In recent years there has been a growing awareness that the gradual melting away of fatty tissue in the face is a significant factor leading to the loss of a youthful appearance.
This is mainly seen in the way the cheeks become hollowed.
To add volume to the cheeks it is possible to use fillers such as Restylane or fat tissue from your own body.
Using a local anaesthetic, a little fat is carefully removed by suction from an area where fatty tissue is present. This may be the abdomen, hips, thighs or buttocks.
After centrifuging, this results in packed intact fat cells, which can then be reinserted.
Since the fat cells must receive enough oxygen from the surrounding tissues to survive, they are inserted in tiny tunnels. Using a thin needle with a blunt end and a hole at the side, a tunnel is created as the needle passes through the tissue and the tunnel is then filled with fat as the needle is withdrawn.
The main advantage of lipofilling is that this is tissue from your own body which – as long as it survives – will remain in place for a long time. It only disappears if you lose weight in the area from where it was taken.
The disadvantage is that it is impossible to predict how much of the volume inserted will survive. This varies between 50% and 90%.
It is therefore possible that this operation may need to be repeated, although in practice this is rarely necessary.