Study Asks, How Long Does Fat Grafting Last?

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Using fat from the patient’s own body, in a procedure called fat grafting, can have long lasting benefits on the undereye area.(*)

A recently published study published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery asked, “How long does fat grafting last?” when injected near the eyes. The results were largely positive for many patients.

The effects of the treatment are generally known to last longer than injectable fillers, which are cheaper, but must be redone yearly. Fat grafting involves using liposuction to remove fat from a donor site, like the thighs, purifying the fat and reinjecting it into depressions in the face.

So, How Long Does Fat Grafting Last?

According to the results of the study, the majority of patients who received fat grafting in the lower eyelids saw the results lasting up to three years. Over the course of four years, the study tracked nearly one hundred patients aged 35 to 71 who had chosen the treatment. Comparing photos taken every few months, the team rated the improvement seen in the photos as the patients aged.

Though the results were about in line with with the study team says they expected, they did not compare the fat grafting results with those of injectable fillers like Restylane. Still, as a more long term option for filling facial depressions and wrinkles, fat grafting is common and growing in popularity.

Patients who are elderly, who smoke, or those who exercise heavily may not see the effects of fat grafting quite a long as others. Additionally, for any inconsistencies in the appearance of the injected fat, some patients may choose to undergo touch-up procedures to fine-tune the effect or to make it last longer.

What Makes People Look Older?

It’s true that as we age, the years we’ve lived become obvious on our faces in the form of lines, wrinkles and general sagginess. The cause of these signs of aging can be quite varied and time can have different effects for different people. So, the question remains, what makes people look older?

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A recent New York Times article delved into this question and distilled how people of differing skin types and colors show age in different ways.

For plastic surgeons, what makes people look older can be grouped into a “holy trinity” of changes. These include wrinkles and age spots, a general loss of volume and an overall sagginess of the skin.

Generally speaking, those with darker skin tones aged more slowly. As dark skin has more pigment in it, it is better protected against the aging effects of the sun. Dark skin also tends to be oilier and thicker, making it more resistant to the signs of aging. Additionally, round faces, as many people with dark skin may have, show the signs of aging more slowly that those with thinner faces as more youthful volume is preserved.

Another cause of what makes people look older is how, over time, the skin has lost volume and begins to droop. This leads to bagginess around the eyes and the appearance of jowls, among other issues. To correct loose skin around the eyes, eyelid surgery can be performed, while a facelift can diminish jowls in the lower face. If the skin has begun to slide down from the cheeks, facial contouring or augmentation can restore it.

learn more about combating the common signs of aging, we encourage you to contact Minnesota plastic surgeon Dr. Smith.