What is facial fat transfer?
Fat transfer, also called fat grafting, involves taking fat from one area of the body (harvest site) and moving it to another area of the body (target site). This procedure is done to increase volume in specific areas. Facial fat transfer is a small volume fat transfer procedure during which 40 mLs or less (several tablespoons) of fat are transferred from the designated harvest site to areas of volume loss on the face.
Who is a candidate for facial fat transfer?
Facial fat transfer may be a good choice if you have lost volume in your face due to aging or if you want to enhance the contours of your face and lips. Virtually everyone has enough fat to enable facial fat transfer. As with any cosmetic procedure, patients should be in good overall health and not have any active disease or serious chronic medical problems.
How is the facial fat transfer procedure performed?
Facial fat transfer is an office-based procedure performed using local tumescent anesthesia. You may also take some medicine by mouth that will relax you. Fat is harvested from one or more areas using gentle liposuction techniques, processed, and carefully re-injected into the face through tiny injections sites. We monitor the amount of fat harvested and transferred, and use tactile and visual feedback to ensure a great result. Pre- and post-procedure photos are used (of course!) to track your progress over time. Fat for facial fat transfer is often taken from the abdomen but can be taken from just about any spot that contains enough fat. Overall, the procedure is well tolerated with the combination of local tumescent anesthesia and oral medications.
What are the advantages of facial fat transfer over other treatments?
Fat transfer allows us to use your own fat for contouring, eliminating the immune response that occurs when other types of implants are used. The transferred fat often appears more natural and softer than other types of implants or dermal fillers, and the fat will last longer than most dermal fillers. Finally, fat transfer can make economic sense. This is especially true in the case of facial rejuvenation, where the cost of an equal volume of dermal fillers (or the frequency of use) may be cost prohibitive.
Will I have skin dimpling?
With facial fat transfer, the amount of fat harvested is so small that it would be unusual to create a visual defect. When injecting, we take exacting measures to ensure smooth, pleasing, and enhanced contours.
What should I expect after the procedure?
You may be swollen, bruised and sore for a few days after the procedure. If you have some discomfort, this can usually be treated with over the counter pain medication. You will be able to return to many of your activities within days. Most individuals return to work within a day or two following facial fat transfer.
Where is the fat actually injected?
Fat transfer to the face is done with a very small cannula (less than 1 mm in diameter) and tiny access points that are essentially invisible within a day or so of treatment. While every patient is different, facial fat transfer often includes treating the tail of the brow, the temple area, the mid-face or cheek, folds and lines about the mouth, and certain parts of the chin and jawline (jowls). This will often result in a smooth, natural, and more youthful look.
What will the results be like?
Once the initial swelling subsides, the results of your facial fat transfer procedure will be immediately apparent: more volume where needed, smooth contours, and a more youthful appearance. You will also notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin. Fat transfer can stimulate collagen formation, leading to thicker, tighter skin that simply looks better than older, thinner skin.
How long will the results last?
Fortunately, the results will generally last much longer than those of other contouring procedures. There are many factors that determine how long fat transfer lasts. Your body naturally absorbs fat, so we may over-inject initially. It’s important to realize that success rates can vary from one person to the next.
What are the risks of fat transfer?
Complications from fat grafting are rare, but can include infection, asymmetry, fatty cysts, hematoma (blood collection), fat embolism, seroma (fluid collection), and permanent discoloration from bruising. Also, it is possible that you will not be happy with the final results. Most patients will have some swelling immediately after the procedure, and a smaller subset will have some bruising. Both of these conditions are temporary, and should resolve over a few days. It is important that you understand the fat transfer procedure, its risks and benefits, and read and understand our fat transfer procedure informed consent before proceeding.
Pre Procedure Post Procedure
To see more before and after photos visit our facial gallery.