The nasolabial fold is the crease between the side of the nose and lateral aspect of the mouth. We all have a slight fold, especially when we smile. But, with exposure to the sun and cigarette smoking, this crease can be very deep and can make you look older than your natural age. Fillers, fat transfer to the nasolabial fold, or collagen placement can be used to treat this.
Fillers are only Temporary
Artefill, Juvederm or other hyaluronic acid fillers are temporary measures. Some of the longest fillers may last up to seven years but they usually last for a much shorter period of time. You would have to replace the filler frequently, which might get expensive and inconvenient.
Fat Transfer is a Permanent Solution
Fat transfer to the nasolabial fold is considerably more natural and has the potential to last a long time. You use fat harvested from an area of the body that is not visible and where there is a lot of fat for transfer. This includes the abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks and upper arms. Fat is taken from these areas and processed in the laboratory. Broken fat cells, connective tissue and red blood cells are centrifuged away from the fat cells so only pure, intact fat cells are injected into the nasolabial fold.
How is Fat Transfer to the Nasolabial Fold Done?
The nasolabial fold is injected using a small needle and only small boluses of fat are transferred at a time. This is because each bolus needs to establish a blood supply and blood vessels can’t grow to supply a large bolus of fat. Many injections are made and are layered one on top of the other in a grid fashion so that the whole nasolabial fold is covered by injected globules of fat.
The use of collagen is another method of filling in the nasolabial fold. The problem with collagen is that it has an allergic potential because it is made from cows. A test spot must be done a full month before the actual procedure is done and it, too, is not a permanent solution.
Fat Transfer is the Ideal Solution to Facial Volume Loss or Wrinkles
The ideal solution to filling in the nasolabial folds is fat. It is relatively available and is an autologous substance, meaning it comes from your own body. Dermis has been tried but this is not an attractive option and is better used for scar revisions and deeper defects. Fat is liquid or semiliquid so it feels completely natural when injected. Stab incisions can be used to harvest the fat, which makes for less scarring and faster recovery. Besides the nasolabial fold, fat can be used for acne scars and enhancement of other facial areas, such as the cheeks and chin. Fat can be used for lip augmentation as well as the deep wrinkles in other parts of the face.