Fat Transfer

Facial fat transfer is an exciting procedure that allows us to volumetrically augment the face, and restore its youthful, full contours. It is well documented that the process of aging involves fat atrophy as well as descent of fat pads. Fat transfers can be performed to improve cheek fullness, fill in facial hollows or depressions, restore volume to the eyelids, and refine the jawline.

During this outpatient procedure, local anesthetic and/or light sedation are used. Fat is then harvested from an area of the body such as the abdomen, hips, or thighs. A very small cannula is used for the fat transfer. Because the fat is not a foreign substance, it becomes incorporated as living tissue and there is no risk of rejection. There is usually an initial two week period of mild bruising and swelling.

Dr. Anurag Agarwal demonstrates fat injection in his office on a patient. He treats the temporal hollows, tear troughs and nasolabial folds.

*Warning: Actual surgical video footage of facial volumization with fat injections. This video is graphic, and includes liposuction of fat from the love handles and fat injection into multiple areas of the face.

Fat Augmentation FAQs

How do I know if I am a candidate for fat transfer?

An individual consultation with one of our Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Agarwal, Dr. Maloney, or Dr. Gill, is the best way to determine which procedure is best suited to meet your goals. During this consultation, the surgeon will examine you, and computer imaging will be utilized to demonstrate proposed changes to you.

How long is the recovery process?

Generally speaking, it takes about two weeks for most of the swelling and bruising to resolve. This can vary from individual to individual. There is some swelling that persists beyond the initial two weeks. Make-up can be applied two days post-operatively.

How long do the results last?

The results of fat transfer last for many years because the fat that is retained functions as a living, viable tissue graft. In order to accommodate some initial resorption, the areas that are treated are over-corrected with fat. Longevity depends on several factors, including: the area to be injected (fat tends to last longer in areas of least mobility), quantity necessary for augmentation, the individual’s age and tissue quality, and exogenous factors (i.e. smoking, etc.). The procedure is usually repeated as needed to add more volume.

What kind of anesthesia is utilized for fat transfer?

Fat injections can be done with either local anesthesia or twilight sedation. If you choose the former, it can be done in the office. If you choose the latter, it is done at our accredited surgery center. During twilight anesthesia, you will breathe on your own, but you will not remember anything. It is a quick acting type of anesthesia that also wears off quickly. Because you are breathing spontaneously, an endotracheal tube is usually not used.

Are there stitches and when are they removed?

Our plastic surgeons use fine, delicate sutures to close the microscopic incision that the fat is harvested through by liposuction. There are no sutures on the face.