What is Facial Fat Grafting?
Facial Fat Grafting is a commonly performed technique that aims to address the contours of the face. The surgeon harvests your body’s own fat using liposuction and then injects it to fill different areas of your face. Fat injected into the face is permanent, and the results tend to be long-lasting.
Other names for facial fat grafting include:
- Autologous fat transfer
- Facial fat injections
- Autologous fat grafting
- Nanofat injections
- Microfat injections
Facial fat injections are an alternative option for those who want to avoid fillers or anti-wrinkle injections.
The procedure requires surgical experience, otherwise, the risk of the graft shrinking is increased. Dr Hunt and Dr Maryam use purifying techniques to make sure that most of the fat cells injected into the face are retained.
Why Patients Might Consider Facial Fat Grafting?
When it comes to facial procedures, there are several options to choose from. Dermal fillers, facial implants, anti-wrinkle injections, facial fat transfer, and a facelift surgery are all available options.
Patients might consider facial fat grafting for a number of different reasons. Some of these include:
- To contour the face without foreign materials (i.e. without fillers)
- To address cheek and temple volume
- Is starting to notice signs of facial ageing with predominant volume loss
- Wants to address other areas of the body with liposuction (donor areas)
Facial fat transfer may be performed on adult patients of any age (over 18 years).
Features of Facial Fat Grafting
- Longer-lasting results– fat transfer to the face generally provides longer lasting outcomes when compared to non-surgical options like dermal filler and anti-wrinle injections.
- Natural – it uses your own fat to perk up the face. No foreign materials are injected
- The procedure takes about 30 minutes to perform
- Recovery after facial fat injections can take a few days and up to a few weeks
One of the disadvantages of facial fat transfer is that up to 30% or 40% of the fat volume might be lost within a year, however, a second injection may help to get the volume.
How is Facial Fat Grafting Performed
Facial fat grafting is usually done under a local anaesthetic but can be done under general anaesthetic. This means that you will be awake during the procedure. It’s a one-day surgery, so you won’t spend the night at the hospital. It includes 3 main parts:
- Fat harvesting (liposuction): first, your surgeon will inject saline and local anaesthetic in the target (donor) areas. This numbs the sensation in these areas and loosens the fat from the overlying skin. Then, using a liposuction catheter, the fat cells will be removed from under the skin. The liposuction catheter is a hollow metallic rod connected to a suction machine. Liposuction is done to tone the donor areas – thighs, abdomen, hips, buttocks, etc. Liposuction does not involve any permanent noticeable scars. It’s done through very small skin incisions that usually heal very well
- Fat purification: the harvested fat is then purified in a special machine. Debris, blood, and water are removed from the fat samples. The result is pure fat cells that are better able to retain their volume
- Facial injections: the purified fat is then injected into the areas of the face using a needle. Dr Hunt or Dr Maryam will target the areas with marked volume loss while being mindful of facial symmetry and proportions.
Recovery after Facial Fat Grafting
Recovery after fat injections to the face is generally not too demanding. The liposuction part of the procedure takes the highest toll on the body, requiring rest and mild pain killers.
You will experience some swelling, bruising, and pain in both the donor and recipient areas. These will peak by 3-4 days and then gradually fade out over the coming 3-4 weeks. By 6 weeks, you should be fully recovered.
When recovering from facial fat injections, you should be careful not to forcefully rub your face or press the treated areas. This can ruin the results. Moreover, make sure you wear a compression garment over the donor areas (the liposuction donor area). Compression garments help reduce swelling and prevent seroma formation.
Results after Facial Fat Grafting
The results after a facial fat transfer take several months to settle. Although the harvested fat is purified to maximise its potential, it will still retain some fluids. After fat injections, the body will resorb these fluids, and the graft will shrink.
Some studies report that up to 30% or 40% of the graft volume is lost by the end of one year. This is why many patients often need a second or third fat transfer treatment to get the exact volume they want.
Real Patient Results for Facial Fat Injections
The outcomes shown are only relevant for this patient and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience, as results may vary due to many factors including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise.
Download Dr Hunt's Guide
Facial Procedures Guide
The facial procedures guide has been created by Dr Hunt and his team as a useful tool to help you plan and consider these procedures.
Throughout the guide, we will discuss the ins and outs of different types of surgery what makes a suitable candidate, pre-surgery planning answers to the most frequently asked questions received from patients.
Facial Fat Injection Cost Sydney – How much does facial fat injections cost in Sydney NSW?
The fee you’ll pay for your facial fat injections can vary. After your first consultation, Your surgeon will give you a clear estimate on the costs involved.
Are facial fat injections covered by Medicare or private health insurance?
The facial fat injections are an aesthetic treatment and therefore NOT covered by medicare or health insurance. (unless for craniofacial asymmetry concerns or burn scars – there is a new Medicare Code 45589)
FAQs about Facial Fat Injections
How long does fat grafting to the face last?
Different studies report different rates of facial graft survival. A 30% or 40% volume loss by one year is a safe estimate. This might be more or less depending on many factors (your surgeon, technique, skin quality, your unique physiology). The final volume can be achieved with a second or third session.
Do fat injections in the face work?
The injected fat settles in the face permanently, generally leading to long-lasting results. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes a second fat injection treatment might be needed to achieve the volume.
Is facial fat grafting permanent?
Yes. The grafted fat cells are regarded as permanent. They won’t go anywhere with time. However, as explained above, they might lose some volume during the first few months of recovery. Some patients might need a second session to solidify the results and reach the target volume and perkiness. Moreover, volume is not the only factor that contributes to facial ageing. A fat graft will not stop your skin from becoming lax or wrinkles from forming over time.
How long does swelling last after fat grafting?
The initial post-op swelling of fat grafting lasts a few weeks. By 6 weeks, most of the acute swelling will be gone. However, some swelling will persist for a few more months and will be resorbed slowly by the body. After 2-3 months, almost all the swelling will be gone. For some people, it might take longer.
Is facial fat grafting safe?
The procedure itself involves minimal risks of injury or complications. The injected material is your own body fat. Your body considers it part of it, and hence typically integrates it wherever it is injected.
It is important to note that all surgeries carry inherent risks. It is important to understand these risks before undergoing any type of surgical procedure.
Can fat injections in the face be removed?
Yes. Facial liposuction is a procedure that can remove fat from the face, whether grafted or native. It’s done using a small liposuction catheter that is used to contour the face.
Are fat injections painful?
You might feel a little uncomfortable when fat is being injected into different areas of the face. However, it’s not considered a particularly painful procedure.
How do you keep fat after fat transfer?
You should avoid putting any pressure on the face where the injections were done. Don’t touch your face or press on your cheeks. Moreover, you should naturally avoid smoking and maintain a healthy high calorie diet during the recovery period to retain as much from the fat graft as possible.
How much fat is needed for facial fat transfer?
Around 30-50 millilitres are usually needed to contour the face using fat injections. That’s as little as two teaspoons.
Typically 100ml is harvested to get 50ml to inject.
What are the risks and complications of facial fat injections?
All surgery has risks and some complications can occur. These also include the risks of liposuction:
- Seroma – Fluid collection in the liposuction wounds
- Haematoma – Blood collection in the liposuction wounds
- Internal organ injury – Trauma to internal organs during liposuction
- Persistent bleeding
- Wound infection
- Facial asymmetry – Uneven facial proportions after fat transfer injections
- Loss of volume again – The fat graft is not well retained
There may be complications related to the fat injections – like cysts formation, oil or fat necrosis.
Although it’s not a generally a complicated procedure, if done by a non-experienced surgeon, it can lead to less-than-ideal results. That’s why it’s important to choose a qualified plastic surgeon.
Further Reading and Medical References about Facial Fat Injections
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PLASTIC SURGEON SYDNEY
About Dr Jeremy Hunt
Dr Hunt has worked with thousands of patients across his 20-year career. This is reflected in his role as Spokesperson for the ASPS – Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. Dr Hunt is also a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and Supervisor of Plastic Surgery Training at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Dr Hunt has a strong interest in helping his patients achieve their desired results by employing the most appropriate practices for each individual patient.