Fat has never enjoyed a good reputation.
Often despised, and never welcomed… until now!
There is immense research occurring at the moment into fat, and in particular, it’s regenerative properties. Through the use of fat injection in the face, breast, and body in both reconstructive and cosmetic applications, we have come to notice that the areas where fat has been introduced into seem to display some form of renewal or rejuvenation. These observations include a softening of skin texture and an improvement in the quality of scars. Whether this phenomenon is due to unique cellular properties of fat that promote regeneration and rejuvenation is yet to be confirmed through rigorous clinical and laboratory studies. Time will tell.
Fat is increasingly becoming an increasingly common tool utilised in plastic surgery. In the face, fat is injected as an autologous (the body’s own) form of filler to augment atrophied (wasted) areas and deep lines. As an example, a facelift by itself does not always completely flatten out the fold between the nose and the lips on each side of the face (the nasolabial fold). In such circumstances, fat injection can be used effectively as an adjunct to further soften these lines. Fat can also be used to correct facial asymmetry in cases of trauma, previous surgeries, or birth deformities. In the breast and body, fat can be used to improve on size, contour, and symmetry. The fat that is used is generally “harvested” from the abdomen or anywhere else on the body where there is excess and unwanted fat.
We’re entering into an era where fat is no longer despised. There is in fact great hope in fat. It’s clinical use in restorative and regenerative plastic surgery is expanding and showing promise. The true details of why and how fat is good for us will be revealed in time through further research. Of equal importance are findings of any potential negative side-effects or risks of fat injections.
The positive application of fat is an example of how plastic surgery is an ever evolving specialty. As always, one must approach any new technique with a cautious eye, balancing it’s risks and benefits, and tailoring the best technique to fit the individual patient.