Q: Dr. Eppley, I would love to smooth out the under eye area- fill in the depressions created when I smile, and add an over-all fullness that I have lost, most recently in the last year as I have gone through menopause. I experienced a rapid and major estrogen deficiency that truly took a toll, especially in my face to appearing almost gaunt. (being a woman is quite a life-time adventure in of itself!) Looking at pictures just one year ago show a noticeable loss of facial volume even though I have experienced no overall weight loss or gain. Again, thank you for sharing your time and expert skill with me.
A: In interpreting your facial concerns they are two-fold: lower eyelid hollowness and a general mid-/lateral facial involution below the zygomatic body and arch bone levels. While both of these are caused by loss of fat, they may or may not be treated similarly. For the generalized facial wasting, the only effective treatment is fat injections. This is the only way to help restore larger facial surface areas that have no underlying bony support. (what I call the facial trampoline area) The lower eyelids are a bit different because the thin skin exposes the use of fat injections to risks of asymmetry and irregularities with so little interface of tissue between the lower eyelid skin and the underlying orbital bone. Other options include the use of orbital rim implants and dermal-fat grafts but those are not without their own issues. (more invasive, palpability, donor site harvest) Given these issues I would favor fat, whether it is of the injected or en bloc variety.
Dr. Barry Eppley