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Facial Fat Grafting

Over time, the natural aging process can cause a gradual loss of facial volume and definition. As skin becomes more lax and volume diminishes, individuals often develop facial folds, jowling along the jawline, and sunken areas in the cheeks or under the eyes. Facial fat grafting commonly acts as an effective solution to these concerns by using a patient’s own tissue to smooth pronounced creases as well as achieve subtle volume enhancement in hollow facial regions. Our plastic surgeon, John Ayala, MD, performs facial fat grafting for patients who wish to rejuvenate their facial appearance for natural-looking results that can outlast the outcome achieved by dermal fillers.

What is Facial Fat Grafting?

Facial fat grafting is a rejuvenation treatment designed to improve many signs of facial aging, such as deep creases and sunken areas, by using your own fat as a natural filler. Also known as fat injections or fat transfer, this technique can repurpose excess fat cells—harvested from a fat-rich region of the body—to make strategic additions of volume to areas that lack fullness, thereby restoring the youthful contours of the face. The process involves collecting excess fat through liposuction techniques, and subsequently re-injecting the fat cells into the areas of concern to restore lost volume and achieve a more youthful aesthetic.

What Does Facial Fat Grafting Accomplish?

Fat transfer can be an excellent treatment option for patients who seek to improve:

  • Pronounced facial lines, such as nasolabial folds or “marionette lines”
  • Loss of volume in the cheeks, lips, temples, or under-eye hollows
  • Loose skin along the jawline (jowling)
  • Deep creases along the brow

In general, individuals who seek to restore the look of fuller lips, more defined cheekbones, or the facial fullness characteristic of youth can benefit from facial fat grafting. As the procedure uses a patient’s own tissue, the aesthetic outcome typically lasts longer than results yielded by dermal fillers. Additionally, because the fat is harvested through liposuction, men and women can typically contour the region of extraction in conjunction with fat grafting treatment.  

As a versatile volume enhancement technique, fat grafting can also be utilized in a buttock lift procedure for patients whose aesthetic goals include an improved body contour. If you are interested in buttock augmentation, please don’t hesitate to inquire with Dr. Ayala about the surgery.

How is Facial Fat Grafting Performed?

Dr. Ayala generally performs facial fat grafting as an outpatient procedure. The first component of treatment involves collecting fat cells from a body area that is abundant in excess fatty tissue via a small instrument called a cannula. Typical extraction sites include:

  • Abdomen
  • Flanks
  • Thighs
  • Upper back

During a consultation, Dr. Ayala will help you determine the most ideal body area to harvest the fat cells. After it is collected, purified, and prepared for surgical transfer, Dr. Ayala will carefully inject the fat in tiny amounts into the areas planned for treatment. Using precise techniques that can maximize the survival rate of the fat cells, he will work to achieve subtle volume enhancement for natural-looking results.

What is Recovery From Facial Fat Grafting Like?

Patients may experience temporary bruising or swelling in the treated areas after facial fat grafting. While these reactions should dissipate as recovery progresses, any discomfort can usually be managed with oral pain medication. In order to decrease facial swelling, individuals should sleep with their head elevated. Getting plenty of rest can generally accelerate the healing process. Dr. Ayala will provide detailed after-care instructions when he sees you in person.

Those who have received fat grafting treatment can typically return to work and daily routines in approximately one week; however, exercise and strenuous activity should be avoided for at least four weeks, or until cleared by Dr. Ayala. While there may be some degree of fat that will be naturally absorbed, the final outcome should be realized at around six weeks.

To learn more about facial fat grafting, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ayala, please don’t hesitate to contact our practice today.

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