Facial fat grafting (fat transfer) is one of the fastest-growing minimally-invasive procedures on the market today. The procedure uses your own (autologous) fat minimizing the risk for allergic reaction. Patients can achieve natural-looking outcomes that outlast most other synthetic dermal fillers with almost no downtime.
Fat grafting can be used for everything from wrinkle reduction to correcting facial volume loss caused by weight loss or aging. But, is it permanent? The short answer is yes, to an extent. The procedure’s longevity can vary from patient to patient based on their area of concern and the expertise of their provider. To get a better understanding of how long your results will last, we’ll need to take a closer look at how the procedure works.
How Does Facial Fat Grafting Work?
Facial fat grafting is done in a simple, 3-step process. First, fat is harvested from the donor site (usually the abdomen, flanks, or buttocks) via microincision low suction liposuction methods. During this part of the process, it is essential to treat the harvested fat cells gently as they are sensitive to trauma.
Once harvested, fat will immediately be processed and prepared for re-injection. Nothing is added to the fat – the fat is gently cleaned in a sterile closed system and transferred to tiny syringes for re-injection. The injection process is very important. For an optimal outcome, you’ll need precision placement with calculated amounts of fat delivered at exact depths. This requires an expert understanding of facial anatomy. The injection is performed through tiny needle sticks that don’t require any sutures.
With the right anesthesia, you will not feel the injections, and after surgery, there is essentially no pain. If you’re considering facial fat grafting procedures, I highly recommend choosing a skilled, board-certified surgeon who can produce the long-lasting results you want.
When Will I See Results?
With facial fat grafting, you will see initial results immediately. The treatment area will have become instantly fuller and plumped. Because of swelling related to the procedure, you may feel overcorrected, but this resolves fairly quickly. Over the course of 2-6 weeks, some fat cells will not obtain a blood supply and will be reabsorbed back into the body. The remaining cells will begin to mimic the surrounding fat leaving you with the long-term results you want. In some cases, more than one treatment may be needed to achieve your end-goals.
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How Long Will Facial Fat Grafting Last?
As we touched on earlier in the article, results from facial fat grafting can significantly vary from person to person. The skill of your provider, the area of concern, and how your body reacts to treatment can all play a role in the longevity of your treatment. By three months we will have a very good idea of how much of the fat has survived, and those fat cells will last many years.
Facial fat grafting can be a long-term alternative to traditional dermal fillers and is far superior to dermal fillers when transferring large volumes. Many patients are happy with the outcome of their procedure for years.
While the fat cells last a long time, ongoing loss of volume in your face as part of the aging process may result in the need for additional fat grafting. Occasionally, patients will return for additional fat grafting. It is important to realize that too much fat is far worse than not enough fat. We can always add, but removing excess fat is difficult. Consequently, I am very careful to be cautious in terms of the amount of fat placed. During your initial consultation, we’ll discuss all of your options in depth, and show you many photos of patients who are at different times following their fat grafting procedure.
Dr Barnett was extremely thorough in explaining what to expect and was extremely attentive through the healing process. His staff was very kind and also extremely supportive every step of the way. I felt confident from the beginning that I had made the best decision in choosing Dr Barnett, and I continue to feel the same as I near the end of my recovery.
Take the Next Step
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 943-0749. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!
*Individual results may vary.