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The Fine Art behind Facial Fat Transfer| Houston

Facial lipoaugmentation or fat transfer is the art and science of restoring volume and contour of the human face using autologous fat. The popularity of facial fat transferseemed relatively new, but the concept is not. Free fat graft was pioneered in 1893 by Franz Neuber who transferred a small piece of fat from the upper arm to fill a soft tissue defect of the face. Its use to correct deficits of the cheek and chin areas was further reported as early as 1909.

The advent of liposuction in the 1980s spurred the move toward modern fat grafting. Dr. Ilouz reported the transfer of liposuction aspirate in 1984, and Dr. Ellenbogen, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, reported the use of fat autografts in atrophic and posttraumatic facial defects in 1986.

So Is There an Art Behind Facial Fat Transfer?

The Inverted Triangle of Youth

The young face typically has an inverted triangular appearance. Having more volume in the cheeks and a soft angle of the jaw suggests a youthful appearance. As one ages, this inverted triangle of youth becomes more rectangular as one develops jowls and as the malar fat pad (cheek) descends. Thus, facelift/neck lift procedures, along with selected fat transfer to the face, revivify this inverted triangle of youth.

Inverted Triangle of Youth (Photograph courtesy of industrial-sourcing-news.blogspot.com; AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The Ideal Beautiful Cheek

One of the secrets to a beautiful face is a pronounced cheek bone with narrow cheeks. The ideal beautiful cheek has been found to be oval, not round. It is also angled which extends from the angle of the mouth to the base of the helix of the ear. Fat transfer to the aged face into the ideal cheek area may beautify the face in selected patients. Cheek augmentation that deviates from this "ideal" may result in a less attractive and unnatural facial appearance.

Angelina Jolie's Beautiful Cheeks (Photograph courtesy of 640pixels.com)

The Young Brow Line

Recently, aesthetic plastic surgeons have recognized that young attractive female models have a brow line that is low lying with anterior projection of the brow. Hollowness around the eyes may suggest advancing age. Atrophy of the fat underneath the brows may cause a tired aged appearance. Thus, re-establishing the contour of the brow line, such as a fat transfer (as suggested by Ellenbogen), may restore some youthfulness as well as can visually make the eyes bigger. This powerful technique, especially in combination with other facial rejuvenation procedures, may only be applied in very select cases, such as the presence of a hollowed eye appearance.

What are the Indications for Fat Transfer?

  • Depressed scars of the face & body

  • Aging skin with loss of supportive tissue, such as the dorsal hand, hollow cheeks & eyes, upper lip and nasolabial folds.

  • Facial Reshaping for the gaunt/thin face

  • Cheek augmentation

  • Buttock augmentation, such as the Brazilian Butt Lift

  • Chin augmentation

  • Hemifacial atrophy

  • Flattened upper lip

Complications of Facial Fat Transfer

  • Fat resorption is the most common problem encountered.

  • Bruising

  • Fat embolism, very rare.

  • Blindness, extremely rare.

  • Iatrogenic injuries, such as vessels & nerves. Thus, it is important to select a plastic surgeon to perform this procedure.

  • Asymmetry may occur due to multiple factors, such as the variable nature of the viability of the fat grafted/transferred and pre-existing asymmetry of the face.

Stay tuned for more.... Next: The Art of Facial Fat Transfer.

The Golden Ratio of Angelina Jolie (Photograph Courtesy of Digitallywright.com by Brandon Wright)

Emmanuel De La Cruz M.D., PLLC Houston Plastic Surgeon References: Arthur Swift's Beautiphication. American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Conference 2010.

Ellenbogen R. Free autogenous pearl grafts in the face: a preliminary report of a rediscovered technique. Annals of Plastic Surgery. 1986;16:179-19

Illouz YG. L'avenir de la reutilization de la graisse apres liposuccion. Rev Chir Esthet Lang Franc. 1984;9:36

Neuber F. Fat transplantation. Chir Kongr Verhandl Dsch

Gesellch Chir 1893;20:66 Please click +1 below if you like the article. Thank you!

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