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.
INSIGHTS FROM ‘BEHIND THE NEEDLE’
In the past, plastic surgery was all about having operations to reverse the effects of aging on the face. Time was, once you could no longer stand to see yourself in the mirror or in pictures…facelifts, eye tucks and the like became appealing with all of the associated swelling and bruising, recovery, and expense.
Over the past ten years, non-surgical injectable treatments have become popular for men and women of all ages…and have become part of mainstream society in ways that rival Starbucks, energy drinks, and iPhones. The concepts of muscle paralysis, plumping fillers, and fat dissolving agents have made it possible to have smooth foreheads, fuller lips and softer laugh lines, and maybe some subtle tightening of the jowls and neck in a few simple visits to the doctor’s office. Unlike surgery, injectable facial treatments are as much about the prevention of the effects of aging as they are about reversing what has already taken place.
Along with this explosion of available injectable treatments have come the inevitable, unbelievable marketing claims, and so-called ‘expert’ injectors. But, like much of what you may read on the internet, in popular magazines, and hear in commercials , what can you really believe? How do you separate reality from marketing hype? How can you decide where-or if-injectable treatments are for you? And if so, which ones??
Dr. Barry Eppley, board-certified plastic surgeon of Indianapolis, takes you on a broad tour of every injectable treatment option. Providing insight into Botox®, the many injectable fillers, and lipodissolve, Dr. Eppley provides the current science behind the treatments, and talks plainly about his experience and observations. These insights from ‘behind the needle’ about these incredibly popular injectable treatments are available nowhere else.
Whether you are just researching Botox® or fillers, or are a seasoned expert with an upcoming consultation about the next new option, Dr. Eppley gets you ready for Injecting Youth!