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Facial fat injections for a rejuvenated appearance

Blog post - before after photograph lower eyelid bag blepharoplasty surgery fat graft

Before and after photograph of lower eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) with facial fat injection. Her lower eyelid bags have improved for a refreshed and natural appearance.

Everyone wants to look their best and visit a plastic surgeon’s office to review options. While most consider facelift surgery as the most dramatic method to improve one’s appearance, facial fat injections alone or in combination with facelift surgery is an important procedure to consider for facial rejuvenation.

What is fat injection?

We’ve previously reviewed facial fat injection, also known as fat transfer. Your own fat is obtained via liposuction from the abdomen or thighs and reinjected into desired areas. The fat transfer procedure itself usually takes less than hour. Fat transfer procedures fall under the general term of liquid facelift.

What areas of the face can be injected with fat?

Fat transfer, similar to facial fillers, can be performed in a variety of areas. Fat transfer has been performed in the following areas by plastic surgeons:

  • cheeks
  • lips
  • smile lines
  • lower eyelid area
  • temple
  • brow

Areas that are avoided for fat transfer are the forehead. Other treatments, such as Botox® or Dysport®, are better for forehead wrinkles.

Not all areas must be treated with fat transfer in all patients. Some patient prefer to limit fat transfer to the cheeks for augmentation, while others want multiple areas treated with fat transfer. The treated areas are mutually determined between the patient and plastic surgeon.

How much fat is injected into the face?

The volume of fat for the face, including the cheeks and lips, is typically much smaller than compared to volume required for breast augmentation or buttock augmentation with fat injection. In addition, plastic surgeons typically don’t “over inject” the face. Typical facial fat transfer volumes range from approximately 10cc to 40cc, but each patient and surgeon will determine together the volume of injected fat.

Do fat injection have stem cells?

We’ve reviewed regenerative medicine in a previous blog post. Briefly, regenerative medicine broadly involves three areas: stem cells, growth factors, and platelet rich plasma (PRP) or platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM). Stems cells are cells that may exert an regenerative effect on surrounding tissue and are naturally present in fat transfer procedures. For example, skin may appear smoother with less wrinkles beyond the volume enhancement itself after fat injection. The mechanism of this possible “stem cell facelift” effect remains poorly understood.

Have you considered facial fat transfer? Share your thoughts and questions below.

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    Houtan Chaboki, M.D.