FRIDAY, July 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Most U.S. plastic surgeons use a procedure called "fat grafting" to enhance the effects of facelifts, a new study reports.
This technique involves transferring small amounts of fat from one part of a patient's body to another. The fat is obtained from the belly or thighs through liposuction. The fat is then injected into specific areas of the face to provide more volume.
The researchers surveyed a random sample of members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons about their use of fat grafting for facelifts. Just over 300 members responded.
The investigators found that 85 percent of the surgeons polled reported using fat grafting during facelifts. Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of the doctors surveyed said they began using fat grafting to the face within the past decade.
Results were published in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Fat was often collected from the belly and injected into the face in tiny amounts -- typically no more than a few teaspoons, the researchers said in a journal news release. Fat was often used in the cheeks, which can appear sunken from aging. Fat grafting provides a more rounded appearance to the face, the researchers explained.
Fat grafting was also commonly used below the lower eyelids or in the folds between the nose and the corners of the mouth, according to the research team that was led by Dr. Sammy Sinno, a plastic surgeon at New York University.
Although some injected fat is reabsorbed by the body over time, the surgeons surveyed believed that most of the fat was still in place up to one year following a facelift. Follow-up procedures were also performed to refine the results around four to six months after the initial procedure. The doctors surveyed said their patients were satisfied with their results.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has more about facial fat grafting.