Amazing–a true rejuvenation of the face–but with no implants, no surgery, and no laser? True artistic sculpting and lifting of the cheeks and face, in minutes, as an outpatient? In the doctor’s office, during “lunchtime?” How?
A technique growing in popularity today is the use of the injectable “wrinkle fillers” in special ways that often lead the filler treatments to be referred to as a “liquid facelift”, “injectable facelift” or even a “facelift in a bottle”. Wrinkle fillers such as Juvederm® and Restylane® are amazing tools to the plastic surgeon. Fillers are most commonly used for softening frown lines and scowl lines around the mouth, eliminating the grooves/folds extending from the nose to the edges of the mouth, and vanquishing the so-called “marionette lines” which form a downturned and sad or angry look to the mouth at its corners. But the fillers can also be used to hide the presence of an impending “jowl” at the jaw line, plump up the cheeks a bit to give the face a fuller and more lifted look and even to lift up and raise the outer eyebrow. With a relatively quick treatment visit to your friendly neighborhood plastic surgeon (i.e. “Lunchtime”), you could get some very nice effects with the fillers similar, in fact, to those that were previously the exclusive domain of the facelift and brow lift surgeries! Add a little plumping to the thinning lips and softening of the lines and folds around the mouth and you get a softer, more pleasant and sensual look as well as a younger look–not even the best facelift can do that!
But the fillers can get expensive. The more “syringes” you need, the more you’ll pay. And although the treatments typically effectively last for more than 6 months or so, its realistic to consider that re-treatment with fillers is likely to require about a twice a year commitment. How about option #2 for the “non-surgical cheek lift”? Fat to the rescue!
Using a special form of office liposuction, fat is gently obtained from any part of the body where you might just have a little extra to spare (and would be very happy to part with?), plastic surgeons will consolidate and concentrate the removed fat into your own personal “injectable filler”. This fat can then be used for facial sculpting in all the same ways as the “off the shelf” fillers that you would otherwise have to buy. As one patient stated, “The fat is free, you just have to pay to have it moved!” Creating fuller, lifted cheeks is the key to a more youthful look as this plumping process also helps to lift and tighten slack facial skin–all without any incisions! Your very own fat becomes like an artistic sculpting tool, which, through a series of tiny injections, is also used to eliminate the folds and lines of facial aging, and to restore a plumpness and sensual shape to the lips, without the use of costly and artificial fillers.
The use of your own body fat to lift and fill the cheeks, eliminating the flatness and hollowing that time may bring, can dramatically rejuvenate the face. One can get a rejuvenated, lifted look to the entire face through sophisticated but simple fat injection/sculpting techniques. The injection process can be done in the office using local anesthetics but this is obviously a more involved process than a simple “wrinkle filler” treatment. Perhaps this would be better considered to be the “extended lunch break” procedure or better still, an “afternoon off” office procedure. Plastic surgeons will often perform facial fat injection/sculpting in the operating room because fat injection/sculpting is frequently combined with other procedures such as more formal liposuction for body recontouring.
There is swelling that accompanies facial fat injections, much more so than would typically be seen after a “filler” treatment, so timing with respect to the social calendar will be more important accordingly. Some of the transplanted fat will be absorbed–patients will have to decide in the months that follow if a re-treatment would be of benefit. Otherwise, your fat persists and does its new job well, happy in its new location and keeping you looking younger and better for many years to come! Research into the “stem cells” that comprise a significant part of the fat used for injection/sculpting is beginning to show that the fat also has special effects on improving the quality of the skin itself, making it look smoother and healthier than it would with any other technique available today such as fillers, implants, surgery or lasers!
Dr. Lyle Back is originally from New York City, receiving his medical and surgical training at Rutgers Medical School, Cooper Hospital – University Medical Center, and Ohio State. He is Board Certified in General Surgery (ABS) and Plastic Surgery (ABPS). He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), and a longstanding member of the premier American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). He served as a Professor of Plastic Surgery at Temple University and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and performed reconstructive surgery with “Operation Smile” in Vietnam. He specializes in the full range of the most modern and state of the art facial cosmetic surgery procedures and non-surgical cosmetic enhancement techniques available today.