What is a facial fat transfer?
Facial fat transfer surgery, also known as autologous fat grafting, offers a way to minimize the visible effects of aging. With a goal of restoring what the process of aging takes away from the appearance of the face, there can be some discomfort afterward, so it’s important to know what the technique involves.
Head and neck surgeon Jeffrey Steitz, MD, answered a few common questions about facial fat transfers.
Why would someone get a facial fat transfer?
“As part of the aging process, the different pads of fat within the face start to lose elasticity and to ‘fall’, creating a hollower appearance around the eyes and visible sagging around the chin and jaw,” said Dr. Steitz. “Facial fat transfers restore some of that more youthful appearance.”
While there are other medical procedures sometimes used for these concerns, facial fat transfers are more customizable. Different amounts can be used to treat different areas of the face to pinpoint specific areas of concern.
How is a facial fat transfer performed?
Facial fat transfers can be done in the doctor’s office under oral sedation, or in an operating room with stronger sedation techniques. Often, more than one procedure is performed at the same time, with other anti-aging operations that help to optimize the outcome also performed.
During a facial fat transfer, liposuction is used, often from the abdomen or thighs, to take fat from the body, which is then processed and transferred to the face to improve facial contour. Often, skin quality improves afterwards, too.
What are the risks of a facial fat transfer?
“This procedure has the same risks as most minor outpatient surgeries,” said Dr. Steitz. “The most common risks are bleeding, scarring, potential infection, uneven appearance or the fat being reabsorbed and the improvement fading with time.”
What is the recovery period like after facial fat transfer?
Since some fat is lost during the healing process, the initial transfer involves injecting more fat than is actually needed to correct the loss of shape in the face. This leads to some swelling and discomfort during the first week and up to two weeks after the transfer is performed. You will see some swelling early on, but it fades with time.
Find a doctor
Whether you’re looking for a primary care physician or need to see a specialist, we’re here to help with experienced, compassionate care near you.Find a Doctor