One of the primary factors that contribute to facial aging is the loss of volume caused by progressive fat atrophy. Imagine a blown-up balloon as a young person’s face. As it loses air, folds appear in the balloon, and something similar happens with the face. The loss of volume contributes to the laxity of facial tissues, causing wrinkles and flaccidity.
A variety of injectable substances exist on the market to treat this loss of volume, including hyaluronic acid. These substances work very well, but their effect is limited over time since they are reabsorbed; this is a problem in cases where significant volume is necessary. Autologous fat grafting (also called lipofilling or lipostructure) has the great advantage of being permanent, in addition to being own tissue from the patient himself and thus being 100% biocompatible. Also, the injections contain not only fat cells (adipocytes), but also stem cells and growth factors. This explains the improved texture of the skin in treated areas.
The facial lipofilling technique was first described by Dr. Sydney Coleman from New York in 1987; since then, then its uses have multiplied and the technique has been perfected.
The facial lipofilling technique involves extracting fat cells (adipocytes) from the patient and injecting them into other areas of the body. The donor section is usually the abdomen, but other areas can be used as well, such as the thighs or sides of the torso. The procedure is generally performed under local anesthesia with sedation. Fat is collected using liposuction cannulas, and the material obtained from the aspiration is processed to obtain the greatest concentration of adipocytes, growth factors, and fat cells. Varying quantities of fat can be removed depending on the needs of each case.
The material obtained is injected into different areas of the face, including the eyebrows, temples, cheeks, lips and nasolabial folds.
Facial lipofilling is a minimally invasive procedure with a brief period of inactivity. During the first days, swelling and some bruising will occur, but they usually go away in 7 to 10 days. Normally, not all the fat cells we inject will survive, which is why slightly more than the necessary volume will be injected as a precautionary measure. Some touch-up work via a second injection may be necessary. Bulges and nodules following this treatment are rare if the injections have been performed correctly.