Will Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Help Facial Fat Grafts To Survive?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in fat augmentation around my facial implants. My biggest concern is how much fat will survive as the plastic surgeon I saw mentioned that the presence of the implants will make it less likely the injected fat cells will be able to develop their own blood supply and grow. This gives me pause as I’m not too keen on another procedure that might just be an expensive temporary natural filler. I would appreciate your thoughts on this and how to maximize the survival of any grafted fat.  Are there any other options to reduce the noticeability of the implants and fill/round out the cheeks more?

A: Your plastic surgeon did reach out to me and I have discussed your case with him. Fat injections are the only treatment that can be used as the ‘missing’ piece of your face is now not what is on the bone but is where the bone/implants aren’t. It is true that the final take of injected fat is both variable and not completely predictable. But I know of no scientific evidence that supports the supposition that fat grafts take less well over or around facial implants. And where you need the fat is to fill in the areas around and between the implants which is only soft tissue anyway.

One technique that can be done to improve fat graft survival is the use of platelet-rich plasma. (PRP) By mixing PRP with the fat grafts, it optimally enhances fat cell survival through its growth factor effects. It may also have an inducing effect on the stem cells that naturally reside in fat. Given that it is an extract from your own blood, there is no reason not to use this natural fat ‘booster’.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana