Facial Fat Transfer
Facial fat transfer is a facial plastic surgery cosmetic procedure that transfers fat from one part of the body to the face. It is done for augmentation and filling of wrinkles, and post-surgical or congenital defects. It is used by many experienced physicians and offers the benefit of long-lasting, natural augmentation.
In the past, there were difficulties with the predictability of fat resorption after it was transplanted–sometimes it would last and other times it would not. Fortunately, the techniques have been refined in the last few years, greatly improving the predictability of fat transfer. This, combined with the advantage of (in many cases) larger amounts of material for injection (compared to other fillers), makes this a powerful technique to correct the loss of facial volume.
Facial Fat Transfer Offers Several Rejuvenation Benefits
Fat transfer offers several facial rejuvenation benefits, including
- It provides contouring and shape to your face.
- It provides volume and definition to your cheeks, eyes, and jaw.
- It provides you with a more youthful and healthy appearance.
- The fat harvested comes directly from your own body.
Ideal Candidate for Facial Fat Transfer
As you age, the loss of facial volume leads to a deepening of folds and creases in the face. Often, the under-eye (tear trough) area, nasolabial folds, and lips are common areas treated to combat the harsh or tired appearance seen in many patients. Patients as young as their 20s may be treated to help augment natural hollowing or lack of facial volume.
You would be an ideal candidate for a fat transfer if you are experiencing both this descent and a loss of facial fat, and have
- A loss of fat in the midface region and tend to have a certain flatness in your cheeks.
- A sharp line demarcating the cheek. This line runs from the eyelid-cheek junction to the mid-cheek region.
- A loss and descent of facial fat in the tear trough, which is a valley that runs from the inner corner of the lower eyelid to the junction between the cheek and the lower eyelid.
- The rim of the orbital bone shows through the thin eyelid skin.
- A loss of fat around the temple resulting in a hollowness that makes you look older than you are.
- Post-surgical or post-radiation defects resulting in depressed scars or deformities.
- Planned aging face surgery (e.g., facelift, lower lid blepharoplasty, etc.) to correct descent of facial anatomy that occurs concurrently with volume loss as we age.
- Adequate fat from another location on the body to transfer to the face (commonly the abdomen or thighs).
Facial Fat Transfer FAQs
With a facial fat transfer, hollowness is replaced with fullness. In replacing some of this volume loss in the face, the aging face is rejuvenated.
A facial fat transfer is commonly used in treating the midface, tear trough, and temples because they are areas where the fat has a good blood supply and tends to survive best.
Other areas may also be treated but survival depends upon the blood supply in the targeted areas and results may vary.
Not only can fat transfer help with filling in the bags you may have under your eyes, but it can also help add volume around the eye socket. When you lose fat around the eye socket, it makes your eyes look hollow or gives the appearance of dark circles under your eyes. Fat transfer will help make your eyes look healthier and rejuvenated by restoring volume to these areas.
There are three parts to a fat transfer procedure. First, the fat is harvested or obtained with a small liposuction cannula. Fat can be taken from the abdomen through a small incision hidden inside the belly button or from the flanks. Second, the fat is processed and separated from the body fluids. Third, the fat is placed into various areas of the face with very fine blunt cannulas.
Facial fat transfer can be performed with either IV sedation or general anesthesia.
The procedure takes approximately 1-2 hours with the majority of the time being spent placing the fat in the various facial compartments (at various depths into the facial tissues) through many small passes underneath the skin.
After facial fat transfer, you will have swelling to your face for about 7 days. As the swelling decreases over several weeks, you may notice that you have lost some volume to your face. This is normal as the fat grafts are starting to regenerate. After 3 months, the fat grafts take and the volume is restored.
If you had a facial fat transfer procedure done along with other facial rejuvenation procedures, you might expect a longer recovery period.
If you had facial fat transfer done as a standalone procedure, you can expect to return to your normal activities or to work within 7 days.