As we age, we often lose the volume and pleasing rounded edges that made our faces beautiful or handsome when we were younger. Naturally, many would like to restore their good looks. People often consider improving their hollow cheeks, nasolabial folds and marionette lines with dermal fillers or fat grafting, in Inland Empire where I practice and across the country. In this article we’ll consider:
- Why have a fat transfer procedure when dermal fillers are so easy?
- Why doesn’t everyone use fat grafting for volume loss and nasolabial folds now?
- What advantages does BeautiFill have over traditional fat grafting and fillers?
Editor’s Note: Dr. Brian Machida is a highly experienced facial plastic surgeon. In his career he has performed some 4,000 facial plastic surgery procedures, including facelift, neck lift and fat grafting procedures in Inland Empire and Beverly Hills, California. Today he practices as STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario, CA. He is the first to offer BeautiFill in Inland Empire.
Why use Fat Transfer when dermal fillers like Juvéderm and Restylane are so easy?
There’s no question that Juvéderm, Restylane and other dermal fillers are easy to use. They provide immediate results. So, why should you consider fat grafting to restore volume and improve nasolabial folds and marionette lines?
The main reasons are the length of time your younger look will last and your total cost. Most dermal fillers today are based on hyaluronic acid, a natural body substance. And while hyaluronic acid fillers will give you great instant results, those results won’t last long. Your body begins absorbing most fillers shortly after your injections. Manufacturers often recommend coming in for a new round of shots every year or so.
In contrast, the results of a good fat grafting procedure often last for years. They could literally last a lifetime. In this procedure, we transfer fat cells from one part of your body to another. And if your body accepts hyaluronic acid fillers, it should certainly accept your own fat cells.
And while a round of Juvéderm or Restylane shots costs less than a fat grafting procedure, the cost of getting new shots every year will quickly add up. Soon, it will total more than fat transfer.
So, while the lower price may be attractive while you’re working and have a better income, imagine what will happen when you retire. Or, worse, if you lose your job after your mid-50’s. If you must choose between maintaining your looks and making your house or car payment, most people will have to forego their upcoming round of shots. Soon, they’ll be looking older.
However, if you have a lasting fat grafting procedure when you can afford it, you may be set for years. You can continue to enjoy looking your best. And if you did need to look for a new job, you can do it with the advantage of looking younger rather than older.
Why doesn’t everyone use fat grafting to add volume and improve nasolabial folds now?
With all the advantages fat transfer offers, you might well wonder why it’s not always the procedure of choice. The biggest reason is that with traditional fat grafting methods many transplanted fat cells will not survive even for a year. BeautiFill, which we’ll discuss in detail below, solves this problem beautifully. But here, we’re talking about the fat transfer most doctors now perform.
“The Science behind Autologous Fat Grafting” (Annals of Medicine and Surgery, November 10, 2017) states:
In 1987, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons reported the problems and difficulties that have been encountered with autologous fat transplantation and concludes that only 30% of injected fat can be expected to survive for 1-year.
Since then, “take” rates have improved to the point where we’d expect that 50% to 70% of grafted fat cells will survive. Unfortunately, when up to half of the fat cells providing new volume to your face die, you can be left with results that won’t make you happy. This is not just a matter of volume loss, nasolabial folds and marionette lines starting to return. If the surviving cells are not evenly distributed, you could be left with lumps and bumps that you won’t want to see. That’s why I am thrilled to offer my patients BeautiFill fat grafting in Inland Empire, California.
BeautiFill offers big advantages over traditional fat grafting and fillers
The reason why traditional fat transfer doesn’t perform better is the reason I became the first facial plastic surgeon to offer BeautiFill in Inland Empire, CA. With BeautiFill, 90-95% of cells transferred through fat grafting survive!
The traditional fat transfer procedures performed in most doctors’ offices today follow these steps:
- Use liposuction to suck fat out of a body location where it’s not wanted
- Wash fat cells with saline to remove cellular debris
- Separate the fat cells with a centrifuge
- Manually load fat cells into syringes (even packing them with gloved fingers)
- Inject fat cells into the desired location
One problem with this method is that is that many fat cells are lost during this rough treatment. Harvest rates can be as low as 30-50%. After washing, only 20-25% of fat cells removed with traditional methods may still be viable. With BeautiFill, harvest rates are much higher. For instance, 50cc of unwanted fat may yield 40-45cc of usable fat cells. That’s a huge improvement!
Additionally, the fat grafting method used at most offices exposes fat cells designed to remain safely in the body to outside air. Scientific American magazine reported on research revealing: “as many as 2,000 different kinds of microbes may be present in the air we breathe on any given day.”
Traditional fat transfer exposes your fat cells to that environment. And even careful washing cannot remove all cellular debris. This is no doubt why traditional fat grafting often results in temporary inflammation. It’s caused by your white blood cells defending against invaders. Unfortunately, while they kill bacteria, your newly grafted fat cells can die as well.
In contrast, the BeautiFill system is completely sealed from outside air. The cannula used to remove unwanted fat has a patented laser at the tip. This melts fat cells, which it gently suctions into the removal tube. Fat cells travel to a filter that washes out blood and fibrous tissue. The system now automatically seals your fat cells into syringes. Your physician can now inject them where you need to replace fat.
They can use fat cells to soften nasolabial folds and marionette lines and add volume to wherever you need it. And since the BeautiFill system has treated them so gently, many more fat cells – up to 95% – will survive.
BeautiFill – better fat grafting that’s not yet easy to find
Clearly, BeautiFill allows physicians to offer great, lasting results. Unfortunately, this improved method is not yet found at many cosmetic medical practices. If you’re looking to restore sunken cheeks, improve marionette lines and soften nasolabial folds with BeautiFill in Inland Empire, California, you can find me at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario. CONTACT Dr. Machida Inland Empire, CA