Fat Grafting in Facelift Surgeries

David Santos, MD, graduated from the Tulane University School of Medicine and began his career as a plastic surgeon after completing a fellowship at an Indianapolis facial surgery practice. Currently practicing at Facial Beauty in Bellevue, Washington, he has performed more than 4,000 facelifts as a plastic surgeon.

According to a recent study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 85 percent of surveyed plastic surgeons use fat grafting in facelift procedures. The methodology involves removing small fat deposits from the midsection or thighs, then injecting them into particular regions of the face to add volume. Many surgeons choose to graft into the cheek region, as the injected fat cells add a youthful fullness and roundness. Fat injected into the area above the cheek and below the eyes has a similar effect, as does grafting into the nasolabial folds.

Of the 309 surveyed members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than 70 percent reported having adopted fat grafting within the past 10 years, while more than 45 percent use the technique in over half of their total number of facelifts. These statistics suggest that the technique has rapidly increased in popularity within the surgical profession, and positive patient response suggests that it will remain in use for some time.


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