemnts of the face with the effect of gravity and the aging changes bring about a continual change in the face of individuals. These lines start becoming prominent after the age of 30yrs if we take an average but can appear earlier in individuals who elote excessively and also who smoke. There is collagen and elastin breakdown skin which leads to changes of ageing.
The most common method of doing away with the wrinkles is botox. But botox deals with the dynamic lines and does little to the static lines (which remain even with neutral expression) which become the tell tale signs of an aged face. Fillers were the most common substances used to fill the static lines of the face in which, the Injectable fat cells taken from your own body for filling facial wrinkles and frown lines. Fat transfer(also called autologous fat transfer or micro-lipoinjection),fills facial features with a patient?s own fat. Fat transfer to the face is a safe procedure designed to recontour the face and provide definition to cheeks, chin, lips and lower eyes. The fat used for fat transfer is liposuctioned from another part of your body like the abdomen or thighs and injected into another area that requires plumping. Injected fat lasts longer in larger areas of non-movement, so it is successful for the correction of grooves under the eyes and sunken cheeks. Fat grafting can also correct atrophic aging of the hands.
Fat Grafting Procedure
Fat grafting is performed in the operation theatre as outpatient basis. The area from which fat is harvested is decided by the Plastic Surgeon and the patient. It can be performed under local or general anestheisa. The fat from the body is harvested and processed to purify fat and it is injected with the help of special canula and syringes. There are usually no incisions or very small incisions to achieve both the harvest and injection.
FAT injection is broadly classified into:
1) Microfat injection: Fat injection to the face, breasts, buttocks, hand etc
2) Nanofat injection or nanofat fill that can be used to treat wrinkles, undereye dark circles, small scars, pigmentations etc.
It is the procedure where excess fat is removed from areas such as the abdomen, flanks, hips or thighs and, after special preparation, injected into areas of the body that need filling. The process requires gently fat removal using low-vacuum liposuction and the use of thin, delicate, non-traumatic cannulas to protect the survival of each harvested living fat cell. The fat cells are then purified and slowly injected through tiny skin incisions into the tissue of the recipient site utilizing a small syringe and cannula. Tiny droplets are placed throughout the tissues assuring that each transferred fat cell will have an adequate blood supply to achieve the permanent survival of the injected fat cells.
The most common uses of microfat injection are:
- Face :
With aging, the fat of the face undergoes atrophy and the dermis under the skin thins out, as a result of these changes the face appears too thin, making the skin of the face saggy. Microfat grafting adds fat to the area beneath the skin, adding fullness where is needed. The fat injection creates a lasting youthful appearance. Areas that can be treated with fat injections include the temples, zygomatic arch, marionette lines, infra-orbital rims (tear trough), jaw line, nasolabial folds, cheeks, and scars due to acne, varicella, trauma or surgery.
- Chin Augmentation:
Fat injections safely and effectively correct the small or undeveloped chin avoiding the need to undergo a surgical procedure to place an expensive synthetic chin implant. A chin augmentation will strengthen the face profile, bringing better balance to the facial features. A small chin undermines the face, making the nose appear larger and an overbite more pronounced.
- Lip Augmentation:
Fat can be used for lip augmentation, achieving a permanent natural look. It can also be used for correction of the lines around the mouth. Lip augmentation can increase the fullness and definition of the upper lip, lower lip or both. After 2-5 days the swelling is gone and the lips have a natural fullness. There may be some bruising which can be covered with make-up. Over the first few months the body may absorb some of the fat. For permanent results, 2 injections over a six month period is recommended.
- Hand Rejuvenation:
Fat injections to the hands achieve the effect of fuller, more contoured hands as those of younger hands.
- Buttocks Rejuvenation (Brazilian Lift):
Microfat grafting can add fullness to any part of, or the entire, buttocks to create the desired look. Microfat grafting assures lasting results and gives a very natural shape and feel to the buttocks. Once the swelling is down, there is a return to normal sensation, the grafted areas look and feel natural and there are no physical restrictions after the first 2 weeks.
- Breast Augmentation:
Patients who desire breast augmentation but are wary of implants can have breast augmentation using their own fat. Following the fat transfer the breasts will look and feel normal and the results are long lasting.
- Correction of Skin Depressions, Subdermal Attachments and Scars:
Facial lines, depressions, folds and depressed scars on the body and face can be successfully treated with injectable fat. However, many deep folds, wrinkles, lines, and scars are resistant to the injected fat or fillers (synthetic and natural) because of the severe attachment of the depression to the underlying deeper tissue. The attachments are released by subcision. Following the release of the skin fat injection is performed to correct the defect and to act as a spacer to prevent reattachment of the released area.
- Fat Injection to Labia Majora:
In some women with aging the labia majora may undergo a significant atrophy and the dermis under the skin thins out. As a result of these changes the labia majora becomes flat, saggy, wrinkled, and darkened. The fat injections add fat to the areas beneath the skin, creating fullness where needed that results in a lasting, youthful appearance of the labia majora.
Nano fat injection or fat filling
Nanofat grafting is a new concept that takes injections down to small structures and with an injectate, which contains few intact fat cells.
With a reduced number of viable fat cells, it would have limited use as a volumizing treatment. Its use appears to be a treatment option to improve skin quality. (Skin rejuvenation)
Improvement in skin quality is a well known by product of fat injections and is presumed to occur through increased collagen production and remodeling triggered by the grafted stem cells. Since nanografts have few fat cells in it due to the mechanical preparation process, its cellular component is the stromal vascular fraction of the graft, which includes a substantial number of mesenchymal stem cells.
The location for nanofat grafting is placement into the intradermal level of the skin to improve its quality. The effects of these injections appear to take months to see. Because its effects are probably due to stem cell activity, it may not really be appropriate to call it a fat graft at all. It appears to be more of a poor man?s tissue engineered treatment that is made without expensive and time-consuming equipment.