As we age, lines develop on the forehead, the upper lids sag, and dark shadows under the eyes give the appearance of having bags under the eyes. This is caused by thinning and weakening of the skin, loss of elasticity, and the re-arrangement of collagen in the dermis.
The changes in the eyes are as follows: the elasticity of the upper lids decrease, leading to sagging of skin on to the eyelashes. The skin overlying the lower bone of the eye socket and the cheek bone thin and sag, leading to the appearance of dark bags. Wrinkles lateral to the eye (crow’s feet) develop due to the action of the muscles surround the eye.
The lower eyelid bags are a result of the skin sagging off of the cheek bone, leaving a gully under the lower eyelid. This depression can be corrected by injecting fat and stem cells from the abdomen, effectively erasing the dark circles under the eyes. This entails liposuction-assisted harvest of fat and stem cells from the abdomen, which is subsequently gently injected under the skin. The fat corrects the depression, and the stem cells cause remodelng of the collagen, and thickening of the skin. The result is along lasting improvement in the appearance of this area of the face. Cheeks and temples also respond to facial fat grafting.
The upper eyelids are easily addressed by removal of the excess skin, tucking the scar into the fold above the eyelid margin. As a standalone procedure, an eyelid lift does not require general anesthesia, as it only takes a few minutes with numbing medicine. It also can be combined with a face lift performed under general anesthesia.
Most of our patients are fully corrected with one treatment. A small amount of the transferred fat is expected to be lost during the 3 month recovery process. Very rarely will a patient opt for a second facial fat grafting treatment.
A small amount of fat is usually harvested from the abdomen near the belly button.
The amount of fat that can be placed into the face is limited by the anatomy of the face. Too much fat injected will result in more fat not surviving in its new location. Typically, about 4 cc’s of fat can be placed under each eye and a total of 20cc’s can be placed throughout the face in one treatment if multiple areas are treated (temples, cheeks, and under eye area).
Generally the recovery is quick. Patient can expect some soreness at the donor site where the liposuction was performed. Some patient will develop significant bruising under the eyes that may last for a couple of weeks after surgery.
Most patients recover quickly from this procedure with just a few days off from a desk job. Dissolving sutures are used and sometimes these sutures can cause mild irritation in the eyelid area, but this resolves within a few weeks post op.