Fat grafting, also referred to as ‘fat transfer’, ‘autologous fat transfer’, ‘fat injections’ and ‘lipofilling’, is a minimally invasive procedure where the patient’s own fat is harvested from one area of the body – typically the abdomen, waist, hips and buttocks -and re-implanted where needed.
One of the unwanted aspects of an ageing face is loss of volume in the face, giving it a haggard and hollow appearance. Facial Fat Grafting replaces this lost volume, restoring a more youthful appearance.
Facial Fat Grafting is used for improving or correcting
- Thin or gaunt areas of the face.
- Asymmetric areas of the face.
- Sunken eyelids (tear trough hollows below the eyes).
- Thinning lips.
- Soft tissues of chin and cheeks.
- The temples.
- The jawline.
- Facial scars from acne or trauma.
Although fat grafting is most commonly used on the face, it can also correct atrophic ageing of the hands and post-surgical and post-traumatic defects. However, it is important to understand that not every area of the body responds well to fat transfer.
Who is suitable for facial fat grafting?
Patients wishing for treatment for any of the above who have realistic expectations and are in good health.
Facial Fat Grafting – The Procedure
Depending on the extent of the area being treated, facial fat grafting can be performed under either general or local anaesthetic. It’s a non-invasive procedure with minimal scarring, recovery time is minimal, and most patients can return to work and resume non-strenuous activities the day after the procedure.
There are three parts to the procedure – ‘Harvest’, ‘Purification’, and ‘Grafting’:
- The donor site is prepared. Fat is harvested from areas of the body where the fat is most tightly packed, such as the abdomen or buttocks.
- The fat is harvested using a cannula (a thin hollow needle) connected to a syringe, in a process very similar to liposuction.
- Fat is purified either by hand or mechanically to obtain fat cells for grafting.
- Fat cells are prepared for transfer.
- The area for graft is prepared.
- The prepared fat cells are injected into the area with the cannula.
- The process is repeated until the desired correction is achieved.
Following up appointments & Results
Fat has a tendency to become re-absorbed into the body and, as it is not possible to predict exactly how much fat will survive after grafting is complete, follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the results. When fat grafting is successful, natural results are achieved which last 1 year or longer. In most cases the results are permanent after repeated (usually around 3-4) separate injection treatments.
Risks & Complications
All patients must understand that no surgical procedure is absolutely free from risk. Mr Rezai will discuss these wish you at your consultation. Please also refer to Risks and Complications of Fat Grafting for further information.