Fat Grafting

Fat grafting, also known as autologous fat transfer or fat injections, involves taking fat from one area of the body and injecting it into another area. This procedure is becoming increasingly popular among patients who wish to use their own fat as a volume-enhancer. Dr. John R. Griffin, a top Bay Area Plastic Surgeon, is skilled in this technique and can use fat injections to rejuvenate the face.

Facial Fat Grafting Candidates

The best fat grafting candidates have experienced a loss of facial fat and collagen as the result of aging. It is common for patients to lose fat in certain areas of the face, resulting in a gaunt or hollowed out appearance. Fat may need to be restored to:

  • The area under the eyes, to reduce the appearance of under eye circles
  • The cheeks or the area just below the cheeks, to fill out the mid area of the face and reduce fine lines and skin laxity
  • The nasolabial folds, the reduce the deep, curved, and vertical lines that run along the sides of the nose and mouth
  • The lips, to replenish lost volume
  • Depressions or scars that are the result of acne or injury
  • Any other facial areas affected by shallow contours, facial creases, and loose skin

Fat can be harvested via the liposuction procedure, in one or two areas of the body. The back, hips, and thighs are commonly used to harvest the fat needed for facial fat injections.

In addition, patients should be in good health. Patients who are smokers or take blood thinning medications should discuss these health concerns with their surgeon before undergoing a fat grafting procedure.

Facial Fat Grafting Techniques

Dr. Griffin will employ the following techniques during the fat grafting procedure:

  • Liposuction: The first phase of the fat grafting procedure involves the removal of fat from up to two areas of the body. Fat is usually liposuctioned from the stomach, thighs, or hips. This procedure involves the creation of small incisions in the treatment area; a cannula is then used to suction excess fat out of the body.
  • Fat injections: The second phase of the procedure involves taking the purified fat and re-injecting it back into the body at the desired location. The fat can be used to smooth out any depressions, lines, or contours in the skin.

Facial Fat Grafting Procedure Steps

During the fat grafting procedure, Dr. Griffin will mark the areas of the body that will be treated, apply an antibacterial solution to the treatment areas, and the anesthesiologist will put the patient under sedation. Dr. Griffin will then perform the following steps:

  1. The incisions will be made in the area of the body in which liposuction will be performed; in most cases, the incisions are so small that they don’t need to be closed with sutures
  2. The special suction tube, or cannula, will remove fat from the body
  3. The patient’s fat is then filtered to remove oil and water
  4. The filtered fat is re-injected into the face at the desired location; this is repeated several times to create a grid-like mesh of fat
  5. After the fat is injected, Dr. Griffin will massage the area to distribute and shape the fat

Facial Fat Grafting Recovery

Recovery from a fat grafting procedure generally takes up to six weeks. Side effects will begin to subside rapidly three to four days after the procedure, and the majority of these effects should be gone after about two weeks. By six weeks after surgery, patients should be able to return to all regular activities, including exercise. The full results of surgery should be visible at the six-week mark.

Patients may have to massage the injection site on a regular basis to help the fat conform properly to its new location.

Facial Fat Grafting Side Effects

The most common side effects of fat grafting include discomfort, bruising, and swelling at the fat removal and injection sites. These effects are usually mild and should resolve within a couple of weeks.

Facial Fat Grafting Risks

Risks may include numbness at the injection site, under- or over-correction at the injection site, infection, and the eventual loss of the injected fat. Dr. Griffin’s office will provide you a full list of risks.

Facial Fat Grafting Results

The results of facial fat grafting are both natural and long lasting. Patients should begin to see results relatively quickly after a fat-grafting procedure. Patients will notice an improvement in the face immediately after surgery, but full results can be seen after a few weeks, once all swelling has gone down.

Facial Fat Grafting Consultations

To schedule a facial fat grafting consultation, contact Dr. John R. Griffin’s practice.