Lipostructure is ideal for people who have depressed areas due to trauma or aging, or for those who would like to enhance a particular feature, such as the lips. One of the most exciting recent developments in facial Plastic Surgery is using fat to correct the areas of the face that loose fat as part of the aging process. In an occasional patient, some fairly remarkable rejuvenation results can be achieved by injecting fat without the surgical lifting procedures.
“My lips were very thin—barely noticeable at all. I’d always admired the beautiful lips on other people. Now I have full, sensual lips too! And the best thing—it used my own fat cells; not an artificial substance.” —E.C. (age 22)
About the Procedure
This procedure can be performed in the office, or in the operating room in conjunction with other procedures. During the procedure, Dr. Kress gently removes fat from either the abdomen or buttocks using special suctioning instruments designed to remove the fat without damaging the cells. The fat is then concentrated using the Coleman method (named for the surgeon who invented the procedure), and is carefully re-injected into the areas to be augmented.
Unlike other fill methods, as much as 60 to 70% of the injected fat remains as a permanent improvement.
There will be swelling that accompanies this procedure that may last as long as 2 weeks, and there may also be some minor bruising that generally subsides in just a few days.
A softening of the lines associated with facial aging and a smoother contour to scars and areas of trauma is possible. Rounder, fuller lips can be achieved through lipostructure as well.
- How difficult is it to remove fat later on if I change my mind?
It is extremely difficult because the fat is put in, not as a big puddle of fat, but as very small, discreet strings of fat. It would be virtually impossible for a liposuction cannula to go in and remove that. Surgical removal of soft tissue would be a potential alternative.
- I was in an auto accident and I now have a dent in my thigh where the car door hit it. Would lipostructure be able to repair it?
Yes. Indentations as you describe have recently become known as fat fractures, and the only effective treatment is lipostructure. This may need to be done over several sessions since there are limits to the amount of fat that can be instilled at one time.
- I don’t think I have any donor fat. Does that mean I can’t have the surgery?
We have become pretty creative in finding places from which to harvest fat. In fact, we actually have had a few patients whose body fat percentage was so low that we couldn’t find any donor fat. One area that we would consider is the mons pubis, which is the little fat pad bump just beneath the pubic hair. Some areas in the inner thigh and some areas of the buttocks can also be harvested for small quantities of donor fat.
- If I gain weight will my areas of lipostructure gain also?
That’s a very interesting question and is still a topic of some controversy. In theory, an overall weight gain would be reflected in the transplanted fat cells. There is very little proof of this to date, however.
- How does this compare overall to the other filler substances?
- Permanent at about the 60 – 70% level.
- An entirely autologous tissue—there is no possibility of allergic reaction or rejection.
- Difficult or impossible to remove.
- Limited volume at each individual session. May require multiple sessions.
- Can be more uncomfortable and inconvenient since there are two surgical sites; a donor site and a recipient site.
- Similar recovery; bruising and swelling times.
- Excellent history with clinical data going back ten years.