Facial Fat Grafting

Hi key portrait of a beautiful woman getting ready for the spa treatment

Facial contour and shape are important when defining a youthful appearance. As people age, fat is gained in some areas and lost in others. By combining liposuction (gentle removal of fat) with fat grafting (replacement of fat), Dr. Hunts can carefully sculpt and contour the face in order to restore its youthful look and volume. When compared with other tissue fillers, the primary advantage of fat is that it is tissue that is found in your own body. Allergic reactions to injected fat are not possible, because Dr. Hunts removes it from one region of your body and places it into another. Another advantage is that fat seems to last longer than collagen or hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane or Juvéderm. Dr. Hunts achieves approximately 40-50% survival of injected fat, although no guarantees in fat survival can be made. This means that, on average, 40-50% of the injected fat will survive.

Fat grafting may also be used to enhance the results of other procedures, such as facelift, brow lift, blepharoplasty, and laser resurfacing. Dr. Hunts is a specialist in these state of the art techniques and procedures and can help to guide you in your selection of the most appropriate treatment, or combination of treatments, to help you to achieve the results you desire.

Fat transfer has many uses in cosmetic surgery. Fat injected into areas in which volume-enhancement is required produces safe, long-lasting, and natural-appearing results as volume is replaced to the facial tissues where fat has diminished. Fat transfer typically involves harvesting fat from one part of the body, generally the abdomen, purifying it, than carefully and meticulously re-injecting it into the areas requiring enhanced volume. This cosmetic surgery procedure is performed with micro-incisions that offer rapid recovery and only minimal discomfort.

Individual results may vary

Procedure/Recovery

Dr. Hunts injects the area from which the fat is to be harvested with a dilute solution of local anesthetic so that you will be comfortable during the procedure. The fat is harvested using a special suction cannula using a sterile technique. Once a sufficient amount of fat is obtained from the donor area, it is then purified. This requires the use of a centrifuge which spins the fat cells to concentrate them. After the fat has been prepared, the area to be injected will be numbed by Dr. Hunts with local anesthetics. Using a very small needle, the fat is then injected and layered in grid-like fashion to enhance survival.

After your procedure you will be able to go home from the office. You should plan to take it easy following your surgery. No strenuous activities, heavy lifting (over 20 pounds), aerobic exercises, are recommended for the first several days. As Dr. Hunts monitors your recovery, he will advise you when specific activities are safe to resume.

You will notice an improvement in the contour of your face immediately. Mild swelling typically takes several days to subside. Swelling is very common after fat transfer, and will often resolves after two weeks (everyone will heal differently). However it may take up to 12 weeks for the final results of the fat transfer procedure to be seen. Light aerobic activity (elliptical, walking, bicycle) may be resumed as early as four to five days following fat transfer, and more strenuous activity may be resumed at two to three weeks.

Is fat considered a long-lasting filler?

Fat is scientifically proven to be long-lasting, especially in the mid face. It works best to restore volume and contour depressions.

Are there risks?

Risks include:

  • Swelling is the most common post-operative side effect. Most of the swelling settles down within several weeks.
  • Bruising in both the donor and recipient areas as a result of bleeding. It is unusual to require a transfusion.
  • Numbness of the skin overlying the donor and injected areas. This is usually temporary.
  • Slight asymmetry or contour irregularity. This usually improves as the swelling resolves.
  • Under or over correction of the defect
  • Infection
  • Loss of fat viability, with resultant failure of the desired augmentation