Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, Dallas plastic surgeon and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, recently discussed facial fat compartments, fat grafting, and modern lift-and-fill facelifts before colleagues at “Plastic Surgery, The Meeting,” an annual conference held by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The importance and intricacies of this underlying facial structure were explored in detail during Dr. Rohrich’s presentation “Understanding and Utilizing Facial Fat Compartments in Fat Grafting.”
In keeping with the mission of this educational symposium, Dr. Rohrich shared insight on this emerging area of study. Advances in anatomical knowledge of subcutaneous fat compartments are changing facial rejuvenation techniques and altering the way facelift specialists approach these multi-faceted procedures. His presentation included technical and practical information relating to the concept of fat compartments and how surgeons can successfully apply this knowledge.
An understanding of fat compartments is especially valuable in a modern “lift-and-fill” facelift, an approach that Dr. Rohrich strongly advocates. During the lifting component of the procedure, the skin is gently tightened to reduce sagging and counter the effects of gravity. Fat grafts, taken from the patient’s own body, are used to restore lost volume and recreate a fuller, more youthful shape in cheeks, along the jaw, along the nasolabial fold and in areas that suffer from atrophy.
According to Dr. Rohrich, the term facelift is highly misleading. “A facelift performed today is not a single procedure,” explains Dr. Rohrich, “It is a combination of many component procedures that are combined together to uniquely address how each individual patient’s face has aged. The exact surgical approach for a facelift will vary widely for every individual patient based on their own unique anatomy and circumstances.”
During his lecture, Dr. Rohrich outlined fundamental principles to guide the procedure and achieve the most successful, individualized outcome. Dr. Rohrich strongly emphasizes starting with thorough facial analysis that puts an emphasis on maintaining and restoring the patient’s unique facial contours. For example, he often requests that his patients bring in photos of themselves from when they were younger, allowing him to better plan and ensure that the patient individuality is maintained.
“Facelifts should never follow a standardized formula,” says Dr. Rohrich. “Facelifts should be dynamic in nature and individualized based on the needs of the patient.”