Natural aging causes more than wrinkles and loose skin; the fat in your temples, cheeks, and other facial areas shrinks and sinks lower in your face, creating a hollow or gaunt facial appearance, with jowling around the jawline. Facial fat grafting is a facial rejuvenation procedure that removes unwanted fat from one body area, purifies the fat cells, and reintroduces the fat in targeted facial areas to restore lost volume.
Dr. Jonathan R. Grant is a dual board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He focuses on high-quality care and provides unparalleled results in Western Washington. Dr. Grant offers fat grafting at Cascade Facial Surgery & Aesthetics in Mount Vernon.
Benefits of Facial Fat Grafting
Fat grafting is also called autologous fat transfer, fat injections, or lipofilling. The process of removing fat from one area to plump up another is safe and effective, and facial fat grafting is often considered the ideal filler material because the fat cells are entirely biocompatible and provide soft, natural, permanent results. Unlike some injectables, facial fat grafting does not risk an allergic reaction because the fat cells are your own. The procedure is quick (taking about one hour), and you can return home right away.
Facial fat grafting restores volume quickly, filling in wrinkles, repairing facial scarring, and creating higher, fuller cheeks. The procedure is minimally invasive and does more than address signs of aging; fat grafting removes stubborn fat from troublesome areas, such as the thighs, hips, and abdomen.
Fat grafting can increase fullness in the cheeks, lips, under-eye hollows, temples, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines. Facial rejuvenation with fat injections can complement the results of facelift and other procedures.
Candidates for Fat Grafting
Most people with facial volume loss caused by natural aging, trauma, or disease may qualify for facial fat grafting. However, you must have enough excess fatty tissue to remove from the donor location and use for facial rejuvenation. While facial fat grafting uses less fat than breast augmentation or buttock augmentation with fat transfer, Dr. Grant typically harvests more fat than is necessary to account for fat resorption or cell death during recovery.
You must be in good overall health and at a stable, healthy weight. Candidates for fat grafting should not smoke or be ready to quit for several weeks before and after their procedure. You may need to discontinue certain medications before liposuction and fat transfer.
Fat Grafting Procedure
Facial fat transfer takes about one hour or longer, depending on the number of areas being treated. The first step of the procedure is to remove unwanted fat from the body with liposuction. Standard tumescent liposuction, the preferred method, injects a tumescent fluid made with lidocaine and epinephrine to isolate the fat cells and make them swell and firm up for easier removal. The fat is processed with a centrifuge system in a sterile surgical area and then injected into one or more face areas to restore a youthful, heart-shaped appearance.
Fat Grafting Recovery
Recovery after facial fat grafting is twofold because the liposuctioned area and the face are both healing. You can expect swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the donor and treated areas and may require a compression garment for liposuction recovery. Facial swelling is typically mild to moderate, and patients often feel comfortable returning to work after a few days to one week.
Dr. Grant will provide detailed instructions for liposuction and fat grafting recovery. Make sure you attend your follow-up appointments and follow his directions.
Fat Grafting Results
Results from facial fat grafting are permanent, but not all the transferred fat survives the procedure and recovery. Dr. Grant may overfill the treated area to accommodate fat resorption. It takes about six months for injected fat cells to create a new blood supply and see final outcomes. Some patients may need more than one fat grafting session to reach their desired outcome. Lip augmentation with fat injections usually only requires one procedure.