Facial Fat Transfer / Volume Transfer
Fat micro-grafting, also known as facial fat transfer, is a cosmetic procedure that combines the body contouring effects of liposuction with the volume restoration of injectable treatments.
Fat removed from other areas of the body can be injected into the face to treat a wide range of common concerns, including:
• Cheeks that have lost volume or appear hollow
• Sunken tear troughs below the eyes
• Thin lips that lack definition
• Deep forehead wrinkles
• Glabellar lines between the eyebrows
• Nasolabial lines around the mouth and nose
• Weak or under defined chins or jawlines
• General fine lines and wrinkles throughout the face
Fat micro-grafting is a natural and safe procedure that produces lifelong results. At Millennial Plastic Surgery, Dr. David Shokrian performs fat micro-grafting for patients interested in body contouring and facial volume restoration.
Fat micro-grafting begins with liposuction to remove the fat that will be used for volume restoration. The procedure can be completed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation if only a small amount of fat removal is needed, or under general anesthesia if liposuction will constitute a larger portion of the procedure.
Once the patient has been properly numbed, small incisions will be made in the area targeted for fat removal. Common donor sites include the abdomen, thighs, sides and back. A thin metal tube called a cannula is inserted through the incisions to suction out the fat. A back and forth motion is used to separate the fat cells and loosen them for easy removal.
Once enough fat has been removed, the incisions will be closed with stitches. The fat is centrifuged to separate it from blood and other fluids before the micro-grafting portion of the procedure.
Once the fat has been adequately prepared, the doctor will begin carefully injecting it into the face in the targeted areas. A small amount of fat will be added at a time to gradually build up layers until the desired amount of volume has been reached. Not all the fat that is added to the face will receive a new blood supply from the body. About 50 to 80 percent survive the procedure, while the rest is safely reabsorbed by the body.
The absorption rate will be taken into account during the procedure to ensure patients’ results meet their expectations. If the body absorbs too much of the fat or if patients would like to add more volume, an additional micro-grafting procedure can be completed after 12 months.
Recovery and Results
The side effects and length of recovery mostly correspond to the liposuction portion of the procedure. If only a small amount of fat was removed, the recovery would be quicker and more comfortable. More body contouring will increase the length of the recovery period. Patients should expect to miss one week of work and avoid exercise for two to three weeks.
Common side effects from fat micro-grafting include swelling, bruising, soreness, and numbness. Most side effects will be localized to the donor sites where fat was removed, but some mild swelling can occur in the face around the injection sites. Side effects will diminish over the course of the first couple of weeks, although swelling can take several months to completely subside. While results will be immediately noticeable, patients should expect to wait about three months before their final results have developed.
Q&A with Dr.Shokrian
What’s the difference between injectable fillers and fat micrografting?
Most injectable treatments use synthetic products to restore volume to the face. Fat micro-grafting is a natural procedure that only uses fat taken from your own body for volume restoration. Synthetic injectable treatments are also temporary and require regular maintenance appointments for lasting results. Once fat receives a new blood supply, added volume from fat micro-grafting lasts for life.
Who is a good candidate for fat micrografting?
Candidates for fat micro-grafting can be young or old. Anyone who is dissatisfied with their facial volume or wants to eliminate common signs of aging can enjoy this versatile procedure. If you would like to undergo body contouring to create a shapelier physique and would also like to eliminate wrinkles, this is the right procedure for you.
Can fat micrografting be combined with other procedures?
Yes, fat micro-grafting can be combined with other cosmetic procedures like a facelift or neck lift. If you are interested in multiple procedures, let us know in advance and we factor that into your personalized treatment plan.
Can fat micrografting be used on other parts of the body?
Absolutely. Fat transfer is commonly used as breast augmentation to add volume to the breasts. It is also the key component of Brazilian butt lift procedures. If you are interested in any of these other natural cosmetic procedures that take advantage of fat grafting, let us know during your consultation and we will create an individualized treatment plan that meets all of your goals.
How long does the entire procedure take?
The length of the procedure depends on the amount of liposuction we will be performing. Most procedures last anywhere from one to three hours.
How visible are liposuction scars?
Liposuction incisions are relatively small and often heal with no stitches. Scars will continue to fade over the course of 12 to 18 months until they become barely visible white lines. We will take every precaution during your procedure to ensure scarring is minimized during this portion of the procedure.
How long will results last?
Fat micro-grafting provides lifelong results for volume restoration, although not all the fat transferred to the body will accept the fat. Your added volume will gradually diminish over the first few months, but any volume present after the first three months will stay on the face.
Liposuction results are also lifelong, so you can continue to enjoy your new contours well into the future. Swelling may distort your results for the first few months, however, and you are not immune from gaining more fat through an unhealthy lifestyle.