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Facial Fat Grafting (Autologous Fat Transfer to the Face) – Northern Virginia

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About Facial Fat Grafting

Facial fat transfer, also known as facial fat grafting, includes using fat from one area of the body and injecting it into hollow areas of the face to add volume and fullness. Some patients prefer facial fat grafting over dermal fillers since it is a more natural approach to achieve results. With normal aging, we lose fat and volume in the face. This can be particularly noticeable in the cheeks, jawline and around the eyes. This process is made worse by weight loss. 

With facial fat grafting, fullness can be added back to the face in order to smooth lines and diminish wrinkles and folds for an overall younger-looking, enhanced appearance. To set up an appointment with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, call Austin-Weston, The Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Reston, VA. 

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for facial fat grafting most often want a more natural way to rejuvenate their facial appearance and create fuller features. It is a great option for both men and women who have undergone significant weight loss or are beginning to notice signs of aging. It can also be beneficial for individuals who may be allergic to substances found in popular dermal fillers. One major advantage over dermal fillers is that facial fat grating allows much larger volumes of fat to be injected at a lower cost. 

Whether you use a dermal filler or fat, the result is generally similar early on. Fat, however, has the potential to be a permanent result while most fillers are dissolved naturally by the body over 1-2 years. Patients who are very thin and have limited body fat may not be candidates for fat transfer, thus a filler may be their best option. As a minimally invasive procedure, facial fat grafting does not require the amount of downtime needed for more invasive surgical procedures. Additionally, very minimal scarring is to be expected after a facial fat grafting procedure in the area of the fat removal since only small incisions are needed. During your consultation at our practice, we can determine if you would be a good candidate for facial fat grafting.

What to Expect

Once the patient is under general anesthesia or local sedation, an instrument called a cannula is inserted into the skin to suction out the fat from an area of the body. Typically, fat is taken from the hips, abdomen, or flanks, and only a small amount is removed for fat transfer. Incisions for this procedure are routinely very small and hide well. The removed fat is then sorted and purified before being put into a syringe for the transfer. One of our plastic surgeons will inject the fat into the desired area needing volume, commonly the mid-face or cheek area including the laugh lines, areas around the lips, or directly into the lips for lip augmentation. This is usually done in multiple planes so the fat settles smoothly. This process may have to be performed several times (also known as a layered fat grafting) for the best results. While most dermal filler injections take 10 minutes or less, a facial fat transfer is a more involved approach due to the need to first harvest the fat prior to injection. For most patients, facial fat grafting alone takes under an hour.

Anticipated Results

Facial fat grafting is an outpatient procedure. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia. For patients undergoing just fat grafting, they may elect to do this awake. If the fat grafting is being combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures, patients are often counseled to have general anesthesia for comfort. 

Fat grafting has some degree of unpredictability because not every single grafted cell will survive. Patients with inadequate 'take' of fat may choose to have a touch up procedure or choose the increased predictability of dermal fillers instead. The time period to know which cells have lived and will continue to plump the face long-term is usually 6 weeks. During that time, avoiding prolonged pressure on the grafted area and not experiencing any dramatic shifts in weight are recommended. 

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Average Cost  
$3,600 - $6,400
Recovery Time  
1-2 Weeks
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Fill In with Fat Grafting

Weight loss, aging, and genetics are all reasons why an area of the face may need replenished volume. Facial fat grafting creates a fuller, healthier look to desired areas of the face without allergic reactions since it is the patient’s own fat. We invite you to schedule a consultation to learn more about facial fat grafting and your other cosmetic options. 

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.