Dr. Paul Howard Plastic Surgery | 205-871-3361 | 2010 Patton Chapel Road North, Suite 101 Hoover, AL 35216



Fat Injections & Facial Fillers

Howard Plastic Surgery

Fat Injections - Fat Transfer

There are dozens of foreign body facial fillers in development at this time. The sheer number of fillers indicates that the perfect material, composition, thickness, and longevity are under evolution and each practitioner must use his or her judgment regarding which is best for an individual patient. The longevity of the material has increased from several weeks to 3 or more months but in all circumstances the foreign material fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse) are temporary. There will always be a place for the temporary injectable filler as a touch-up procedure with minimal or no down-time. The multiple injections of foreign material in the lips or for deep wrinkles will eventually cause subcutaneous scars which manifest themselves as thickness. The overall take of the material changes over time so that the result is less predictable. One of the best uses of Juvederm, or its equivalent, is to obtain a temporary lip enhancement that allows the patient and surgeon to determine how much fullness is desired.

In the instance that the lips are too full or too pouty the material will resorb over a period of time so that over-estimating volume is not permanent and some idea of the desired enhancement is visually determined. Photos of the lips at the desired fullness can then be used as a template for the more elegant and permanent autologous fat injections. Temporary fillers are always a good choice for the patients who are undecided about lip enhancement and need visual clues, if only temporary, to make an informed decision regarding a permanent procedure. The treatment of deep wrinkles usually involves either temporary or permanent filler injection in conjunction with Botox for facial muscle relaxation. The overuse of Botox as a temporary wrinkle treatment has created what is called a mask face, paralyzing or weakening the facial muscles causing an unnaturally smooth visage with little or no facial expression. The expressionless, or static, face photographs well but facial expressions are necessary to show emotion, a nice trait to have when communicating with other humans.

What are the characteristics of the “perfect” facial filler? Permanency, reproducibility, naturalness, affordability, and minimal down-time are a few of the most desirable traits for a facial filler. In principle, which filler addresses the cause of volume loss in the aging face? The applicable plastic surgery principle tells us to replace lost tissue with tissue in kind: bone for bone, cartilage for cartilage, skin for skin, and fat for fat. These are plastic surgery principles which apply equally to reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and should be headed if at all possible, moreover a lack of surgical skill is no excuse for lack of principle. Fillers that are not the best choice for the patient but are simply the most expedient for the surgeon are a poor choice and indefensible.

Stem Cell, or permanent fat injections (fat grafting), has been around for over two decades and is my prefered method for addressing the loss of volume in the aging face as well as other corrective deformities such as acne scars. The "take" of stem cell fat transfer is above 85%. It is natural appearing, natural feeling, and is permanent.

How is fat grafting done?

This procedure is performed in the privacy at Dr. Howard’s office under oral sedation. Dr. Howard will gently remove a small portion of fat from a predetermined area on your body such as the abdomen. This fat is then processed to purify the fat and remove unwanted by-products that surround the fat cells. The fat is then gently injected through tiny incisions. These incisions will require only one tiny stitch which will be removed in a few days.

Fat transfer to face recovery time

Tape will be placed for a few days to allow the fat grafts to heal into place. Some swelling will be present by cool compresses are usually not necessary. Patient can shower but not get the tape wet until it has been removed in a few days. The stitches will be removed about 2 or 3 days after the procedure.

Fat injection procedure cost

The cost for this procedure begins at $2750.

Insurance does not cover this procedure. It is strictly cosmetic in nature.

How long does fat grafting last?

Forever! Most people experience complete "take" of the fat transfer, but others sometimes desire additional fat grafting to achieve the desired result.

How does fat grafting work?

Fat grafting works by removing fat from one area of the body and transfering it to the desired area to enhance such as facial wrinkles, acne scars, and for lip augmentation. The grafted fat works exactly as artificial fillers to fill-in wrinkles and acne scars to reduce their appearance. Likewise, fat injections to the lips work to enhance the shape and volume of lips. In some cases, fat grafting alone will not achieve the desired cosmetic result to improve deep facial wrinkles and excess skin in the jowl areas. Dr. Howard may recommend a mini or full facelift to achieve the desired results.


fat injections


Juvederm face fillers HooverFor those patients not certain about fat grafting at first, Dr. Howard also offers Juvederm as a temporary alternative. In addition, Dr. Howard is a participating member of the Brilliant Distinctions progam that allows patients to earn points towards every Botox and Juvederm treatment for rewards and coupons for future treatments.

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Dr. Paul Howard Plastic Surgeon | 2010 Patton Chapel Road North Suite 101 Birmingham, Alabama 35216

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