Microlipoinjection, also called autologous fat transfer, refers to using one’s own fat to plump up sunken or emaciated areas of the face. Because your own fat is being used, autologous fat transfer actually requires two procedures – low-power liposuction of the buttocks or thighs to remove the fat, and injection of the fat into the targeted facial areas.
This procedure is often used in patients who have experienced lipoatrophy, which is loss of the layer of fat in the face that forms the contours of the cheeks and jawline. Microlipoinjection can fill in the hollow areas and restore pleasing contours to the face.
One of the biggest benefits of volume enhancement via fat injection is that there is absolutely no chance of an adverse allergic reaction. Another popular reason for choosing microlipoinjection is the duration of the procedure’s results. Even though about 65 percent of injected fat will be reabsorbed into the body within a few months of transfer, the remaining 35 percent will usually last for years. For the most lasting results, most patients with lipoatrophy choose to have several fat transfer treatments over the course of a few months.
Fat cell transplantation is easily combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures, such as BOTOX. Many patients find that facial fat sculpting is most cost-effective when combined with another procedure, rather than having each treatment done separately.
The Fat Transfer Procedure
Microlipoinjection begins with a very gentle form of liposuction to remove some excess fat from the buttocks, hips, or thighs. In an effort to capture as many undamaged fat cells as possible, only very low suction is used. Once an adequate amount of fat has been gathered, it is usually spun in a centrifuge to isolate the fat cells from the rest of the liquid removed in the liposuction procedure.
Your surgeon will then complete the autologous fat transfer process by injecting the harvested cells into the target areas on your face. He or she will place each fat injection with the intent to create the most pleasing contours. Depending on the amount of liposuction and fat cell transplantation you require, anesthesia for the whole procedure may range from local anesthetic to general IV sedation.
After your fat transfer is complete, you will experience some swelling, bruising, and a tight feeling in the face. Most of the swelling will go away in a few days, and any discomfort you feel can be managed with pain medications. It is important that you follow all post-procedural instructions given to you by your cosmetic surgeon.