Fat Grafting and Nanofat Transfer for the Utimate in Facial Aging Treatment
What’s New in Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine for 2021-22: The latest advances in my practice
Part I: Nanofat and Improved Fat Grafting Techniques
Moving tissue from one part of the body to another is nothing new- it is the essence of how Plastic Surgeons help reconstruct the body from injury, disease and deformity. Transferring fat had been around for decades, but its populations and uses expanded gradually. I first learned fat grafting techniques in the late 1990’s. We would cautiously add fat cells to wrinkles and the cheek for cosmetic enhancement with very nice results. We had fears of causing lumps or problems, and were not entirely sure of what would happen to these fat cells over time.
What we have learned is that fat can survive happily when treated gently and transferred carefully. Even more surprising has been the influence of the fat cells on the tissues around it. Fat is a living tissue, packed with growth factors and stem cells that influence healing and skin regeneration. Areas of the body that have healthy fat layers heal beautifully, while areas with little or no fat heal very slowly (like the Achilles’ tendon area). Even irregular scars can be improved with fat grafting in some circumstances.
Fat cells can be transferred whole for areas that require volume restoration, or filtered and ruptured to create “nanofat”, which is a fine, thin liquid that is ideal to stimulate rejuvenation not the skin. We use nanofat to the eyelids, vermillion border of the lip, acne scars and for micro needling the entire skin of the face and neck. The skin takes on a renewed appearance with better coloration, blood flow and fewer fine wrinkles.
I now perform fat grafting to the face and breast in our office procedure suite with light oral sedation.
While plastic surgeons can’t prevent all aging and skin changes, we finally have a safe tool to slow the aging process.