"Just because you can lift it does not mean it fell."
In our newest era of facial rejuvenation, this phrase has never been more true. We have been learning that concepts of facial youth have a lot to do with the location and quantity of facial volume and how this changes over time. Current research has shown that we can recognize an aging face from a distance (too far to notice wrinkles). This is because the actual shape of the face has changed from volume differences.
For example, a child's face is very circular. This is because the developing facial skeleton starts in a more round shape and the fat distribution in the face of a child in the cheeks and neck approximate a circle. In fact, the face does not begin to take on a more oval shape until the early twenties and does not mature to it's most beautiful, "heart-shpaed" form until the late twenties or even the early thirties. After this timepoint, volume changes that affect the location and quantity of facial fat as well as changes in bone volume (which contributes to a much lesser degree) begin to change the face in such a way that it can often be identified according to a person's actual age.
Of course, facial volume is not the only factor in facial aging - I like to express the process using the analogy of a three-legged stool. Facial aging involves changes in skin quality, changes in facial laxity AND changes in facial volume. The first two processes are dealt with by the use of laser resurfacing and lifting procedures (like a facelift). The volume issue, however, is often ignored or grossly undertreated.
Most facial aging requires a volume replacement of 30-50cc. This may sound like a lot if you think about it in terms of Restylane or Juvederm (which are sold in 1-cc increments), but in terms of how much volume this actually is, picture 1/4 to 1/3 of a can of soda. This volume, which is best replaced by using one's own fat ("autologous" fat), is carefully and strategically placed back into the areas of loss in order to further add harmony and finesse to the process of facial rejuvenation.
Autologous fat is your own living tissue and can be harvested from a number of places on your body without leaving any scars or visible contour changes. We use the latest technology to purify the harvested fat and maximize the long-term results and consistency. Early experiences with autologous fat transfer were less predictable, but the latest applications make the results more permanent and easier to control.
When a patient sees me for facial rejuvenation, a careful examination includes assessment of the three factors of facial aging (skin, laxity and volume) and recommendations depending on the areas affected. In some cases, autologous fat transfer is all that is needed to achieve a natural result. In others, a combined approach is necessary.
How can you tell if you might benefit from autologous fat transfer? Look in the mirror in a well-lit room and ask yourself: Are my temples a little sunken? Do I have circles under my eyes? Are my cheek bones a little angular and not as smooth as they used to be? Do I have visible "jowls" because of a depression on between my chin and jawline? Does my face look "heart-shaped" or is it starting to look more square? Do I have a "tired" look?
If you think the answer to some of these questions is yes, autologous fat transfer may be the best solution to rejuvenate your face naturally.
For personalized analysis and recommendations for facial rejuvenation that include all of the approaches to best achieve a natural result, contact our office to arrange a consultation. Patients find this visit to be an enjoyable and enlightening experience.