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Fat Transfer to the Face

What is Fat Transfer?

Fat transfer (or fat grafting) is a procedure that removes fat from one location on the body and transfers it it to another area of the body. In the face, this procedure is done to restore the loss of facial volume that occurs naturally with aging, and to smooth out facial lines and wrinkles. Typical areas for fat transfer include the lower eyelids, cheeks, and lips. The goal of fat transfer to the face is to create a more youthful and rested appearance by restoring facial volume and fullness.

Who is a Candidate for Fat Transfer?

You may want to consider fat transfer to the face if you have:

  • Under eye hollowing and dark circles
  • Thinning of the lips
  • Loss of volume in the cheeks
  • Wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes and lips

How is Fat Transferred?

Fat transfer begins with gentle harvesting of fat from an area of the body with excess fat. This is performed through small incisions and a liposuction cannula. The harvested fat is washed and drained of any excess fluid, leaving only pure and clean fat behind. This fat is then injected with small cannulas into areas of the face that are deficient in volume. Fat transfer can be performed on its own under local anesthesia, but it can also be combined with more invasive procedures such as facelifts, neck lifts, and blepharoplasty.

Risks

All surgery is associated with risks. Risks associated with fat transfer to the face include bleeding, infection, asymmetry, and scarring. Typically, 50-75% of fat that is initially transferred to the face will remain over time. If significant loss of fat transfer occurs, then additional fat transfers can be performed. It is important to talk with Dr. Rovelo about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.

Recovery

Fat transfer on its own is not a highly invasive procedure. The incisions are small and the areas treated are very localized. Bruising will typically resolve in 1-2 weeks, but associated swelling may take up to 6 weeks to resolve. Most people can resume public life, light activity, and return to work after 5-7 days. When fat transfer is combined with more invasive procedures, recovery will take longer.