What is Facial Fat Grafting or Fat Transfer To Face?

Facial fat grafting(fat transfer) is a minimally-invasive procedure that aims to restore a youthful appearance of the face. It involves taking fat from your abdomen and/or thighs by liposuction, purifying the fat, and transferring it to different areas of your face to restore lost volume from age related changes.

Common areas that can be treated include:

  • Midface / cheeks
  • Temples
  • Forehead
  • Upper eyelid hollowing
  • Lower eyelid / tear trough
  • Lower cheek hollowing / submalar depression
  • Indented scars

Facial fat grafting(fat transfer) is often used in conjunction with surgical procedures such as lower eyelid surgery or facelift. Increasingly, fat transfer to face is also gaining popularity as a minimally invasive independent procedure that can produce a natural, long lasting effect.

Who is suitable for facial fat grafting?

  • Candidates should be at least 18 years of age and in good health
  • Smokers are generally ineligible for the facial fat grafting as it reduces fat cell retention.

Dr Lin will assess your goals and suitability for facial fat grafting during your consultation, and formulate a plan tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Dermal Fillers v Facial Fat Grafting: What Is The Difference?

Many types of dermal fillers exist on the market today which also aims to fill wrinkles, lines, and restore facial volume.

When used correctly, fillers can provide a range of excellent aesthetic results without the need for surgery. A dermal filler is usually less expensive than facial fat grafting, although they also provide less longevity and will eventually be reabsorbed after a number of months.

Facial fat grafting is a minimally invasive procedure which requires a light sedative anaesthetic. Its main advantage is that the injected “material” is in fact your own fat cells, minimizing the risk of any reaction to foreign materials. In addition, once the fat cell have stabilized after injection, It has the advantage of producing a potentially permanent rejuvenating effect.

What is involved in the facial fat grafting?

The procedure is often done under a light sedative anaesthetic. For very small volume facial fat grafting it is possible to undertake the procedure with local anaesthetic only.

Fat cells are harvested using a fine liposuction technique. The best quality fat is usually from around the abdomen and thighs.

Processing the fat is critical in maximizing fat survival. This generally involves meticulously washing the fat cells and purifying it in a centrifuge. This process takes time, and is generally considered one of the most important steps in the procedure as it ensures the fat is as pure and liquid, minimizing the risk of lumps, while maximizing.

Once ready, the fat cells are injected to pre-marked areas of the face using a fine cannula. This is the safest and least invasive method of transferring the purified fat. It also minimizes bruising and downtime following the procedure.

How Much Fat Will Be Retained After The Procedure?

On average, 40% – 60% of the fat cells transferred to the face usually survive long term using modern techniques, although this can vary between individual patients.

Everything effort and care will be taken in the processing, purification and concentration of the fat cells to maximize retention. From a patient point of view, it is important to avoid pressure in the grafted areas, maintain a healthy diet and fluid intake, as well as to avoid smoking.

What To Expect After Surgery?

Facial fat grafting is generally carried out as a day case. You should be able to go home after the procedure provided you are accompanied by a responsible person.

  • There may be some minor swelling and bruising in the grafted areas of the face, along with the donor site where liposuction has been undertaken.
  • Pain is usually minimal and can generally be managed with simple paracetamol.
  • Most people take 1-2 days off work, depending on the nature of your work.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity in the weeks following your procedure
  • Avoid direct pressure to the grafted areas.

Dr Lin’s or his nurses will usually see you within 24-48 hours in the rooms to care for the injection sites. You can usually wash your face and hair after 24 hours.

*Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.