Besides correcting facial wrinkles, Dr. Bernier can restructure the face , fill in hollow areas, modify facial contours and perform other improvements using fat implants.

How Do Fat Implants Work?

Fat implants consist in removing bits of fat from the person to be treated, then transferring them to the areas that need correction. It is the preferred method when important quantities of filling substance are required. 

After anaesthetizing the donor site (hip, stomach, side), Dr. Bernier draws a few syringes of fat using a special cannula. The donor site is then covered with a compression bandage for a few days. 

Few signs of the procedure will persist beyond 2 to 3 weeks. 

The fat removal will be treated and handled with special precautions so as to ensure the survival of the fat cells. Corrective injections can be performed on the same day by using part of the removed fat; the remaining fat will be stored for later corrections. Syringes can be stored up to 12 months in the freezer.

Since fat implants do not involve foreign substances in their transfer, they constitute an interesting alternative for people allergic to collagen .

Dermal Implants: An Alternative with No Convalescence or Bandages

Since fat implants are transferred into the skin rather than under it, dermal implants differ from subcutaneous implants: they need to use a finer filling tissue and, for that reason, it is not the entire fat cells that will implanted but their structural components (like collagen that has been extracted from the skin). 

These substances are not viable and will undergo gradual degradation (over a period of 6 to 9 months). The injection per se stimulates the healing process and creates a prolonged-effect autocollagen synthesis for a portion thereof (10%) that will last in the long run. Except for fine lines, the applications of dermal implants are similar to those of collagen (nasolabial furrows, wrinkles in the corners of the mouth, lips, etc.). 

The implant procedure lasts from 10 to 15 minutes when the fat removal operation has already been performed. It requires no specific preparation as well as no bandages or convalescence time. Make-up can be applied the next day. Patients seldom have ecchymoses (bruises) after the procedure even if the treated areas remain slightly swollen for a few days.

Facial and Body Restructuring: To Change the Shape of the Face and Figure

Dr. Bernier can also inject fat implants for the purpose of correcting certain facial features or enhancing shapes. 

Actually, when fat implants are injected in greater quantities and under different layers of skin, they help to correct, for instance, hollows under the eyes or on each side of the chin , in addition to harmonizing the facial outline and enhancing the cheeks or mandibular ridge . To do so Dr. Bernier uses fat implants made up of whole and viable fat tissues. 

Dr. Bernier injects the fat implant droplet by droplet, thereby creating “layers” that fill in the hollow. When introduced with care, the implant will merge with the neighbouring tissues and receive all the nutrients and oxygen required for its long-lasting conservation. Between 70% and 80% of the fat cells injected will survive the transfer process and remain in place for sometimes as long as 10 years depending on the importance of local stress. 

Since there is more manipulation in this procedure, there may occur ecchymoses (bruises) and swelling for a few weeks. Dr. Bernier and her team will then determine the care to be given. 

What Are the Other Applications for Fat Implants?

There are several. In addition to treating the aging effects of the face, it is possible to make hands look younger, to correct figure problems (hollows, natural or post-traumatic depressions). It is also possible to smooth out scar depressions, touch up irregularities resulting from liposuction, even shape the buttocks . 

Frequently Asked Questions about Fat Implants

Are there possible complications?

The related effects are the same as for any other injectable technique, i.e. ecchymoses (bruises), swelling, incomplete or asymmetric correction. However, oedema may persist for several months in certain areas with delicate tissues. Although potentially possible, infections are virtually inexistent. This is also the case for microcysts, mostly encountered formerly with macrodrop techniques as compared to the microdroplet technique currently used by Dr. Élise Bernier.

Is the fat implant effect durable?

Although opinions are divided over durability, it is estimated that for each correction through dermal implant performed on superficial wrinkles (dermis), 10% to 20% of the obtained volume will be maintained in the long run (sometimes more than 10 years) thanks to collagen autosynthesis. It should be pointed out that subsequent corrections occur with increasingly long intervals. 

In the case of facial restructuring, the implant is done in the different layers of tissue under the dermis (skin). The current techniques allow us to achieve a high survival rate for the transplanted tissues (70% and higher). These adipose (fat) cells behave much like other adipose cells of the neighbouring tissues and will stay in place in the same manner; they will also be submitted to the aging process, which will determine the future needs for fresh implants.

Are there other beneficial effects?

In addition to filling depressions and imparting volume, the fat implant that is placed under the skin changes the light’s reflection on it: the skin thus looks less shadowy, less greyish. Skin pores can also be reduced in size. 

Are there areas to be avoided?

Certain areas are not appropriate for fat transfers, for instance the breasts because a cancer of the breast could be more difficult to detect through mammography.

What are the other options?

Depending on the defects to correct-outline, wrinkles, depressions-there are different techniques available: implants of hyaluronic acid , collagen , liposuction , lipotransfer, even lifting. Dr. Bernier will be able to explain the different options available during your evaluation. 

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