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Facial fat compartments key to restoring youthful look

Dallas—Results of a recent study say that rejuvenating newly identified fat compartments in the cheeks can help reduce the hollowed look that comes with age, reports news source ScienceDaily.com.

Using dyes, plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center identified and mapped four subcutaneous cheek-fat compartments. When these compartments are restored using fat, fillers or artificial implants, the result is a less hollow, more youthful-looking face, according to the study.

The researchers write that restoring these compartments also improves volume loss under the eyes, helps eliminate lines around the nose and mouth and gives more curve to the upper lip.

The UT Southwestern researchers injected 14 cadavers with dye and latex to identify the boundaries of the deep medial fat compartments and their relationship with adjacent muscles. Volume loss in the compartments resulted in the hollow look associated with aging, the study noted, but is restored immediately by properly filling the compartment. In addition, compartments that are filled properly require less fat or filler.

ScienceDaily.com quotes study co-author Joel Pessa, M.D., as saying, “This research breaks new ground by identifying the boundaries of specific fat compartments that are key to facial rejuvenation involving the cheeks and, as a consequence, the overall look of the face.”

The study, which appears in the June issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is part of an ongoing project among UT Southwestern plastic surgeons to better map facial and body fat compartments.

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