The benefits of fat grafting with a facelift
Friday 6 January 2017

Fat transfer from one area of the body to another has become an increasingly important part of cosmetic surgery. It is now frequently used in breast augmentation, to improve buttock contour and has recently become an important part of facelifting. It allows the replacement of volume to the face that has been lost with ageing, improves tissue contours and also increases the quality of the overlying skin, enhancing the results of the rejuvenation surgery.

With ageing the tissues of the face lose tone and are subjected to gravity, leading to descent of the face, loss of cheek prominence and the formation of jowls below the jawline, along with other changes. The face also loses fat leading to a loss facial volume, ageing the patient further, and the  skin loses elasticity leading to wrinkling and skin laxity.

A facelift comprises a number of procedures used to lift and reposition the facial tissues to the position they occupied when the patient was younger, producing a fresher, more youthful appearance.

These techniques remove skin excess, wrinkles and jowls, and lift and reposition the deeper tissues, reproducing the facial contours associated with a natural, more youthful facial appearance. The aims are usually to increase cheek volume, produce a slimmer lower face and a more defined jaw-line and neck angle.

A facelift usually involves resuspension of the deeper SMAS layer of the face (a layer of tissue between the skin and underlying bone), together with a redraping of the overlying skin and trimming of the excess.  These techniques resuspend and reposition facial volume into the cheeks, improving cheek contour, and produce a slimmer lower face, a cleaner, better defined jawline and neck angle and eliminate jowls.

During facial fat grafting, fat is taken from the abdomen and used to add additional volume to the cheeks and other areas of the face, enhancing cheek contour and giving the face as a whole a soft, youthful appearance.  This significantly improves the rejuvenation by replacing the volume lost.  It also improves skin tone and dermal thickness, providing further rejuvenation benefits and increasing facial attractiveness.  Fat can also be added to other areas around the face to aid this process such as the temples, brow, jawline and lips.

In summary, fat transfer is an important advance in cosmetic surgery, particularly in facelifting. It allows the replacement of volume that is lost as part of the ageing process.  This allows a more comprehensive rejuvenation of the face, optimising facial aesthetic contours, improving skin tone and thickness,and softening the overall appearance of the face.

Mr Paul Tulley

Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon


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