Synthetic Fillers Vs. Your Own Fat

Fat grafting is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that harvests fat from one part of the body to be used as filler material in another part of the body. Fat grafting is an alternative procedure to synthetic transdermal fillers such as JUVÉDERM®, Restylane, Sculptra, Radiesse, and others that are commonly used to enhance the shape of lips and cheeks, to smooth wrinkles, and to fill hollows and folds.

While synthetic fillers are still widely used all over Seal Beach, Santa Ana and even in Newport Beach of Orange County and its surrounding areas, studies have shown a lower incidence of side effects with the use of fat cells as fillers and they may have longer-lasting results.

Many factors affect the appearance of not only the skin, but also the underlying anatomical structures. Some of these include post-traumatic scarring, acne, and the repetitive action of underlying muscles. Lifestyle choices, such as cigarette smoking, have also been associated with changes in the skin. Sun exposure leads to distinct damage to the skin. A condition known as Elastosis is marked by a defined deposition of thickened, irregular, and partially degraded tissue and is generally caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In addition to genetic tendencies, repeated and varied weight fluctuations can also contribute to wrinkling and skin imperfections. Facial fat grafting works well to combat the consequences of aging. Aging skin can be characterized by a reduced thickness, decreased elasticity, and adherence to underlying tissue.

There are multiple benefits of fat grafting procedures in comparison to the use of solid implants or synthetic dermal fillers. In addition to being safe and cost-effective, the procedure will not cause an allergic reaction. Because fat is a natural living filler, there is generally no risk of disease transmission. Furthermore, fat is more permanent than manufactured fillers and most patients have abundant stores of fat available. Perhaps the most natural result is that grafted fat becomes a permanent part of the living tissue.

Technique of Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is a technique that also has wide applications beyond the face. Some other areas of the body where fat grafting is effective include the hands, buttocks, and breasts. Fat grafting to the hands is designed to fill in wrinkles and depressions, while a buttocks procedure will result in a more pronounced and rounded shape. Fat grafting ,as a part of liposuction, can fill in defects from overly-aggressive liposuction procedures. Research continues to study the possibility of using fat grafting techniques as a replacement for synthetic implants. Fat grafting has also been proven effective in filling scar depressions from acne, trauma, or surgery as well as in correcting hollows under the eyes.

This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and requires a Orange County local anesthesia. The preoperative follow up is essential and may be the most important part of the procedure. While the pre-operative workup is an extensive consultation identifying areas to be treated, details of the procedure, post-operative care, expectations, and possible adverse outcomes will be discussed with you local Orange County cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Tavoussi.