Micro Fat Grafting
Since 1997, Dr. Lucie Capek has been performing micro-fat transfers, or grafting, for natural and long lasting rejuvenation and contouring of the face and hands. She calls it the ultimate “green” procedure because it utilizes your own fat cells from unwanted ‘donor sites’ like your thighs, to enhance areas that need volume and reshaping. Patients throughout the Capital District areas of Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga trust New York Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lucie Capek to perform their fat grafting. Many of our patients also travel from New York City, Vermont, Massachusetts and beyond to receive her skilled and compassionate care.
In recent years, her method has become popular as a more permanent and natural alternative to dermal fillers. Dr. Capek has perfected this method to fill under-eye hollows, lift and fill hollow cheeks, reshape a sagging jawline or make your hands look more youthful. She also performs large-volume fat grafting as a great option for breast and body enhancement (Natural Breast Augmentation and Brazilian Butt Lift).
Are you a candidate for this procedure?
Microfat grafting may be a good option for you if you notice some of the following concerns and you have enough fat in other areas to transfer:
- You have facial areas that appear creased and sunken or deflated, including under-eye hollows, flattened cheeks or temples, deep nasolabial folds or thin lips
- You are young but have facial contours that lack volume, such as under-eye hollows, flat cheeks or a weak chin
- Your hands have aged and the tendons and veins look prominent
- You desire a more permanent correction of volume and contour than temporary fillers provide
- You wish to improve your body contour, revise scars, fill bodily depressions and rejuvenate your hands and face
Before Your Procedure
During your consultation, Dr. Capek will discuss your goals and expectations to determine the best treatment course to achieve your desired results. If your issues are related to aging, it is very helpful for you to bring in a close-up photo of your face from your late teens or twenties (a high school or college graduation photo or a wedding photo works well). This serves as an excellent reference for Dr. Capek to see how you have aged and how your face was shaped in youth.
Every micro fat grafting surgery is customized to each patient’s unique needs and Dr. Capek will review her recommendations with you. She will also advise you on how to prepare for your procedure and what to expect during your recovery. You will have ample opportunity to have your questions answered so that you feel confident in your decision to have this procedure. Being prepared is your first step in ensuring a positive outcome.
As always you want to be in optimum health when considering elective surgery. Follow a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise and follow your primary care physician’s advice when treating chronic conditions like high blood pressure. Share your detailed medical history with Dr. Capek.
It is also imperative that you don’t smoke or be exposed to any nicotine-containing products for at least 6 weeks prior to and 6 weeks after your facelift surgery. Smoking and other forms of nicotine decrease your body’s ability to heal normally and can lead to serious complications, including loss of the fat grafts and infection. Avoid taking aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs: Advil, Motrin, Aleve) and vitamins/homeopathic regimens. These can increase bleeding.
We would highly recommend her for any cosmetic surgical procedure. Bravo Dr. Capek and staff, one and all!!
Dr. Capek typically performs this procedure under local anesthesia and oral sedation in her office. If you are having other procedures done at the same time, such as a facelift, deeper sedation or general anesthesia may be used at an accredited surgery center.
During your procedure, fat is harvested from one part of your body, purified and then carefully re-injected with specially designed needles into the areas that need contouring. This is usually a three step process consisting of (1) harvesting (2) purification and (3) placement.
Harvesting: Dr. Capek will recommend a site for fat removal and will numb it with a local anesthetic injection. She will then create a small skin puncture in and, using a sterile technique, insert a cannula connected to a syringe to carefully extract fat. Several syringes of fat are typically harvested.
Purification: Dr. Capek will concentrate and purify the fat grafts by gently centrifuging (spinning) the syringes and then draining off any fluid or oil. She then transfers the fat into tiny syringes that allow for extremely precise placement.
Placement: The ‘recipient site’ will be prepared. Dr. Capek will numb the area into which grafts will be injected. She will insert the specialized cannula through a tiny needle stick and meticulously place the microfat grafts through multiple passes and into multiple levels of tissue. Each time the cannula is withdrawn, a line of fatty tissue parcels is carefully deposited in these natural tissue planes. This is repeated in a three-dimensional, artistic process until the desired correction has been achieved, creating a structural grid of grafted fat. The result is a smooth, beautiful and natural-looking contour.
After Your Procedure
You will experience minimal discomfort for a day or two. Your peak swelling and bruising will ‘blossom’ by day two and it may take 2-3 weeks for this to completely resolve in most patients. Dr. Capek recommends using ice-water compresses on the area for 48 hours (NO ice directly on the skin) and sleeping with your head elevated. Wearing a Spanx-like garment on the donor site can help minimize bruising there. She will also give you herbal supplements before and after your procedure to minimize bruising. You can wear make-up the next day and shower normally. Most patients return to work with camouflage make-up in less than a week. Strenuous exercise is discouraged for 2 weeks.
In Dr. Capek’s experience, micro-fat grafting to the face is very successful and long-lasting in most patients after just one procedure. However, everyone heals differently and has different expectations so additional treatments sessions may be required to achieve your desired results.
What are the risks?
Most common side effects of this procedure includes swelling, bruising or tenderness in the treated area and donor site. Poor graft survival or minor lumpiness may occur but is not common. Serious complications such as infections, damage to deeper structures or emboli are extremely rare in Dr. Capek’s experience.You can help minimize the risk of complications by following Dr. Capek and her nurses’ detailed instructions both before and after your surgery.
A consultation with Dr. Capek is necessary to determine whether fat transfer is a good option based on your aesthetic goals. Contact our practice today to schedule your consultation. Our office is just 13 miles from Albany and 9 miles from Schenectady, New York.