Article History Fat Grafting

Dr. Mentz Looks Back on Nearly Two Decades of Facial Fat Grafting

January 17, 2014

In 1995, Dr. Mentz attended an aesthetic surgery meeting in Laguna Niguel, California where Texas native Dr. Sydney Coleman gave the first presentation on fat grafting. He knew what many plastic surgeons had yet to figure out, that facial aging was about more than just lifting. For years, cosmetic surgeons approached facial rejuvenation in a two-dimensional way, pulling up skin to smooth wrinkles and jowling. That may remove signs of aging, but it doesn’t make a person look young again. Dr. Coleman shared that the solution is volume, and it is best achieved through fat transfer.

Until this point, fat grafting was very unpredictable because so many of the fat cells were not viable after being transferred. Dr. Coleman introduced a technique that increased the predictability of fat grafts and guaranteed a 40-50% survival rate of fat calls transferred. Armed with this new knowledge and a recipe for success, Dr. Mentz brought the four components of facial rejuvenation to the Houston plastic surgery market. Combining what he already knew about lifting deep tissue SMAS and the superficial skin layer with the addition of volume replacement, Dr. Mentz could offer patients comprehensive facial plastic surgery.

Not only was this a huge jump forward for facial rejuvenation, it also led to the use of fat transfers in other areas of the body. Dr. Mentz’s training in reconstructive plastic surgery opened doors for him to use fat grafting to repair aesthetic asymmetry resulting from radiation treatment, Polio, and muscular dystrophy. See his article on the beauty of fat for a more in-depth look at the reconstructive uses of fat.

On the cosmetic side, Dr. Mentz began using fat transfers for body contouring of the hips, buttock, and calves. By 2003, Dr. Mentz and his colleague Dr. German Newall were transferring 300ccs of fat by the syringe into patient’s buttocks for enhancement. This inefficient method took hours and many of the fat cells died from being forced through a tiny needle. They noticed that only 50% of the fat cells survived. In response to this issue they created mechanism for safely, but quickly injecting fat. It’s essentially reversed liposuction, but they’ve named it power-assisted fat grafting. Since 2008, they have performed hundreds of procedures using this power-assisted method for fat transfer with no complications and great results. Dr. Mentz is recognized as the pioneer of this procedure and teaches a course on buttock enhancement with fat transfer every year at the Annual Aesthetic Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Over the past 20 years, fat grafting has gone from being an unpredictable effort at facial fullness, to a mainstream and irreplaceable element of facial rejuvenation. With consistently proven results, this treatment is a staple among cosmetic surgeons everywhere.