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Plastic Surgeons Recommend Fat Injections to Refresh Hollow Upper Eyelids

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Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Bob Basu explored new techniques in upper eyelid rejuvenation using autologous fat injections alongside colleagues from all over North America at the 2010 American Society of Plastic Surgeons conference in September.

Recent research discussed at the conference revealed that fat injections have proven safe and effective for restoring volume to sunken upper eyelids where no other cosmetic procedures have.

In the past, fat injections were avoided in the eyelid area because they increased the risk for embolism. The new, refined approach to upper eyelid fat grafting combines live fat cells with methylene blue, a dye that allows surgeons to better control fat placement and ensure fat is safely placed in the delicate eyelid area.

Although upper eyelid fat grafting may require repeat treatments or supplementary soft tissue filler injections, the findings of the study led by the developer of the new fat grafting technique, Dr. Patrick Sullivan, suggest that patients can expect long-lasting results.

“We don’t plan to ever have to do any more fat grafting because these fat cells are alive; they have good supply where we are putting them, which keeps them alive. So at 9, 12, 16 months, the fat stays there. It may soften a little bit, and may change a little bit in that it seems to bring about a more natural appearance with time. In the beginning, there seems to be a little bit of swelling, but that swelling goes away,” said Dr. Sullivan.

The fat grafting study included 40 upper eyelids in 21 female patients aged 56.6 years on average. Each study participant’s eyelids were injected with 0.2 to 2.3 cc of live fat cells harvested from their own body.

While blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift, can help with excess, sagging eyelid skin, it does not address hollow upper eyelids, making it difficult for surgeons to provide complete facial rejuvenation.

When combined with other cosmetic procedures, such as facelift, neck lift and eyelid surgery, fat injections to the upper eyelids refresh tired eyes and provide an overall youthful and natural look.

Source: Medscape Medical News

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