Summary: One of the oldest plastic surgery procedures available today is one that is known as a facelift. This procedure is designed to make you look much more youthful than you do today by eliminating wrinkles and excess tissue. However, when it’s stretched too far, your results can suffer. One way to get better results is through a fat graft, so facelift fat graft procedures have become rather commonplace. These fat graft elements add to the facelift a sense of natural-looking results. And, overall, patients like the way they look afterwards.
Add Facelift Fat Graft to Your Plastic Surgery Vocabulary
The point of a facelift is to make you look more youthful, not to make you look as though you’ve undergone some plastic surgery. And yet, sometimes there can be an artificial quality to some facial plastic surgery procedures. This is usually unintentional and may even be a result of trying to push back the clock a little bit too far. You’ve got to have realistic expectations when it comes to your plastic surgery procedure. However, this is also partly a limitation of facelifts and other facial plastic surgery procedures: when the skin is stretched, it can product an “artificial” look to it.
In order to mitigate this, and to give patients a more natural look of rejuvenated skin, plastic surgeons are relying more and more on a procedure called a fat graft. Fat grafts themselves have been around for a while—it’s a way of taking fat that you don’t want in one area and moving it to another area. Fat grafts have been exceptionally popular ways to give patients the so-called Brazilian butt-lift, increasing the size and roundness of the buttocks. But it’s been used in other procedures, as well, and recent research suggests that fat graft techniques are being used in a wide variety of facial procedures in order to give the appearance of a more youthful face.
The end results, generally, look quite natural. That’s because the fat is supposed to be there, in a manner of speaking. As we age, the skin loses volume (you can thank gravity for that one). By adding volume back in, you make the skin more youthful. The more volume that’s added, the less skin has to be removed during a facelift procedure, making it a kind of win-win. After all, the less skin you have to remove and stretch, the better (overall) your facelift results will look. It’s not shocking, then, that fat grafting has become such a popular aspect to this procedure.
So what is fat grafting? It sounds deceptively simple. Essentially, fat is taken from one part of the body and transferred to another. Of course, it’s slightly more complicated than that. It’s not like someone just uses a straw. Rather, in most cases, a kind of liposuction is used (sometimes minimally invasive, depending upon the amount of fat that is to be removed). Once the liposuction procedure removes the fat, the fat is then purified, usually in a centrifuge. Without this purification process, any fat grafting would not be advisable.
Purified Fat is an Essential Step
The purified fat is then injected into the body at strategic locations. One of the problems with fat grafting procedures is that, generally, fat doesn’t like to move. Plastic surgeons often take special steps to ensure the survival of as many fat cells as possible (fat cells that do not survive are simply reabsorbed into the body—there’s no harm in this, but it can diminish the results of the original procedure). Generally, these days, roughly 80% of the fat survives the procedures. This is actually pretty good, and since the number is relatively stable, plastic surgeons can accurately anticipate the end results.
A facelift combined with this fat graft technique can help make you look more youthful—but not in an obvious way. That is, you’ll look younger, but not necessarily like you’ve had plastic surgery. You’ll look rested, rejuvenated, maybe even happier. The key to all of this is a combination of the surgical facelift procedure and the non-surgical (at least, once the fat is harvest) fat graft procedure. It’s important to emphasize this because, often, surgical and non-surgical procedures are pitted against each other (it’s a marketing choice for many).
The truth of the matter is that, often, by combining surgical and non-surgical techniques, finding ways to innovate with them both together, surgeons are able to produce even better results. This is true whether you’re talking to a Ridgewood, NJ, facelift surgeon or a team of Alaskan Botox experts (they exist, trust me). The best results usually come when multiple techniques are used, that way the weaknesses of any one technique are mitigated and the strengths of all these techniques are combined. Now, strictly speaking this isn’t always possible, and you’ll definitely want to discuss combining procedures with your plastic surgeon before you commit to anything.
That said, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box to get the results you want. Plastic surgery is always innovating, always coming up with new ways to get great results. After all—the best plastic surgery is that which gives you great results, but which isn’t detectable.