As people advance in age, it is natural that the contours of the face begin to sag and droop. And while the rest of the body gains weight, facial volume often does not recover. This is behind patients’ increasing interest to restore their facial volume. Recently, various procedures that can increase facial volume and smooth out facial skin have been introduced. Among them, both autologous fat transfer and stem cell transplant procedures have become more popular.
Autologous fat transfer is a surgical procedure that smooths out facial skin by increasing elasticity and restoring the natural facial line. This is done by transferring unnecessary fat from the lower abdomen, the hips, or the thighs using a specially designed syringe that separates the pure fats before grafting them into wrinkled or shrunken areas of the face. Because the fat is taken from the patient’s own body, autologous fat transfer has fewer side effects and its outcome is more natural compared to surgical procedures using artificial implants or synthetic materials.
Autologous fat transfer has the additional advantage of reshaping the body itself by removing fat in the fleshy lower abdomen, hips and thighs. Once fat is removed, it can be stored and transferred again later. Because only autologous tissue is used, the graft site retains its previous smoothness, and it is a simple surgery that results in almost no scarring or bleeding.
Although fat is taken directly from the patient’s own body, there is a chance that the graft survival rate will be low. The graft survival rate, which dictates the success of fulfilling the patient’s objectives, is the ratio of grafted tissue that survives when transferred into facial tissue. One way to maximize the effect is through the use of stem cells. All fat cells contain stem cells, and if fat cells extracted from the abdomen or other donor sites are transferred immediately to the face, the effect of stem cells, which proliferate and are maintained according to any cellular situation, cannot realize their full potential.
Therefore, only when stem cells are separated using a state-of-the-art stem cell extractor and are then mixed with pure fat cells and injected into the face, can the graft survival rate be increased. This method can increase the graft survival rate of fat cells by up to 60 – 70%, and once engrafted, these cells will survive semi-permanently, with the facial anti-aging effects lasting for more than 10 years.
As the extraction of stem cells is a complicated process, sterile facilities must be well-equipped, and the staff’s know-how of extracting and processing tissue is essential to carry out the safe surgical procedure customized for an individual. Thus, it is necessary to be careful when selecting a hospital.
There also are precautions in autologous fat transfer. If an excessive amount of fat is injected or the patient’s physical condition is too sensitive, the following side effects may occur: a lump of fat may be necrotized, the facial surface may become rough, or the graft site may suffer severe swelling, a lump or a bruise.
This is why choosing a highly trained doctor is key. The most important thing is to obtain the desired facial âvolume-up’ effect by maintaining the high graft survival rate even with a small amount of fat cells. Those who elect to have this surgery need to have sufficient consultation and accurate diagnosis before the procedure begins, and then undergo autologous fat transfer safely and naturally without unreasonable expectations.
Although autologous fat transfer may lead to the desired dramatic outcomes – such as a higher forehead, smoother facial contours and improved nasolabial folds – the side effects may prevent complete satisfaction. These can often be avoided when post-surgical instructions and treatments are strictly followed. After autologous fat transfer, it is advisable to get enough sleep and to eat well for the first three months as well as to avoid excessive drinking and smoking.
For more information, please contact Coordinator Seo Mi-young at 051-630-0123/010-9345-4556. You can also visit them online at eng.moonhwa.or.kr
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