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Cheeks and Liposuction...

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

Subtractive cheek liposuction and how it works is not the primary focus of this particular article.

This article is a departure from my other writing.

The reason for that is that – based on my research for this article – there aren't very many people that direct cheek liposuction would be beneficial to.

But there is perhaps a better and more modern application for liposuction that can have a profound effect on the aging face.

If you're interested, let's get into it now...

The Face of Age

The aging face is characterized by marked changes from the youthful one.

Gravity gradually moves the fat pads and muscles structures of the face "downstream" from their original positions. For women and for men alike, this means hanging jowls, hollow cheeks and eye sockets.

The texture of the skin changes as well, the dermis thins out as we age, and fine lines as well as wrinkles begin to appear. This thin-skinned, wrinkled, sagging and hollow look is the hallmark of an aging visage.

It isn't necessarily bad to show your age – but for active older individuals who want to project alertness, engagement and vivacity – this look doesn't quite cut it.

But isn't aging inevitable?...

The short answer is, "Yes, aging is inevitable."

We really do need to get away from the philosophy that you can maintain youth forever. It's just NOT possible to live up to such over-elevated expectation. We won't be young forever.

We need a new paradigm for "good-looking" as we age.

If we can project our wisdom – hard won over many years of living – and still maintain vitality, and the charisma associated with a love for life... I think that is a very attractive person to be at any age.

AND it doesn't require getting rid of every wrinkle.

So, how does liposuction fit into all of this?

For years now scientists have been refining a fat grafting technique that involves an initial liposuction procedure. Fat is removed from a donor site on the body, and then placed in other areas of the face or body where there is a fat deficit.

A. When fat grafting first began.

Older fat grafting surgeries had more temporary results because they weren't as careful with the fat cells during the harvesting process. And as a result, many fat cells would be damaged before they made it to the final grafted site. Another issue with the older surgery was that transferred fat cells would be reabsorbed quickly by the body.

Results – once so pleasing in the doctor's office – would disappear after only a short period of time.

B. Modern fat grafting.

New breakthroughs in fat-grafting have added steps to carefully preserve fat cells taken from the harvested area.

And as it turns out, fat harvested during routine liposuction surgery is "chock-full" of stem cells. Stem cells and fat are then concentrated (all extraneous tissue, fluid, and cells are removed) shortly after harvesting. This carefully purified slurry of fat and stem cells is then injected into the final grafted area in a second step.

These stem cells have a magic quality to them, in terms of benefiting grafted fat.

Stem cells establish a blood supply for grafted fat cells which make them more permanent, and longer lasting. Stem cells transform grafted fat from being temporary filler-material – into a living, breathing tissue. Also, stem cells help restore the youthful texture of the skin directly above the grafted area.

Pores become tighter, the dermis thickens, and collagen re-establishes.

It's quite remarkable actually.

Sounds great. What is the downside?

All surgery has some risk of adverse side-effects. Unfortunately, cheek liposuction and fat-grafting is no different.

Some of the more common complications are (but are not limited to):

  1. Infection – invasion of internal tissues by fungi, bacteria, or viruses.
  2. Allergic reaction – redness and swelling.
  3. Calcification – hardening of the area after transplantation.
  4. Asymmetry – different shape and volume on one side versus the other side.
  5. Hyper- or hypo-pigmentation – permanent lightening or darkening of the skin above the transplanted area.

It is very important to work with a highly-qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. And hopefully they will have tons of fat-grafting experience as well.

What is the take-home here?

Unfortunately, the subtractive cheek liposuction technique is helpful only to a limited number of very full faces. If you've got chipmunk cheeks and you want them slimmed down - this may be for you.

Most of us are going to be interested in the additive liposuction-assisted, fat grafting alternative.

There is no doubt that stem-cells have revolutionized fat grafting. Harvested fat survives longer because stem cells help to establish blood flow. And the surrounding skin can become more elastic and dewy in texture.

Not to mention that these effects are long-term.

That's a lot of benefit.

The patient testimonials in this video are a nice bonus:

Dr. Karam discusses the fat transfer to the face.

Cheek Liposuction References:

  • "Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Anti Aging Medicine Symposium Features New Developments in the Science of Stem Cells and Fat Grafting." Biotech Business Week (28 Mar 2011): 17. General OneFile (29 Apr 2011).

  • 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).

  • "Study data from J.D. Meier and colleagues update understanding of facial plastic surgery." Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week 8 Mar. 2009: 242. General OneFile (3 May 2011).

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