Autologous Fat Implants
For individuals who wish to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and creases, autologous fat implants may represent the most advanced method of treatment to date. Using the patient's own fat supply, autologous fat implants fill out areas of the face and body that have experienced:
- post-traumatic defects
- fat loss due to aging
Because autologous fat implants use the patient’s own fat, the risk of rejection is low, and there is no chance of an allergic reaction, as sometimes occurs with other injectables such as collagen.
How is the procedure performed?
Surgeons are able to perform autologous fat implants in an outpatient setting using only local anesthetic if another, more major procedure is not being conducted simultaneously. The most common areas for autologous fat implants include around the eyes and mouth, and the cheeks. Some patients receive implants on the backs of their hands to address fat loss through aging, and an increasing number of implants are being performed to increase the size or accentuate the shape of the buttocks and breasts.
When performing autologous fat implant, fat is liposuctioned from a fat-rich part of the body, such as the thighs or abdomen. Then the fat is cleaned, the excess fluid is removed, and a small needle is used to inject the fat into the area to be treated. In order to maximize results, most fat implants are injected into the muscle tissue, where the fat tissue receives nourishment from the high concentration of blood vessels. Generally speaking, autologous fat implants take from around 30 minutes to an hour to perform, and can be done in combination with other procedures such as a face lift or lipoplasty.
Following autologous fat implants, patients rarely experience much pain, but a light narcotic such as Tylenol with codeine should be sufficient to address any discomfort. Some patients find that their implants dissipate somewhat over time, with a certain amount of the fat being reabsorbed by their systems, especially if there is not sufficient blood supply. Overall, however, autologous fat implants tend to be permanent and low-risk solutions to many cosmetic issues.