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Everything you need to know about Facial Fat Grafting

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Facial fat grafting, also known as facial fat transfer, is a procedure performed by plastic surgeons to transfer fat from areas that have more than enough fat to other areas of the face that lack volume. 

A youthful face has volume! Considering fat grafting? Here are some answers to common questions concerning the procedure. 


When would someone likely want a facial fat grafting?  

  • When facial areas begin to look creased and sunken 
  • To fill in the long lines that form between nose and mouth 
  • To improve acne scarring 
  • To fill in the lips and surrounding area 
  • In the case where the patient is looking for more permanent improvement than that offered by temporary fillers 
  • When the individual wants to have an overall fuller, more youthful facial appearance 


Who is NOT a good candidate for fat grafting?  

  • Little to no overall body fat 
  • Multiple medical problems and/or poorly controlled medical problems.   
  • Use of tobacco or tobacco products 
  • Unrealistic expectations 


What type of Anesthesia is needed? 

Local anesthetic, IV sedation or general anesthesia can be used.  


Where does the surgeon get the fat? 

The plastic surgeon uses a thin tube called a cannula to remove fat from the ‘donor sites’, such as the love handles, hips, inner or outer thighs, or abdomen.   


Is the fat treated before transfer? 

This fat is then washed.  Some surgeons process the fat in a special device, called a centrifuge. 


How is the fat placed? 

Tiny incision into the point where the processed fat will be injected through a cannula (blunt end tube). The injection cannula is usually passed in and out of the areas to be grafted multiple times. This process is repeated until the desired amount of fat has been placed in the target area. 


What is the recovery from facial fat grafting like? 

Every patient’s recovery is different however, here is a general idea of what to expect following your facial fat grafting procedure.   

  • Expect some discomfort and some swelling during the period immediately following the fat transfer procedure.  Typically, the swelling lasts 7-10 days. 
  • Sleep on your back with your head elevated for the first week 
  • Do not rub your face for two weeks (only soft washing) 
  • Keep your schedule of return visits (we’ll let you know when these will be) 
  • Do not overdo on exercise for the first couple of weeks 


How much of the fat survives (takes)? 

Studies are mixed.  Fat survival on average is about 50%. This is why it might take more than one procedure to achieve the desired result. 


How does weight gain or loss affect the grafted fat? 

The injected fat is subject to changes in weight.  It decreases with weight loss and increases with weight gain. 


How long does the fat last? 

Surviving fat last the lifetime of the patient.   


Can fat grafting be combined with other procedures? 

Yes, typical combinations with other facial procedures may include eyelid surgery, neck liposuction and facelift.  



* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.