We use very specialized techniques to process that fat into different particle sizes. Traditional fat transfer methods may be fine for implantation into buttocks or breasts, but facial fat transfer requires extra processing to break the fat down into the proper particle sizes. Micronized fat is ideal for adding volume to the face without creating lumps or over filling. For fine tuning, we need to process the fat into even smaller particles called micro-fat. When treating delicate areas like under the eyes, the micro-fat technique allows us to deliver superior results with very little risk of unwanted lumpiness.
Q: How is SCEFI different from a regular fat transfer? A: There are many different methods of performing a fat transfer. The simplest and cheapest way is to just aspirate the fat with a syringe and inject it back in. The problem with this method is that most of the fat cells are destroyed and there are a lot of debris that create a hostile environment for the delicate fat cells. The end result is, that some or all of the fat does not take resulting in possible unevenness and lumpiness. With SCEFI, we separate the fat globules into tiny droplets of adipose cells. This is what we call "micronization." Because the process is very gentle, the fat cells remain intact. We remove impurities by a gentle centrifugation process. The fat is then injected back just like a filler using a small blunt tipped cannula This method makes the whole process much easier on the patient. SCEFI is currently the most sophisticated way of performing a fat transfer. Q: What kind of down time can I expect? A: There will be some swelling and possible bruising of the face. Most people will look better than they did within 1 week of the procedure. For some people the recovery will be quicker and for others, it may be longer. Stopping medications and supplements that can thin your blood like aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, and fish oil can help minimize the risk of bruising. Starting arnica montana supplements a week before can also help minimized bruising and swelling. There are no cutting or stitches involved, so the healing is much easier than from a traditional face lift. You will have some drainage from the harvest site for about 24 hours. Again, there are no stitches involved, but you will need to change the dressing a few times during the first 24 hours, then a simple bandaid will be sufficient. You can shower the next day but we recommend no baths, hot tubs of swimming for one week. If a full liposuction is performed at the same time, you will need to wear a compression garment to maximize the results from the liposuction.
Q; Can I drive myself home after the procedure? A: Because there is no general anesthesia involved, many patients choose to drive themselves to and from the procedure. However, we do recommend having a driver if possible because, if you would like to take a little anti anxiety medication for the procedure, we will not be able to let you drive.
Q: Is it painful? A: We use a technique called tumescent anesthesia to harvest the fat. That means we infuse saline with a numbing agent called lidocaine into the area. This makes the area numb so that you will not feel pain, but you will feel some tugging and pinching as well as a vibration. Most people do not find this to be uncomfortable at all. We use a very thin blunt needle to inject the fat back into your face. We strategically numb certain areas of your face to make it more comfortable for you. Some people do find this part a little uncomfortable, but most people tolerate it very well.
Q: How long do the results last? A: We are transferring living fat cells from one area of your body to another. Once the fat cells take root, they will stay there indefinitely. With our SCEFI technique, the survival rate of the transplanted fat is significantly better than traditional methods of fat transfer. After 3 months, the transplanted fat that remains will stay and act like fat anywhere else in your body. If you lose weight, the implanted fat may shrink and then enlarge if you you gain weight. The transplanted fat will not go away like fillers. As you age you may want to add more fat or fillers to compensate for skin laxity. Q: How many treatments do I need? A: One treatment is enough for most people. If you are older or if you need more substantial volume replacement, you will need a second treatment in about 6 months. You can certainly add more fat over the years to keep up with aging but, instead of starting from scratch, you will be adding to the base you already built up from your previous treatment.
Q: Why don't you just put all the fat in in one treatment? A: Most of the time, we do treat to full correction, but if too much fat is placed in one treatment, most of the the fat will not take and you will lose it anyway. The fat cells will actually compete for the blood supply.
Q: Is there a charge for a second treatment? A: Yes, a repeat treatment within 6 months of the initial fat transfer will be at a reduced rate, but there is a charge.
Q: Who does the procedure? A: The procedure is performed by Dr. Song with a surgical assistant.
Q: How long does the treatment take? A: The whole process can be completed in as little a 1 1/2 to 2 hours but could take longer depending on how much you are having done and what other procedures you are having done at the same time. For example, many people like to have a full makeover including liposuction, skin tightening and laser treatments to take advantage of the cost saving.
Q: How much does it cost? A: The cost of the treatment will depend on whether you are doing a partial fat transfer or a whole face stem cell face lift. If the procedure is done in combination with other related treatments such as skin tightening, liposuction, stem cell treatment to joints and laser resurfacing, we can put together a package that can save you a lot of money. The best thing to do is to come in for a consultation and we can give you an exact quote.
Q; Is this treatment covered by insurance? A: Our focus is on cosmetic treatments which are not covered by insurance.
Q: Can we freeze and store the fat for later use. A: We do not save or store your fat. The good news is that adipose derived stem cells and fat are relatively easy to harvest. If you needed more, we can alway harvest more fresh cells.