Fat Injection to the Hands and Face
What is Fat Injection?
‘Fat injection’, also known as ‘fat transfer’ or ‘fat grafting’, is a permanent filler procedure in which fat is obtained from one area of the patient’s body (typically an area with excess fat, such as the thigh) using liposuction and injected into another area of the body in need of rejuvenation.
Fat injection is most common in the face and the hands. As we age, the skin loses some of its elasticity. Combined with loss of volume, these changes can lead to fine lines in the face and an aged, “skeleton-like” appearance in the hands. Fat injection to the face results in rejuvenation of the skin and restoration of volume in the mid-face and temples, resulting in a firmer appearance and soft, rounded contours. Fat injection to the hands can hide imperfections as well as improve an aging hand’s appearance to match the rest of the body.
What is involved in a fat injection procedure?
Fat injection may be performed in an office surgical suite, an outpatient care center, or a hospital. Local anesthesia is typically required. The procedure, which typically lasts 60-90 minutes minutes, involves withdrawing fat from the “donor” site using liposuction, centrifuging the harvested tissue to separate out the fat and stem cells, and injecting the fat and stem cells into the target area.
In contrast with other types of surgery, fat injections require the little down time. Sometimes, repeat injections are needed because some of the fat may dissipate.
Innovative Fat-Injection Techniques
Some plastic surgeons report lumpiness and uneven texture following some types of fat injections. Therefore, we use cutting-edge technology to break the fat cells up to smaller or individual bundles of cells, which results in a better and more natural contour. These cells can be injected into the lower eyelids, lips, and chin, as well as into the brow and more superficial areas where we could not be as liberal. These types of fat grafting are referred to as micro fat grafting and fractionated fat grafting (Fracto Fat), which was developed here at the UTSW Department of Plastic Surgery by Dr Rod Rohrich one of the well known innovators of facial plastic surgery research. Dr. Amirlak together with Dr. Rohrich has published several article on facial aging and role of facial fat compartments in an aging face.
Another innovative method we use is nano fat grafting. This technique was invented in Belgium recently with the help of Biocellular Regenerative Medicine. Clinical scientists and biotechnical advancements have showed that certain byproducts of fat cells and high concentrations of stem cells rejuvenate and increase the quality of the skin.
We use our centrifuge technology to separate out the unwanted byproducts of the fat harvest and to maximize the concentration of stem cells injected back into the skin. It is hypothesized that stem cells enhance skin quality.
Proper placement of the injectable is key injecting fat close to blood vessels and other vital structures may result in unwanted complications.