shutterstock_116350579Fat grafting as part of facelift surgery has gained considerable ground in recent years, according to a study in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.

In fact, 85% of plastic surgeons polled said they used fat grafting during facelift procedures. Consistent with the recent increase in use of this technique, more than 70% of surgeons said they had started performing fat grafting to the face within the past 10 years.

The researchers surveyed a random sample of American Society of Plastic Surgeons members regarding their use of fat grafting for facelift procedures. Responses were received from 309 ASPS Member Surgeons. The survey also collected details on the techniques used to collect and transfer fat grafts, including fat collection, processing, and transfer steps. Fat was commonly collected from the abdominal area and injected in small amounts. The total amount injected was typically between 11 and 25 cc—no more than a few teaspoons.

One of the main sites of fat injection was the malar area. The area below the lower eyelids and the nasolabial folds between the nose and the corners of the mouth were other common sites for fat grafting.

While some of the injected fat is reabsorbed over time, the plastic surgeons believed that most of the transferred fat was still present at up to 1 year after facelifting. If necessary, follow-up procedures were performed to refine the results after 4 to 6 months. Patient and surgeon satisfaction rates with the results of fat grafting were good.

Researchers write that the use of fat grafting can provide additional volume when the desired facial shape and “volumetric highlights” can’t be obtained by repositioning the existing facial fat. “The results of our survey demonstrate most surgeons currently believe that facial fat repositioning in combination with volume addition increases the ability to utilize these two complementary techniques to restore the volumetric highlights noted in youth, thereby enhancing facial shape.”