Subcutaneous Fat

Facial fat differs from fat in other regions of the body as it is not a homogenous structure but is separated into a series of separate “facial fat compartments”.

Each facial fat compartment exhibits septal boundaries, a regional perforator blood supply, and a specific tendency toward deflation in aging.

 The five superficial compartments of the cheek are:
1The Lateral Compartment
2The Middle Compartment
3The Malar Compartment
4The Jowl compartment
5The Nasolabial Compartment

Each fat compartment has a distinct fascial consistency, and thickness.  The fibrous septa, which separate the subcutaneous fat into compartments, represent the distal outgrowth of the retaining ligaments, which travel from deep fixed structures, such as the parotid gland, to penetrate the SMAS and insert into the overlying skin. Recognition of compartment-specific deflation provides a guideline for volume restoration in facial rejuvenation.

Superficial Fat Compartments

Each facial fat compartment has its own tendency toward deflation, with the Lateral Compartments showing evidence of deflation in patients in the 40 to 50-year age group, while Malar deflation tends to occur a decade later. The anatomic nature of deflation, which is compartment-specific, explains why facial deflation tends to occur regionally, rather than homogenously across the cheek in facial aging