Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer or fat injections, is a cosmetic enhancement procedure designed to minimize signs of facial aging by repurposing your own fat cells. As the natural aging process begins to diminish fullness and definition in the youthful contours of the face, the cheeks can appear sunken and hollow. Creases and wrinkles can also become more pronounced, while jowling may develop along the jawline. Fat grafting can be an effective facial rejuvenation treatment to restore areas of lost volume in the face, as well as to smooth the appearance of fine lines and facial folds. The procedure uses your own body fat, harvested from a fat-rich region of the body through liposuction, to make strategic additions of volume to facial creases and sunken areas for a younger-looking aesthetic. The harvested fat is purified before redistribution into the face, and the use of your own fatty tissue generally cancels any risk of an allergic reaction. Beverly Hills-trained Boston plastic surgeon Geoffrey Leber, MD, FACS has proficient expertise in this facial rejuvenation technique stemming from his training under Dr. Richard Ellenbrogen, known as the “Father of Fat Grafting.”
- Facial Fat Grafting Benefits
- Facial Fat Grafting Procedure
- Facial Fat Grafting Candidates
- Facial Fat Grafting Recovery
What Can Facial Fat Grafting Do for Me?
Facial fat grafting is a versatile procedure that can achieve a number of cosmetic goals, depending on your unique aesthetic concerns. A supplementary benefit of this anti-aging treatment is that the body area used to harvest the fat cells—typically the medial knees, thighs, hips, or abdomen—can be contoured through liposuction concurrent to the fat grafting procedure. While Dr. Geoffrey Leber personalizes the surgery according to the goals of each patient’s treatment plan, fat grafting can generally be utilized to improve:
- Loss of cheek volume
- Loss of lip volume
- Loss of fullness along the jawline
- Diminished volume in the temples
- Sunken areas under and around the eyes
- Deep creases that extend from the nose to either side of the mouth (“marionette lines”)
- Deep lines along the forehead
- Facial folds, wrinkles, and shallow scarring in the face
Facial fat grafting can lead to very natural-looking and long-lasting results. Patients often combine fat grafting treatment with other enhancement procedures, such as eyelid surgery or a facelift, for more comprehensive facial rejuvenation.
How is Facial Fat Grafting Performed?
The fat grafting procedure has two main components. First, a very thin tube called a cannula is used to gently extract fat from a body area with an adequate amount of excess fatty tissue. This is accomplished through manual liposuction techniques utilizing a 10 cc syringe, which generally allow an optimal amount of surgical control and fat graft survival when transferring the fat cells. Next, the fat is purified and cleansed before injection into targeted regions of the face. The fat cells are then utilized to fill in facial depressions, smooth wrinkles, and restore youthful volume to the treated areas. Adjunctive benefits of this treatment include the skin rejuvenation properties derived from the stem cells of the fat graft(s). This often results in a smoother skin appearance with less fine lines and pigment irregularities.
Who is a Candidate for Facial Fat Grafting?
For the right candidate, the results yielded by facial fat grafting often last much longer than other anti-aging injectable and dermal filler treatments. Dr. Leber can examine your medical history and facial anatomy to suggest a rejuvenative procedure best-suited to your needs. Fat grafting of the face is usually most successful for individuals with the following aesthetic concerns:
- Sunken cheeks or temples
- Smile lines or nasolabial folds
- A hollowed look under and around the eyes
- Jowling along the jawline
- Pronounced facial folds or lines
Facial fat grafting is frequently performed in Dr. Leber’s office under local anesthesia with very little discomfort or downtime. The treatment is also commonly combined with other procedures performed under general anesthesia, such as a facelift, a neck lift, or eyelid surgery.
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What is Recovery Like for Facial Fat Grafting?
After fat grafting treatment, there will likely be some downtime necessary from the liposuction component of the procedure. Depending on the details of your treatment plan, most individuals can make a full return to normal activity in three to seven days. Mild swelling at the injection site is common, but this should dissipate within a few weeks of treatment. Fat graft survival is dependent on the technique used and where it is injected in the face, with a survival rate of up to 70-80 percent in the cheeks and lower eyelid regions and less fat graft survival in more mobile areas, such as the lips.
While the cosmetic results of facial fat grafting can be immediately apparent, the final outcome generally improves as swelling continues to dissipate. Dr. Leber utilizes advanced surgical techniques when extracting and redistributing the fat into facial areas, which can allow a natural-looking and long-term aesthetic result.
For more information about facial fat grafting or other anti-aging treatments, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Leber, please contact our practice today.