Article updated on 07/21/2019
Self-injection of fat or lipofilling
Appeared in the 80s, this method was developed by a French doctor (Dr. Pierre Fournier) who had the idea of reusing the fat obtained during liposuction. There have been variants of the technique (fat centrifugation, freezing, filtration, etc.) but the principle remains the same: fat cells taken from one part of the body can be transferred to another place, implant there , and restore lost volumes. Self-fat injection, also called lipostructure, is one of the techniques for restoring facial volume, which changes with advancing age.
What are the advantages for lipo-filling?
With this technique, we do not worry about the tolerance to the product which is strictly natural. It’s about putting fatty tissue back where it’s lacking. If the technique is well mastered, the duration of the results can reach several years while that of hyaluronic acid injections is 12 to 18 months in the restoration of facial volumes.
To rejuvenate a face, it is possible to treat the following areas:
– flattened cheekbones
– sunken cheeks,
– dark circles,
– the temples,
– sagging eyebrows…
Fat injection for fill dark circles or sunken eyes is particularly interesting and effective. In our opinion, lipofilling is one of the best treatments for sunken or dark circles. The act is light and fast. The results are truly natural if the practitioner is experienced.
Unlike hyaluronic acid, there is no risk of swelling or small recalcitrant edema, occurring after a few weeks. Admittedly, the injection of hyaluronic acid into dark circles is a very quick act, but the effect of edematous swelling is not uncommon, especially when large quantities of product are injected, or when it is repeated often.
How is a facial lipofilling performed?
In integral anti-aging medicine, we retain light and minimally invasive techniques. Additionally, the face requires small amounts of fat. Here is the method we prefer.
1. Removal of body fat
To reshape the volumes of the face, the quantities of fat to be used are small. A simple puncture with a syringe is sufficient. It is done in a few minutes, with local anesthesia of the punctured area.
The fat can come from the hips, belly, thighs, with a preference for the inner side of the knees which seems to give the best results.
2. Injection of fat in the face
After decanting the fat to separate it from the local anesthetic liquid, centrifugation is optional. The fat can then be injected immediately into the chosen area(s) of the face. the injection is done using a “foam” micro-cannula, i.e. having a rounded end, not pointed, not sharp, in the same way as for a volumizing hyaluronic acid, in order to avoid the risk of hematomas and bruises.
3. Treatment follow-up
It is preferable, in our opinion, to proceed in 2 times (or even 3) with small quantities injected each time. Indeed, the implanted fat loses 20 to 30% of its volume in the following month. Proceeding in this way makes it possible to avoid large corrections in one go, where the person treated remains too swollen for about 3 weeks. In addition, successive sessions make it possible to practice lighter interventions and to obtain progressive results without risk of exaggeration.
4. Before-after lipofilling results
Lipofilling of a man’s face (coll. Dr JL Morel 2001):
Lipofilling of a woman’s face (coll. Dr JL Morel 2004):
What are the consequences of lipofilling?
With this way of doing things, the traces are almost non-existent. A slight swelling may persist locally for a few days. There is no need for a bandage. Bruises are rare if the practitioner acts gently, precisely and uses micro-cannulas or blunt-tipped needles.
It is usual to note, in addition to the correction of the missing volume, an improvement in the quality of the skin next to the treated area. This is probably due to tissue reconstruction phenomena where the fat was injected. We also know that fat contains the famous ” stem cells“, capable of giving birth to young cells. It is therefore possible that these bring this effect “ rejuvenating ” skin. It is a real “regenerative medicine” which is taking more and more place in anti-aging medicine.
Recently, the latest lipofilling techniques employ the removal of fat cells rich in stem cells (thanks to a particular extraction/filtration process), to obtain a greater tissue reconstruction and regeneration effect.
The best indications for lipofilling in anti-aging
These are the areas of the face where the effect is obvious, without requiring large amounts of injected fat:
- Dark circles and sunken eyes
- The eyebrow arches
- temples and forehead
- Cheeks and cheekbones.
On the other hand, although it can improve the skin, lipofilling is not made to reduce wrinkles. It can be supplemented, for this, by superficial injections of fluid hyaluronic acid, for example.
The risks of lipofilling
Too much fat injected or poorly distributed can leave excessive correction or even persistent indurations under the skin (especially around dark circles where the skin is very thin).
This can also happen when injecting fat into the lips, a technique that we don’t really recommend. Indeed, the mouth requires very fine and precise corrections that are generally difficult to obtain by injecting fat. Hyaluronic acid is smoother and more manageable than fat injection in this case. Also, fat is not naturally present in the lips.
Complications such as infection or deep vessel or nerve damage are extremely rare. The risk is, a priori, the same as for a volumizing injection of hyaluronic acid or any other filler product.
The injection of one’s own fat is an interesting method in facial rejuvenation. It is, of course, a little more complicated to perform than injections of ready-made fillers. On the other hand, it gives long-lasting results and it uses a completely natural product, free and available at will!