If you’ve ever stood in a mirror and said, “if only I could take volume from this area of my body and move it here…” you’re not alone. Unfortunately, we have little natural control over the proportions of our face and body, and many people watch distraughtly over the years as they gain fat in unwanted areas (like the abdomen and thighs) while losing it in other areas (like the face). A healthy diet and exercise may be able to keep up with your changing metabolism, but the loss of facial volume is a natural part of aging. While no health regimen can make you gain fat in your face while keeping it off elsewhere, as one of the earliest providers of fat transfer in Atlanta, Dermatology Associates of Atlanta (DAA) has the expertise to help you.
As its name suggests, fat transfer (or fat grafting) essentially involves taking fat from one area of your body and transferring it to another. In a minimally invasive procedure, our board-certified dermatologists can remove excess fat from the donor site you choose (like your lower abdomen). This fat is then purified into a form which allows it to be carefully injected into the desired area. While there are artificial fillers designed to add volume to the cheeks, fat transfer provides some unique benefits:
- Fat transfer results can be longer-lasting. Depending on their unique formulas, facial fillers can last anywhere from six months to two years, because your body will eventually metabolize the substance. Fat transfer is much less temporary, although “touch-ups” may be needed if some of the injected fat does not develop its new blood supply.
- Fat transfer produces a particularly natural look and feel. Facial fillers have a small risk of developing a less natural texture, and while this is uncommon, fat transfer fully eliminates this risk.
- Fat transfer allows you to reduce unwanted fat. It’s important to keep in mind that fat transfer only requires a small amount of fat, so the fat reduction in your donor site will be subtle. If you’re looking for a more dramatic change in your body contours, however, you may be a candidate for combining your fat transfer with liposuction.
Fat Transfer for Facial Rejuvenation
As we discussed earlier, one of the most popular ways to use fat transfer is to restore facial volume which has been lost due to the natural aging process. After your fat is extracted and prepared, it is injected into several tiny lines, essentially forming a “grid” of grafted fat. This is commonly done in the cheek area (where you develop “hollows” as you age) to restore a more youthful volume and plumpness, but it is also frequently used for lip augmentation as well.
Fat Transfer for Acne Scar Reduction
Another way we often use fat grafting at DAA is to resolve pitted acne scars. Caused by severe inflammation from acne, these scars look like depressions in the skin because rigid scar tissue is pulling down on the surface skin. In many cases, the most effective way to address these deep scars is by surgically releasing the rigid bands of scar tissue and injecting your own natural fat into the areas to “fill in” the absent volume.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
To make our fat transfer results as effective as possible, our physicians at DAA often inject PRP along with the fat during these procedures. PRP is a part of your own natural blood which is rich in growth factors, and these growth factors enhance the healing process. This is used alongside fat transfer to add fullness and youthful firmness to your skin, and PRP can also have this effect when combined with certain other facial rejuvenation procedures we offer, like Infini™ skin tightening, Réjuvapen® micro needling, and dermal fillers (called a Vampire Facelift®).
If you’re considering fat transfer (or any other cosmetic treatment, for that matter), it’s important to be sure the procedure truly balances all your needs and that you have realistic expectations for your results. The best way to find out is through a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist who can evaluate your aesthetic goals and recommend the ideal options for you. To get started, schedule an appointment with Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. Or, to hear more about all the latest dermatology news and our special offers, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.