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Intuitively folks know that fat on the face can make it look younger.
Removing fat from the face tends to make it look older.
And if you have a choice between "youthful" and "gaunt" - when it comes to the face - I think that people would choose youthful every time.
So, for this article, we are going address the sub-set of patients that would benefit from having targeted fat removed from the face.
And then we are going to discuss a more modern application of liposuction that can help a wider group of people.
Good candidates for lipo of the face are people who have very full cheeks but who are not obese.
This is a genetically determined factor.
So, if your Uncle Buck and Aunt Betty both have "nut-filled" chipmunk cheeks, and pretty much everyone in your family looks that way including you... then you are definitely someone who can consider facial liposuction.
That is as long as you are not very overweight.
Over the years liposuction has changed from 'blunt-cut' surgery with large surgical instruments, significant loss of blood, and increased downtime... to one where the tools have become small, and precise, downtime is minimal, and less blood is lost.
For about $5,000, small amounts of extremely targeted fat can be removed from places on the body which were not accessible with the older liposuction surgery. Kneecaps, elbows, necks, cheeks, chins, and other precise and delicate areas of the body can all be treated with the newer micro-liposuction techniques.
But again, having fat removed from the face will benefit only a small group of round-faced individuals.
For the rest of us having fat added to the face is much more helpful.
The aging face is characterized by several distinct changes from the youthful one.
The fat pads begin to diminish and shift downward; the skin thins and becomes increasingly wrinkled; and the musculature of our faces weakens and loses tone and thickness as well. Taken together this phenomenon will age the face.
And who wants to look older, more tired, and less vibrant?
That answer is "no one"...
If you could magically recreate the roundness and contour of youth - you would. Well, there is a way to do just that. It is called fat grafting.
Liposuction-assisted fat grafting is essentially a two-step process. First fat is carefully removed from a donor site one where there are adequate (even excess) fat deposits. Care is taken not to rupture or damage cells in the extraction process.
After purification (the removal of excess fluid, cells, and debris) the fat concentrate is injected into the face - which plumps and re-contours it.
Liposuction-assisted fat grafting is very technique dependent.
The benefit to autologous fat transfer surgery is that you are using your own body; transferring from one part to enhance the contour of another. One of the major difficulties is that the transferred fat is often reabsorbed back into the body leaving the treated area flat again.
Between 30-50% of the transferred fat can be reabsorbed back into the body.
However, our research for this article reveals that in skilled surgical hands, many patients can retain up to 80% of the transplanted fat volume. The trick is definitely in the technique. Understanding where exactly to inject fat, and how to expertly handle the transferred fat from harvesting all the way to injection.
Surgeon competence cannot be emphasized enough.
Because of the potential volatility of grafted fat it is important to understand that a touch-up procedure may be needed even under the best circumstances.
Be prepared mentally and finacially should that become necessary.
It turns out that fat tissue is "chocker-box" full of stem cells.
Stem cells are those seemingly magical "chameleon-type" cells that have the potential to turn into any tissue that the body requires. Skin, bone, cartilage, muscle, nerves or connective tissues stem cells have the potential to become any one of them.
When grafted fat is carefully harvested for its stem cells as well, the final graft is more stable and longer-lasting. Stem cells aid the transplanted fat cells in re-establishing a blood supply. And this new blood supply makes the fat cells less likely to be reabsorb into the grafted area.
In other words, they do what they were intended to do... take up space.
And - again - they do it long-term.
For those patients with the hereditary "chipmunk" faces facial liposuction has some risks.
For those patients who used liposuction-assisted fat grafting to the face there are risks as well.
Whether you are the patient who needs the additive or the subtractive facial liposuction technique, the most important thing to consider is your plastic surgeon.
Deal only with the very best, most qualified and experienced plastic surgeon you can.
Sattler, Gerhard. "Advances in liposuction and fat transfer." Dermatology Nursing. vol. 17.2 (Apr 2005): 133(7). Expanded Academic ASAP. GALE. (July 2010).
McNamara, Damian. "Target facial fat compartments in filler injection." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 41.9 (2010): 22. General OneFile (2 May 2011).
"Fatty cheeks can improve looks." USA Today [Magazine] Oct. 2008: 11+. General OneFile (2 May 2011).
Jancin, Bruce. "Go slow on tumescent fluid in facial liposuction. (Rapid Absorption Risks Toxicity)." Skin & Allergy News. vol. 34.2 (2003): 23. General OneFile (2 Mar 2010).
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