blond woman with long straight hair smiling and touching her face

Fat loss in the face is normal as we age but can lead to wrinkles, hollow cheeks, and sagging skin. This can be most prevalent in the mid to lower face and can sometimes age people significantly. Fat in the face is essential for volume, facial contouring, and maintaining a youthful appearance. While facial fat loss is completely normal, some may want to restore the fat in their face to reverse the signs of aging.  Luckily, with today’s modern cosmetic procedure techniques, there are numerous ways to add fat back into the face and bring back a more contoured and youthful look. Facial fat grafting is a popular treatment that adds fullness back and rebuilds facial contours. This procedure involves transferring fat from another body part into specific face areas. Facial fat transfer can add youthfulness and volume back to the face while recreating facial contouring to rejuvenate the look. 

How Does Facial Fat Grafting Work?

Fat transfer or facial fat grafting has become an increasingly popular treatment for natural-looking, longer-lasting results instead of synthetic fillers or implants. Facial fat grafting typically involves three main steps: harvesting the fat from another area of the body, processing the harvested fat, and injecting it into specific areas of the face. It’s an outpatient procedure that can be done under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the patient.

Before undergoing facial fat grafting, you should consult a plastic surgeon who will examine your face and discuss your concerns and desired outcome. They will also determine where they will harvest the fat from. Fat is usually taken from the abdomen, thighs, or flanks. 

During the actual procedure, the surgeon will first harvest the fat from the donor site using a small cannula for extraction, which is then processed to remove excess fluids and blood. During the processing phase, the fat that will be injected is purified to ensure that only healthy, viable fat cells are used for fat grafting.

The final step is injecting the fat. The processed fat will be injected into the desired areas of the face, which will be discussed and determined during the consultation to achieve the desired appearance. The surgeon will use a small needle to inject the fat into different layers of connective tissue beneath the skin, in order to achieve specific contouring results. The fat is typically injected in small amounts, and the surgeon will carefully shape and contour the face to achieve the best results.

How Does This Procedure Help Restore Volume and Facial Contour?

While numerous cosmetic procedures are available to restore volume and improve facial contour, fat grafting allows patients to achieve a natural-looking result without using artificial fillers and implants in the face. This procedure can be very effective for patients who have lost significant face volume due to aging, weight loss, or other factors. 

Restoring Volume to the Face

As we age, we lose volume in the face due to the natural loss of fat, bone, and collagen. This can lead to hollows under the eyes, sunken cheeks, deep lines, and wrinkles. Facial fat grafting can help restore volume to these areas by transferring fat from other body parts to the areas of the face that have lost volume. By adding volume to the cheeks, temples, and under-eye area, facial fat grafting can help give the face a more youthful, refreshed appearance.

Improving Facial Contouring

In addition to restoring volume, facial fat grafting can improve facial contouring. The fat can be strategically injected into certain areas of the face to help create more definition and symmetry. For example, fat can be injected into the cheeks to create a more sculpted look or into the jawline to create a more defined jaw. This can help improve the overall balance and harmony of the face, creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

The Benefits of Facial Fat Grafting

Facial fat grafting offers many benefits over synthetic fillers and implants, a big reason many patients opt for fat grafting.

Long-Lasting Results

One of the key benefits of facial fat grafting is that the results are long-lasting. Unlike synthetic fillers, which typically need to be repeated every few months or years, facial fat grafting can last many years or even be permanent. This is because the fat cells transferred to the face are living cells that can integrate into the surrounding tissues and provide lasting volume and contouring.

Natural-Looking Results

Another benefit of facial fat grafting is that the results are very natural-looking. Because the fat is harvested from the patient’s own body, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction, and the results are typically very harmonious with the patient’s facial features. The fat is carefully shaped and contoured to create a natural-looking result that enhances the patient’s appearance without looking “overdone.”

Less Invasive Than Surgery

Facial fat grafting is less invasive than traditional facial surgery, such as facelifts, brow lifts, or implants. The procedure is typically an outpatient treatment performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the patient and case. This means that patients can typically return to their normal activities within a few days to a week after the procedure, with minimal downtime and discomfort.

Who is a Good Candidate for Facial Fat Transfer?

Facial fat grafting can work for anyone who desires to restore volume to their face and/or improve their facial contours. Typically older patients choose this procedure and desire to reverse the signs of aging by filling out the hollow spots of their face and improving wrinkles. People who experienced significant weight loss that resulted in too much volume loss can also opt for a facial fat transfer to restore some of that lost volume to keep their natural facial contours. Younger patients are beginning to opt for facial fat transfer instead of facial fillers to enhance their cheekbones more naturally.

Restore the Volume in Your Face

A facial fat transfer is a safe and effective procedure for restoring volume and improving facial contouring. It offers many benefits over synthetic fillers and implants, including long-lasting results and a natural-looking appearance. Many patients experience a smooth procedure with minimal downtime and are highly satisfied with the results.

Patients considering a facial fat transfer should consult a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon to determine whether they are a good candidate and develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their cosmetic goals. With the right surgeon and careful consideration, facial fat transfer can be an excellent option for patients looking to enhance their appearance and restore a youthful look.
Ready to get started? Leif Rogers, MD, is an Ivy League-educated, board-certified plastic surgeon and a standing member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact his team to schedule a consultation.

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