In recent years, fat injections have become a “hot topic” in plastic surgery. Today, we know that fat tissue is not just an ordinary dermal filler but a very rich source for stem cells. Injected together with the fat, stem cell develop into the cell type lacking at the place of injection, and generate the tissue there. Applied to the midface they become fibroblasts and synthesise collagen which plays a role in skin rejuvenation. Before own body fat is injected, it is purified, and its stem cell content is enriched. Fat injections are not only used in the face but also to plump up the legs, the buttocks and the breasts; in fact, wherever volume loss needs to be replenished. Other areas of application are wound healing and the treatment of skin areas subjected to radiotherapy. Regenerative medicine is a branch of medicine dedicated to the effects of fat injections and stem cells.
Frequently asked questions about fat injections:
Who is a good candidate for fat injections?
With advancing age, our faces changes. The main reason is the loss of soft tissue. The consequences are clearly visible in the midface and the area around the eyes. As the fat tissue under the skin decreases, and the skin becomes thinner, face lines and wrinkles become more pronounced. Once we reach middle age, or when the face looks worn out, fat injections to replenish lost volume are an option. Persons with structurally flat faces or a receding chin or underdeveloped jaw line are also suitable candidates for fat injections. Here, the filler is used to enhance facial contours.
Where in the face is fat injected?
The most important areas are: temple, eye region, upper lid, lower eye part, midface, above the cheek bones, tear trough, nose-mouth-line, marionette line, lips, point of the chin, jaw line.
What are the effects of fat injections?
They serve to restore volume to the face, and they have regenerative effects.
- When fat tissue is harvested and purified, the fat and stem cells it contains don’t die. Re-injected under the skin, they pad the eyes, plump up the cheeks and enhance chin and jaw as well as the corners of the eyebrows.
- The stem cells develop into fibroblasts that produce tissue and collagen. They cause a general rejuvenation; thin skin gains new strength and lustre, dry skin becomes moist, fine wrinkles disappear and pigmentation spots decrease.
How is the fat injected?
With a cannula, fat tissue is harvested from suitable sites in the body. The fat is suctioned out under a weak vacuum. The fat is centrifuged, purified and concentrated. It is then re-injected into body where needed with the aid of very thin needles.
What to do and what not to do before treatment?
Three weeks before an invasive / surgical treatment patient must stop smoking and taking aspirin. In the last week, patients must stop taking any anticoagulant (“blood-thinning”) medicine.
The following substances are also prohibited:
- pain killers such as Apranax, Voltaren and Vermidon (alternative brand names are Minoset and Novalgin)
- multivitamin tablets containing ginseng, ginkgo biloba and coenzyme Q,
- green tea, herbal products containing linseed, sour cherry stalks, tomato seeds
- all diet products.
Does the procedure require anaesthesia?
Fat injections are performed under clinical conditions, and the injection points are locally numbed or the patient is sedated; general anaesthesia is usually not necessary.
How long does the procedure take?
Fat injections take about 1 hour.
Is the treatment painful?
No. Patients rather complain about swelling and bruising.
What happens after the procedure?
Patients are usually discharge the same day. Swelling and bruising occur in the first 2 days; to prevent or at least mitigate it, we use ice packs at an early stage. The next day, patient can leave the house, provided they protect their eyes with sunglasses. Swelling and bruising recede from day 3 onward, and have almost completely dissolved after 1 week. After 3 weeks, the side effects of the intervention have disappeared to a large extent. Patients are strongly advised to avoid direct exposure to sunlight for the next 3 months.
What problems can occur after the treatment?
Fat injections are a reliable method; we do not expect particular problems. If the fat used for eye padding was not fine enough, lumps and hard spots may form. Too much fat in the midface does not look very good. Fat injections into the lips cause strong swelling; however, the fat loss due to re-absorption is high.
Are the results permanent?
Previously it was assumed that the fat is completely re-absorbed by the body. If correctly applied, however, the effect can be long-lasting. Eye padding remains almost completely intact. Fat retention in the midface, the point of the chin and along the jaw line is very satisfactory. In areas affected by facial movements, on the other hand, the loss rate is high. In the nose-mouth-line only half of the injected amount survives. Losses in the lips are very high. However, the regenerative effects of fat injections are lasting.