Can Facial Fat Grafting Be Improved With The Addition of Growth Factors?
Q: I’m interested in a facial fat graft. You’ve mentioned in one your Explore Plastic Surgery blogs about the use of growth factors with fat grafting. My understanding is that these can be derived from the patient’s blood . How is that done and how does it work?
A: Fat grafting to the face through injection techniques become popular because it is both natural (organic you might say) can be placed fairly precisely. Its one drawback is that the survival of the fat is not predictable. There are numerous steps with fat grafting that will influence survival from the way it is harvested to how and where it is injected. One historic variable in this pathway has been the addition of agents to the fat graft that may help it survive. Insulin is the best example of this approach. A contemporary agent to add to fat grafts is growth factors. This is done by adding the patient’s own concentrated platelets. Known as platelit-rixh plasma (PRP), this is an extract from the patient’s own blood that is drawn during surgery. The blood is processed in such a way so that several ccs. of platelet concentrate is obtained. This is then mixed in with the fat graft.
While the use of platelets with fat graft injection is a natural agent, it has yet to be proven to be conclusively beneficial to an improved survival volume. Its concomitant use is currently based on more of an alchemy approach with the hope that the potent growth factors which the platelets contain will help the stem cells in the fat graft survive, differentiate into fat cells, and help main graft volume.