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Complete Guide to Facial Fat Grafting

Facial fat grafting is a type of plastic surgery technique where a physician performs liposuction on a section of the body using excess and available fatty tissue. The fat that is harvested from one area of the body is processed, placed into syringes, and injected into areas of the face that patients feel need rounding out. Below, we cover a complete guide to facial fat grafting.

This type of grafting can be applied to diverse places in a patient’s face. Common areas include cheeks, nasolabial folds, and undereye bags. Overall, facial fat grafting is considered a form of permanent filler.

Complete Guide to Facial Fat Grafting

If you’re interested in learning whether eyelid facial fat transfer would work for you, take a look at this complete guide to this type of procedure.

The Facial Fat Grafting Process

During facial fat transfer, a physician harvests fat from one area of the body where it exists in excess and transfers it to areas of the face that might be lacking in this regard. The steps of a facial fat transfer are generally as follows:

  • You and your surgeon select the parts of your body areas where excess fat will be harvested and removed
  • You’ll receive local anesthesia in the area of your body where the fat is harvested
  • The physician makes an incision and harvests and extracts the fat into a syringe.
  • The fat is spun in a centrifuge and filtered to remove impurities
  • The purified fat is transferred to smaller cannulas
  • Local anesthesia is applied to the patient’s face to anticipate the injection
  • Multiple passes are made over the desired areas in terms of applying the fat injections to the target areas of the face.

A facial fat transfer can effectively do two things at once if you have areas of your body where you have excess fat: it can remove that undesired body fat and use it to fill up portions of your face that you feel might be lacking. Typically, fat is harvested from the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.

Who Makes a Good Candidate for Facial Fat Grafting?

As one ages, facial changes tend to become inevitable. This is most often expressed through volume loss, downward slumping of areas of the body that were once tight and taught, and the thinning of your skin and bones.

In addition, problems such as wrinkles developing across your neck, nasolabial folds deepening, and fat pads descending and shrinking are common problems. The latter has the potential to create eye bags, have your lips lose volume, and cause your eyebrows to droop.

The effects of aging on your face can begin to become apparent as soon as your mid to late twenties. Facial fat grafting has the potential to rectify these issues. Most patients who are displeased with the appearance of their face have the potential to benefit from some type of facial fat grafting.

What Areas Can Benefit from Facial Fat Grafting?

There are many different parts of the face and body that can benefit from facial fat grafting. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Forehead
  • Glabella (the areas in between the eyebrows)
  • Hollow upper eyelids
  • Under-eyes
  • Temples
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Marionette lines
  • Chin
  • Lips
  • Jawline
  • Cheeks

In addition to adding volume and smoothing folds, facial fat grafting can improve the appearance of pitted scars or rejuvenate skin that is less than radiant.

A fat transfer can discreetly but efficiently add definition to areas of your body that you wish were a little bit fuller or plumper. Using a fat transfer instead of a standard surgery has the added benefit of being far less risky, which might help you decide if you want to go through with a more involved procedure by giving you a taste of what the outcome might be like.

Recovering from Your Procedure

Facial fat grafting recovery has the potential to entail a somewhat lengthy recovery process. Some of the steps that an individual might go through can be highly individualized. However, some of the common steps include:

  • Mild to moderate facial swelling
  • Moderate pain and swelling at the liposuctioned area. This type of pain can typically be controlled with over-the-counter medications.
  • You likely will receive some type of compression bandage after your surgery. This should be worn constantly for several weeks following your procedure.
  • Bruising at the liposuctioned site that usually resolves within 2-3 weeks.
  • Expect to take approximately 3-7 days off of work after your procedure.
  • Expect to gradually resume physical activity approximately two weeks after your surgery.

Of course, some of these elements have to do with the level and magnitude of fat transfer that a patient receives. You’ll be able to discuss some of the specific details of your personal recovery process with your physician prior to receiving treatment.

As long as the patient is in general excellent condition and has a body part where there is a sufficient quantity of excess fat to be harvested, fat grafting is also highly accessible. Since almost everyone has some extra fat in one area of their body, if a transfer is something you’re interested in, chances are good you’ll have enough to be eligible.

Considering the Results of Facial Fat Grafting

It actually can take some time for the final results of your fat transfer to fully develop. Many patients will have to wait for up to 9 months from their initial procedure to see their final results develop. The results that are apparent from this point are generally considered to be final.

That being said, any significant changes in body weight and appearance will inevitably impact the results of your facial fat transfer. Some of the ultimate impacts of one’s results are a bit hard to predict, as it’s ultimately unknown how much of a patient’s fat will be absorbed in the final stages of the fat transfer. In general, the results of a facial fat transfer can be expected to last from 6 to 10 months.

One reason why fat transfers are becoming more popular than typical synthetic injections is that the results seem to be a little more “natural.” This is attractive for several reasons, including the fact that it enables one to do a variety of more subtle appearance-modifying procedures, giving the client a more natural-looking appearance that blends in with their overall appearance.

If seeming as though you’ve had work done makes you feel a little self-conscious, this is something to think about.

The Pros and Cons of Facial Fat Transfer

One of the main pros of facial fat transfer is that it allows for large-volume facial augmentation for a patient. In addition, fat grafting is one of the longest-lasting treatment options available for reversing volume loss or smoothing facial wrinkles and folds.

Another big advantage of facial fat transfer is that because your own fat is used rather than a synthetic filler, there’s little to no chance of your body inducing an allergic reaction like there is for synthetic fillers.

Some of the cons associated with facial fat transfer include the fact that the procedure is typically more expensive than receiving temporary injectable fillers. In addition, the final results of a fat transfer can be very typical to reverse if a patient doesn’t like the final results of their procedure. Patients who have certain medical conditions also might be vulnerable to the effects of general anesthesia and sedation as well. This likely can be discussed prior to any actual medical work being done.

Risks and Side Effects

Facial fat grafting is generally considered to be a low-risk cosmetic procedure. However, there are some potential side effects and risks to consider if you choose to undergo the procedure. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Hematoma (blood pooling under the skin)
  • Scarring
  • Fat embolism
  • More rarely, facial fat necrosis and cyst formation

Discussing with your doctor in depth whether or not you’re at risk for developing any of these side effects in your own procedure should be a top priority when you’re preparing to undergo some type of facial fat grafting.

The Average Cost of Facial Fat Transfer

The cost of facial fat transfer has the potential to be highly variable. Much depends on the amount of fat used, as well as the accessorial procedures that might be involved in your overall medical suite. In addition, a patient’s insurance plan has the potential to impact how much this procedure ends up costing at the end of the day.

However, the average cost of a facial fat transfer is somewhere around $5,000. That being said, the overall cost of a procedure has the potential to range anywhere from $1,600 to $15,000. Your physician should be able to give you a ballpark estimate of your own cost range.

The Top Oculoplastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills

Dr. Taban and the rest of the team at Taban MD Oculoplastic Surgery are dedicated to offering the best in facial fat grafting to interested clients. If you’re interested in learning more about whether this type of procedure would work well for you, contact Dr. Taban’s office today to schedule an appointment.