Fat Grafting - Face

The transition from the cheeks towards the lips (the nasolabial), the junction of the lower eyelid- cheek junction (the "tear trough"), and the progression of the jowl to the chin (the Marionette line), all tend to become accentuated. Cheeks may lose their youthful fullness, and lips may seem to thin and wrinkle. Fat grafting helps to restore the dissipated volume on the face. It is useful in smoothing the transition zones and refilling areas where fullness has been lost. It is a natural solution that uses ones own fat tissue to minimize the effects of age, and restores youth and beauty. There are a variety of "fillers" that can be used to replenish lost facial volume: injectable fillers that mainly consist of hyaluronic acid, and your own tissue filler, fat.

In autologous fat transplantation, fat transfer, autologous fat grafts, or micro/ nano fat grafting, fat cells are gently removed from the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks by small holed liposuction cannulas to be prepared as fat grafts. They are then transferred to problem areas of the face or elsewhere on other areas of the body.

Fat transfer or autologous fat grafts can be used to rejuvenate the face by softly filling folds and wrinkles such as under eye circles, nasolabial fold, and temporal or upper eyelid hollowness. It is possible to restore volume to your lips, to highlight cheek areas, that have become less pronounced, and to fill areas in need virtually anywhere on the body. Fat grafts can be used to refresh aged hands, and can also be used to replenish or add volume to buttocks and breast. As fat grafts are fat cells from your own body, it is the most natural filler choice. Fat grafting is often performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as liposuction, facelift, blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), and other facial and body plastic surgery procedures.

Why it's done

Fat grafting helps to restore the dissipated volume on the face. It is useful in smoothing the transition zones and refilling areas where fullness has been lost. It is a natural solution that uses ones own fat tissue to minimize the effects of age, and restores youth and beauty.

Result 

The Results of Facial Fat Grafting May be Permanent
More fat cells are harvested and transplanted than needed because some will be reabsorbed and metabolized by your body. When your recovery is complete, the cells that survive the move become permanent in their new location.

How you prepare

There are a few important things that your surgeon will recommend that you do ahead of your fat transfer procedure. This is to help reduce your risk of complications, keep you comfortable and ensure that you get the best overall result from your treatment. They will include:

Stop smoking

Even if you can’t quit for good, you should stop smoking for at least six weeks before and after any medical procedure, including fat transfer. This is because smoking has been proven to compromise various body processes, including healing. This means that it may take significantly longer for your body to recover than it would if you were a non-smoker. Smoking also increases your risk of complications such as infection and bleeding.

Make sure you are happy with your weight

Fat transfer is not a weight loss solution. The area where fat is being taken from may be larger than you would like and removing the fat and recontouring the area will help to improve its appearance. Meanwhile, injecting fat into the body will enlarge and improve the target area. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that any significant fluctuations in weight could cause your shape to change and this can have an effect on the results of your procedure. For example, losing weight when you have had fat transferred into your breasts could cause them to lose volume and shape. The results of your procedure will be much better maintained by staying at a steady weight.

Follow pre-op instructions

Before you can be approved for a fat transfer procedure, you will first have attended a consultation appointment to check your general health as well as your reasons for undergoing this treatment. During this appointment, your doctor may have identified that there are certain medications that you are taking that are unsuitable for use just before, during and after your fat transfer. You may be advised to stop these or switch to an alternative drug ahead of your surgery. To ensure the safety of your procedure, you should be sure to follow all pre-op instructions, especially those relating to medications.

Risks

Fat transfer to the face may cause complications such as lumps, puffiness, infection, and bleeding. Vision abnormalities, including blindness, may occur in rare instances. In rare cases, fat transfer to the face can block oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in a stroke.

During the surgery

How is the fat grafting (fat transfer) performed? The fat cells are removed using a very small cannula, and are then prepared as fat grafts. The fat grafts are then transferred into an area of wrinkling or hollowness using a small cannula or needle. Because these fat graft cells are your own, they will not be rejected.

After the surgery

Following fat grafting procedures, it is possible go home on the same day with a friend or family member. When the fat graft procedure is used in conjunction with other facial or body contouring procedures, the return to work may range from seven to fourteen days. Swelling is very common after fat transfer or autologous fat grafts, and often it takes two weeks to resolve. Sometimes it may take up to 12 weeks for the final results of the fat graft procedure to be evident. Light aerobic activity may be resumed as early as four to five days following fat grafts, and more strenuous activity is begun at two to three weeks.

At what age can fat grafting be performed?

Fat grafting can be performed at any age to help correct deep acne scars or fix facial asymmetry. Its other applications — lip augmentation or cheek augmentation, filling in hollows in the face — are typically reserved for people in their 20s and up.

What does a typical fat grafting consultation entail?

During a fat grafting consultation, you meet and interview a plastic surgeon who specializes in the procedure to go over your aesthetic goals and learn about your treatment options. The surgeon will discuss what can realistically be achieved with fat grafting, review the risks of the procedure, determine the amount of augmentation you will need and lay out the cost. The two of you will also discuss your medical history. This is also a good time to ask to see photos of previous patients so you can see if you like the surgeon's work.

How is fat grafting performed?

Fat grafting is an office-based procedure that is usually performed under local topical anesthesia. The fat used in fat grafting is harvested through liposuction from elsewhere in your body, usually an area where you have some to spare. The fat is then sterilized, processed and injected into the target site in a process called autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection.

What should I expect postoperatively?

You can expect to be swollen, bruised and sore at both the donor site and the treatment site. Your surgeon will tell you how to care for the treatment area, including staying out of the sun while you are healing.

When will I be able to see the results?

Your face may be a bit swollen at first and it might look like you were over-filled. Many surgeons inject extra fat because not all of it will survive in its new location. The swelling will subside and the final results will emerge in three to four months.

What are the risks of fat grafting?

Complications from fat grafting are rare but can include infection, asymmetry, fatty cysts, hematoma, fat embolism, seroma, and permanent discoloration from the bruises. Also, it is possible that you will not be happy with the final results.

Are the results permanent?

There are many factors that determine how long fat grafting lasts. Your body naturally absorbs fat, so the surgeon must over-inject initially, and success rates can vary considerably. If you gain a considerable amount of weight after fat grafting, it may show up in the area that was treated.

What is frequently asked questions?

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) or Questions and Answers (Q&A), are listed questions and answers, all supposed to be commonly asked in some context, and pertaining to a particular topic.