Results of a European study suggest that facial fat grafting is a viable alternative to orthognathic surgery, the more traditional method for correcting congenital hypoplasia but one that can lead to complications due to its inherent invasiveness.
A team of plastic surgeons from Ghent, Belgium and Zurich, Switzerland, designed a study to evaluate the results of microfat grafting for facial contouring. Their retrospective chart review evaluated 166 patients who were treated with microfat grafting for maxillary and/or mandibular hypoplasia. Pre- and post-treatment photos were used to compare improvement of facial contour, and complications were recorded. The follow-up period ranged from four months to 10 years, with a mean follow-up period of two years and seven months. Thirty-eight percent of the patients had a refill procedure six or more months after their first procedure.
According to the study, a majority of the evaluated patients stated that they benefited from the microfat grafting, rating their procedure as excellent (50%) or sufficient (48%). About 2% tendered a “poor” rating. Complications included visible fat lobules under the lower eyelid skin, which was seen during the first four years and was resolved by changing the injection cannulae and technique, and fat resorption, which was seen in all patients.
“Facial microfat grafting is a valuable alternative to more complicated advancement osteotomies being performed in patients solely for aesthetic reasons,” the authors write. “The low morbidity and rapid recovery make facial microfat grafting a welcome tool in the armamentarium of the modern facial aesthetic surgeon.”