Facial fat transfer results should look smooth and natural and thus it entails a “perfect marriage” of art and science. While it is often combined with facelift or some type of facial rejuvenation surgery, it can also serve as a stand-alone procedure to improve the overall contour of the face.
Dr. Tarick Smiley, an eminent Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon, has explained the three core guidelines that help him deliver smooth and natural fat transfer results.
- Harvest the right kind of fat.
In Dr. Smiley’s recent Snapchat post, he has explained that the abdomen and flanks are the two most ideal donor sites as their fat is more liquescent and thus provides smoother results. The back area, meanwhile, is best avoided because of its highly fibrous fat that may lead to bumps and other surface irregularities when injected into the face.
- Purify the fat prior to injection.
All the biomaterials (e.g., blood and oil) except from fat are removed prior to injection; this is mainly done with the use of centrifuge that separates fluids based on weight. This paves way for smoother results and long-term survival of fat grafts, Dr. Smiley explained.
With proper handling and injection, fat transfer results are near permanent (12-15 years).
- Perform meticulous injection.
Dr. Smiley said the purified fat is injected below the skin-and-fat layer and above the muscle. This provides not just smooth and natural results, but also prevents risk of nerve damage and other complications.
To further minimize risk of nerve damage, facial fat transfer uses a blunt needle during the injection process.
To further ensure smooth fat transfer results, injection is done through micro-droplet technique in which less than 0.1 cc of purified fat is inoculated one at a time into the tissue. This creates a honeycomb arrangement and thus allows tissue integration and blood supply ingrowth needed by the grafts’ long-term survival.