Fat Transfer to the Face

Facial wrinkles and creases are part of the aging process. They begin to appear gravity stretches out the collagen and elastin fibers which contributes to the natural aging process. Facial wrinkles and creases can also result from excessive squinting, frowning and smiling.

As injectable fillers (Restylane, Juvederm, etc) can smooth out wrinkles, they aren’t for everyone. Some patients are allergic to bovine collagen or may develop an allergic reaction over time. If you are considering filler injections to correct the early signs of aging, you may need to have a simple skin test prior to your treatment.

Dr. Tien performs fat transfer, also called autologous fat transplantation or micro-lipoinjection for patients in our region to plump up facial features with a patient’s own fat. It is a popular alternative to other wrinkle treatments. Fat transfer to the face is a safe, natural, non-allergenic procedure designed to recontour your face and can provide definition to your cheeks and chin. It can also be used to correct facial deformities. Since fat transfer uses your own fat cells, you can never have an allergic reaction, because it’s from your own body. With fat transfer it is possible to have fat liposuctioned from your inner or outer thighs and then transferred to any area of your body. Reinjected fat lasts longer in larger areas of non-movement, so it is very successful for the correction of sunken cheeks because this area does not move as often. Fat transfer can also correct atrophic aging of the hands and post-surgical and post-traumatic defects. But not every area of the body responds well to fat transfer. Areas of movement such as the mouth may not be as effective as compared to the cheek and nasolabial fold areas.

Fat transfer is performed in our office on an outpatient basis. Both the area from which the fat is taken and the treatment site are anesthetized with a local anesthetic. Using a small needle attached to a syringe, fat is removed from a donor site where your fat is most tightly packed, such as your Thighs, abdomen or your buttocks. Once removed, your fat is processed to remove excess fluids and then reinjected using another needle, which is placed just under your skin beneath the wrinkle. This process may be repeated until the desired correction has been achieved. Harvesting for facial fat transfer can be used in conjuction with other facial cosmetic surgery procedures. Fat transferred to the face can last as long as three years, but may require 3-4 transfers during a 6-month period to obtain the desired result. However, the results are lasting and very satisfying to the patient.