Facial implants and facial fat grafting are unique procedures used to augment certain facial features. Many patients desire a certain look and these procedures can be used to enhance different areas of the face. Over time and with aging, certain regions of the face lose volume, which can result in a hollow look, especially around the midface. These procedures can fill in these areas to create a youthful rejuvenated appearance. Implants are made of silicone and most commonly are placed to augment the dorsum of the nose, the cheeks, or the chin. Fat grafting uses the principle of your own tissues to augment different areas of the face, giving a smoother, longer lasting result. Common areas include the nose, cheeks, lips, chin, midface, and around the eyelids. After surgery patients comment on their improved appearance and many times an added benefit of a renewed and revitalized appearance.
Due to the complications associated with implants, fat grafting has been increasing in popularity. Implants are known to potentially cause infection, extrusion, and possible erosion of surrounding tissue. Also, since the implant is pre-made, there is a very little adjustment that can be made, as everyone is not the same size or shape. However, this can be a good option for certain patients, especially those that desire strong structural architecture work or those that want a larger augmentation. Advantages of fat grafting are that it uses your own tissue, has a longer lasting result, resistant to infection, and has the ability to be conformed to any size or shape.
Fat grafting involves two steps. The first is harvesting fat from the abdomen or thighs with a needle and syringe. This fat is then specially processed to remove any dead cells and nonviable fluid. The processed fat is then injected into the desired facial regions to augment these features. There is better control of augmentation as the surgeon controls the amount of fat being injected and in what areas. Regardless of which procedure you decide, the incisions are minimal and well hidden.
During your consultation, Dr. Tsai will present you with all the possible options in detail and work with you to individualize treatment according to your specific goals and expectations to provide you with the best possible result. If you desire other areas of your face rejuvenated, this procedure is often combined with Facelift, Browlift, Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) or Neck lift (Platysmaplasty). There is also a non-invasive option for Skin treatments performed in the adjacent medical spa or at the same time as surgery.
The placement of facial implants or the facial fat grafting procedure typically takes 1 hour to complete. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia (fully asleep) in the adjacent surgicenter. Patients return home the same day as the procedure so transportation will need to be arranged. Your first checkup will be the following day in the clinic. Advice is given to sleep at an upright angle in bed for 24 hours to decrease swelling and bruising to the face. Ice packs are also recommended for the first 24 hours, on and off. There may be bruising to the areas treated, but this is normal and will resolve over the next several days. Patients usually return to normal daily activities within a few days. Pain is tolerated with prescribed oral pain medication. Exercise is resumed approximately 4 weeks after the procedure.
For more information, photos, and videos, please refer to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website for Facial implants