About Facial Fat Grafting

Fat grafting is a procedure that essentially removes fat from one part of the body, and transfers it to a more favorable part of the body. Facial fat grafting consists of using your own fat harvested from another region of the body, and re-injecting it into the lips, cheeks, chin or other parts of the face to help restore lost volume and create youthful-looking fullness.

Many patients prefer this method over other surgical procedures because it is less invasive and offers a more permanent result that injectable fillers. Another benefit of facial fat grafting is that not only are you improving upon areas of your face, you’re also removing unwanted fat from another part of the body.

About the Procedure

Fat grafting is a three-part procedure consisting of fat removal, purification, and injection. Fortunately, this is generally an easy process that can be done in 1-3 hours on an outpatient basis.

The first phase involves removing fat via liposuction from other areas of the body, what we refer to as “donor sites.” The areas we generally remove fat from are the stomach, inner thighs, and lower back (or what some refer to as “love handles”), because these areas typically contain the most excess fat. Fat can be removed from other areas of the body as long as it contains enough excess fat for harvesting.

After the fat is “harvested” from the liposuction, it goes through a purification process that removes tissues, fluids and impurities. The fat is then injected back into the parts of your face where you desire more fullness, whether that is your lips, cheeks, forehead, or chin.


Fortunately for most patients, recovery from facial fat grafting is typically fast and easy. You can expect some swelling and may have some bruising, but both typically diminish very quickly, with the majority of the process completed by 10-14 days. Patients can return to work immediately, but should allow the swelling to completely subside before exercising or lifting heavy objects. Your recovery may also be limited by the donor site recovery which may require additional care and support.

What Results Should I Expect?

Results are visible almost immediately, but changes will come in stages. In the first three months, some fat cells will die off and the volume will actually decrease before it increases. At four months, the fat cells that have survived the transfer will start to plump up and you will start to see the volume and fullness you desire. At nine months, your results are permanent, leaving with you more volume, contour and fullness at your injection sites.

Because facial fat grafting involves the use of your own tissues that are then reconnected to the blood supply, results generally last long term. However, in order to prolong your results, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and daily practices to delay the natural aging process. Proper sun protection, a daily skincare regimen, and diet and exercise are all lifestyle habits that help keep signs of aging at bay.

Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon

During your search for a potential plastic surgeon, you should only consider a surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Board-certified surgeons spend a minimum of 6-8 years in training after medical school to ensure that they are well-trained in both aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
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