I recently read an article that wondered if the fat graft facelift might somehow be the ultimate facelift, eventually supplanting traditional, surgical procedures. Just how good is the fat graft facelift? Can it really replace the tried-and-tested approach of surgical facelift procedures?
Just How Good is the Fat Graft Facelift Procedure?
The answer to that question isn’t as straightforward as it might, at first, appear. There’s not special kind of race the two procedures can run in reality-show fashion in order to give us an easy answer. Unfortunately, much will depend on what you, as the patient, actually want.
Because there isn’t going to be a superior procedure. There’s just going to be a superior procedure for you. That means taking some time to determine what a fat graft facelift is actually good at and in which situations you might use this particular technique. How good is the fat graft facelift at doing what it does? We’re about to find out!
How Does a Fat Graft Facelift Work?
A fat graft facelift is a relatively novel approach to reducing lines and wrinkles in the face. The basic concept is not dissimilar from what you’d see in the use of dermal fillers such as Juvederm or Voluma. As you age, your face tends to lose volume:
- You develop excess skin
- That excess skin decreases the ratio of tissue to volume in your face
- Your face ends up looking tired and worn out because of it
Traditionally, a facelift would address that excess skin by eliminating it, resetting your aging curve in the process. Juvederm and Voluma injections take a different approach, using fillers to increase the amount of volume in your face—essentially, increasing the ratio of volume to tissue.
A fat graft works, basically the same way. Fat injections increase the amount of volume behind your skin in several key areas. The end results make you look significantly more youthful, eliminating lines and wrinkles along the way. But the differences are important:
- Fat grafting results are permanent. You won’t always look thirty, though. Instead, much as with a facelift, your aging curve will be reset. Dermal fillers tend to be temporary.
- Fat grafting relies on Liposuction. In order to get the fat for injections in the first place, patients must first undergo a liposuction procedure. In many ways, that can be seen as a good thing, but it’s still a surgical procedure that requires its own downtime.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Liposuction
The second big part in understanding fat graft facelift procedures is to know a little bit about liposuction. During a liposuction procedure, surgeons will make a small incision (usually no larger than a couple of centimeters) and insert a small tube called a cannula. This cannula is actually what suctions out the fat. Once the fat is removed from the body, it can be purified for later injections.
There are certainly benefits to undergoing a liposuction procedure as part of a fat graft facelift. First and foremost are the benefits of the liposuction itself: you get to experience the sculpting and molding of your body in a way that leaves you feeling more youthful and fit. Most patients love their liposuction results!
The drawback, of course, is usually one of recovery. Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure, but due it can still require several weeks of recovery. Patients must be willing to undergo that process in order to get the results they’re after.
Which Procedure is the Best One?
If you’re trying to decide between a surgical facelift and a fat graft facelift, I can certainly understand why you might be having trouble. Both procedures seem to offer something unique and important. Fat graft liposuction is great if you want to add volume to your face, and if you want to eliminate certain areas of unwanted fat anyway. It’s a good two-for-one kind of thing.
But traditional, surgical facelift procedures are still the best approach if you’re looking for incredible precision and if you’re looking to eliminate that unwanted excess tissue. If you only have a little bit of that excess skin, a fat graft approach might be best. But significant amounts of excess skin are probably best addressed in the traditional way.
Ultimately, these are conversations you’ll have with your surgeon. Many facelift surgeons will have experience with and opinions on both kinds of procedures. That means that you can ask a wide variety of questions during your consultation—and be relatively confident that you’re getting well rounded, informed opinions. That’s especially true if your surgeon is board certified.
Your surgeon will also be much more familiar with your own circumstances and anatomy. So if you’re interested in finding out for yourself, how good is a fat graft facelift, the best place to start asking more questions is your local cosmetic surgeon.