Fillers are commonly used to replace volume in the face, and other body sites, that is lost from age or trauma. In some cases, especially when more volume is needed than is cost effective with the typical "off-the-shelf" fillers, one's own fat can be harvested and used to fill the face.
What is the procedure of fat transfer?
The process has been improved since its evolution many years ago. With the use of local anesthetic, the donor area from which the fat is harvested, such as the buttocks, outer thigh or abdomen, fat is removed painlessly with a syringe. The fat is processed to remove the anesthetic and oils. The physician then is able to deliver pure fats cells from the patient into their hollow areas of the cheeks and other facial sites, with the use of a syringe. No cutting is needed so the down time is less, but there may be some bruising so this procedure should be scheduled when patients are prepared to have some downtime.
At the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of New York, Dr. Ron Shelton performs fat injections. The fat is obtained fresh during each treatment of the series. Some patients may only have one treatment, but others may need a few repeated several months apart, as not all of the transplanted cells live.
Fat that is injected feels natural and may have a longevity many years more than what is provided with the typical hyaluronic acid fillers used today.
Fat injections are usually delivered into the subcutaneous fat compartment underneath the skin, but sometimes they are injected into the muscle and this can create more swelling for a few weeks. The results look natural and feel soft.