Understanding Alternative Facial Rejuvenation Injections
Face

Two Anti-Aging Alternatives To Traditional Injectables: Fat Injections And PRP

Published:

May 30, 2018

I’m dedicated to helping my patients look their best, and that often involves decreasing or even reversing signs of aging. Facial aging involves a number of processes, including loss of skin elasticity, decrease in soft tissue volume, and downward displacement of the skin and tissues. This combination usually results in the appearance of wrinkles, prominent laugh lines and jowls, and overall flattening of facial curves. Over the last few decades, plastic surgeons have developed a range of treatments in an attempt to reverse—or at least slow—these signs of aging. Two of these treatment options include injecting your face with fat or plasma taken from your own body. These are great options if you’re looking for a natural alternative to traditional injectables. Here’s a breakdown of the two treatments.

FAT INJECTIONS (YES, WE USE YOUR FAT!)

Fat injections aim to: restore volume and improve contour in the face; fill in wrinkles, creases, and lines; create moderate lifting effect of the soft tissues; and contribute to younger looking skin through the age-combating properties of stem cells found in fat.

The procedure involves harvesting a patient’s own fat (usually from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks). Then, with a tiny cannula, the fat is purified and injected in small, layered amounts into superficial and deep soft tissues. Bonus: this means you can have the treatment in conjunction with liposuction.

What do fat injections really do?

Fat injections are a popular method to enhance the cheekbones. They create a softer, rounder, more youthful appearance to the midface by replenishing lost soft tissue volume. Adding fat to the area can also lift the skin of the cheeks and middle of the face. Fat injections can also help improve the appearance of the tear trough by camouflaging the bony rim under the lower eyelid.

Other important cosmetic uses of fat injections include: lip enhancement; filling in nasolabial folds (laugh lines) and deep wrinkles (smile lines); and non-surgical chin augmentation. Finally, fat injections can also be used on other parts of the body — to correct indentations or depressions due to surgical or acne scars, and to fix contour irregularities after liposuction.

Who’s the ideal candidate?

If you are in good overall health, want to improve certain areas of your appearance, and have sufficient body fat that can be harvested to achieve the desired result, then you’re a good candidate.

What are the risks?

One of the greatest advantages of fat injections is the fact that they use your own fat, and therefore have none of the potential risks associated with synthetic or off-the-shelf products—so no allergic or immune reactions.

As with any minimally invasive surgical procedure, there may be some swelling and bruising at the sites of fat removal, as well as at the injection sites. In areas where the skin is very thin, injected fat may occasionally be visible as small lumps or bumps under the skin.

Does it hurt?

The procedure may be performed either under local anaesthesia alone or with sedation (“twilight” anaesthesia). It’s relatively painless and has minimal downtime.

How much does it cost?

The cost of fat injections depends on the area(s) treated and the amount of fat needed to achieve the desired result. The procedure should be performed in an operating room under sterile conditions. Total surgical fees may start around $4500-$6500 based on the type of surgical facility and whether an anaesthesiologist provides sedation.

How long do results last?

Fat injections involve transferring living fat cells from one part of the body to another, and the success of the procedure depends on the ability of those fat cells to thrive in their new environment. Although a fraction of the transferred fat may not survive, the fat that does will be incorporated into the surrounding tissues and produce permanent results.

PRP INJECTIONS (AKA USING YOUR OWN BLOOD)

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is obtained by drawing a patient’s blood and separating the blood cells from the plasma components in a centrifuge. PRP consists of liquid plasma rich in natural growth factors that target the appearance of aging skin and help promote skin rejuvenation. This results in smoother, younger, healthier, and more radiant skin. It also diminishes fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin tone.

What does PRP really do?

PRP is often used in conjunction with microneedling or injected directly under the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production, and increase skin turnover. It’s useful in common problem areas such as the tear trough in the lower eyelids, smile and laugh lines, and acne-scarred skin on the cheeks, chin, and forehead.

Who’s the ideal candidate?

PRP can benefit both adult women and men from their mid-30s on, as well as patients of all skin color and pigmentation. It’s a great alternative if you are weary of heat-based laser treatments like Fraxel or Clear + Brilliant.

What are the risks?

Injections of plasma are performed with tiny needles to minimize discomfort. When used in conjunction with microneedling, both procedures are carried out after applying numbing cream to the skin. After the treatment, there may be some temporary swelling and bruising at the site of the injections.

Does it hurt?

There is minimal discomfort, limited downtime, and results are noticeable shortly after treatment.

How much does it cost?

PRP injections may cost in the range of $1500-2500, depending on the areas treated and number of injections required.

How long do results last?

The boost in collagen stimulation occurs over the course of 2-3 weeks following the procedure. You can repeat the treatment every 4-6 weeks in order to maximize results.

Combining fat with PRP injections addresses some of the major issues seen in aging, namely loss of soft tissue volume as well as thin, inelastic skin.

 

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