Dr. Dana Coberly
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Coberly, and her Patient Weigh in on Facial Fat Injections
As we age, a number of issues that age us takes place, and two of the most common complaints are what drive individuals to get facial cosmetic procedures. The first is the loss of fullness or facial volume, and the second is deep wrinkles and sagging skin.
Patients have numerous options, but the two most common noninvasive procedures are dermal fillers and facial fat injections. Dermal fillers are known to provide fullness in the lips and cheeks and are often touted as the “liquid facelift” as an alternative to surgery. This procedure is well suited for someone concerned with deep wrinkles, but what about the loss of volume? Volume loss is often referred to as looking gaunt, and it is common in the temples, eyes, cheeks, and jawline. For this issue, there is an innovative noninvasive procedure that is growing in popularity called facial fat injections or fat grafting.
We caught up with Dr. Dana Coberly of Coberly Plastic Surgery and Med Spa to find out more about facial fat injections.
Q: What is the difference between fat injections and dermal fillers?
A: Fat injections are a relatively recent, newer procedure in plastic surgery. It’s designed to rejuvenate the whole face, as opposed to dermal fillers, which spot-treat specific areas. The material, or fat that is injected in the patients is their own, so there is no concern with an adverse reaction. Candidates for fat injections typically have depressed or convex areas, lines, and some dropping effects, but not severe laxity in the skin. The results of the fat injections are very optimal and natural-looking.
Q: How is a patient’s fat harvested and re-administered?
A: I take the fat from prominent areas, which are typically the abdomen or flanks. We need about 50 to 80 mL of fat. This is a fairly significant amount of fat that is then purified and reinjected into the face. The fat is harvested with a small gauge canula and is also reinjected with a small gauge canula as well. These are referred to as the microfat and nanofat grating techniques, and they are unique in that they can be used anywhere on the face, and I have complete control over manually spreading the fat give the best outcome for my patient’s specific needs and concerns.
I can place the filler in the middle layers of the face, which is unlike dermal fillers. With dermal fillers, we see beautiful aesthetic results when it’s placed more superficially in the dermis or deeper near the bone, but if we inject it midway, it gets absorbed and dissipates quickly. With facial fat injections, the fat is most beneficial and appealing in the mid facial layers.
When we inject dermal fillers, we usually inject around 1 to 3 syringes of 1 mL, which is less than a teaspoon. The dermal fillers are temporary, and some last longer than others, but with fat compared to fat injections, where we inject 10-20 teaspoons of fat, fillers treat a much smaller area. Most patients will have some swelling and bruising, but we prescribe medications to assist with those issues; the recovery time for this is 1 to 2 weeks.
We use a conservative approach, but since the patient will look a little swollen in the beginning stages of the injections, and because 25% of the fat will reabsorb, we overcompensate a bit initially. The results are immediate, but at 6 months, the effects are considered complete and permanent. There is a 75% retention or survival rate of the fat that was injected, and the good news is that most patients only require one treatment.
The procedure is done in the office with topical numbing agents, and we also provide “laughing gas” to ease any anxiety. We can also perform the procedure in a surgical suite, but the majority of patients are comfortable in our office.
A Patient’s Perspective:
Dr. Coberly suggested we speak to one of her patients that recently had the facial fat injection procedure. Rachel, who is in her 60s, had developed loss of facial fullness and drooping of one eyelid.
Rachel explained, “The reason I chose Dr. Coberly was that my daughter suggested her after much research and recommendation. I had a hooded eye on one side, and it was starting to bother me physically, and I didn’t like the way my face seemed uneven.
“When I met with Dr. Coberly, I was relieved that she didn’t want to rush into surgery or any invasive procedures. I had a friend that had a bad experience with a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) from another surgeon, and I was apprehensive about surgery in general. When Dr. Coberly explained the fat injection procedure, I was elated. She mentioned that if I didn’t like the results, we could always try something more aggressive down the road. She also explained that the one side of my face had less muscle control than the other, along with loss of volume, which was creating a drooping appearance.
“I can’t say enough good things about her and her staff. They are all personable, caring, and knowledgeable. At my request, the nurse even held my hand during my procedure. I had no pain during the treatment, and I followed Dr. Coberly’s aftercare to the “T,” which included medications to alleviate swelling and bruising, and I also wore a belly band to help my abdomen heal, which is where they harvested my fat from.
“My daughter and my friends say that I look refreshed. I feel as though I look balanced and rejuvenated like I’ve had a fantastic night’s sleep. My eye is lifted, but I still have a little more healing time to go. I’m delighted with my results; Dr. Coberly and her staff are amazing.”
Dr. Coberly specializes in facial, body, and breast cosmetic procedures, as well as numerous med spa and aesthetic methods.
To find out more about facial fat injections or other procedures that Dr. Coberly specializes in, please visit her website at drcoberly.com or call (813) 448-6550 to schedule your consultation today.
Coberly Plastic Surgery Med Spa
Revitalize Your Youthful Appearance With Your Own Fat
Dr. Dana Coberly