Autologous fat injection is a widely used, simple, and less invasive technique to correct volume deficiency. This study developed a treatment method by using a 3-dimensional (3D) simulation to plan and implement fat injection in patients with an extensive facial deficiency and then validated the accuracy of the method and treatment outcomes.
Seven patients with a large unilateral facial deficiency receiving autologous fat grafts between 2015 and 2017 were recruited. One patient received repeated treatment. Furthermore, 3D surgical simulation was used to measure the difference between the mirrored image and lesion side. An extra 20% to 30% of fat graft was added. A color map was provided, and contour lines 2 mm deep marked the location of the fat injection. Outcome assessments were then performed, and a 3D symmetry index was defined using the contour lines on the facial surface.
No significant difference was noted between the predicted volume and postoperative fat graft retention (35.7 ± 7.4 and 31.6 ± 9.7 mL, respectively; P = 0.176). A comparison of preoperative (79.5% ± 4.3%) and postoperative (89.0% ± 3.3%) 3D symmetry indexes indicated significantly improved facial symmetry (P = 0.018). Patient-reported outcomes of satisfaction on FACE-Q questionnaires yielded an average score of 62.73, higher than the control score (59.83).
By using the proposed method, we could predict the required fat graft volume; moreover, the contoured map aided accurate surgical implementation. Thus, this method is useful for planning and guiding fat grafting treatment in patients with major unilateral facial deficiency.