Facial Fat Grafting

Autologous fat transplantation, also known as facial fat grafting/transfer, provides the patient with a long-lasting, all-natural solution to facial rejuvenation. This procedure is performed on candidates that are looking to naturally decrease and smoothen deep grooves and wrinkles, improve their jawline and restore the youthful volume in their face.

What is facial fat grafting?

Using your own natural body fat, Dr. Motakis will extract fat from another area of your body and with precision re-inject this fat to various areas of the face, creating a more lifted appearance and adding definition, while diminishing grooves, lines, and wrinkles.

Who is a good candidate for facial fat grafting?

You are likely considered to be a good candidate if you have enough fat in other areas of the body, such as the abdomen, flanks or thighs. This fat will then be used to plump the cheeks, temples, nasolabial or marionette folds, the lips, or smoothen the area under eyes and soften other creases and wrinkles on the face. Dr. Motakis can use the fat to also inject and fill depressed facial scars. There is no specific chronological age to have this surgery, however, most candidates are in the later half of their adult life and should be in good general health.

The procedure

Facial fat grafting generally takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours to perform and is done as an outpatient procedure at our Avenue Road fully accredited on-site surgical facility. The procedure is done in a two-step process. First, Dr. Motakis extracts the fat from the donor area using a liposuction technique. This is done through a tiny hidden incision, usually hidden inside the umbilicus. The fat is then processed and prepared to be re-injected in the various areas of the face.  Facial fat grafting is usually performed under a general anesthetic, although in some cases a local anesthetic with IV sedation can be used.

What is the recovery period for facial fat grafting?

On average, it takes approximately 1-2 weeks to recover from a facial fat grafting. Initially, you should expect a few days of minor swelling and occasionally bruising. Discomfort is minimal and is treated with mild analgesics. There will be small tapes over the tiny pokes used to inject the fat for a few days, and there are no stitches to remove. You will be able to resume light activities 1-2 days after your procedure and you will likely need approximately 5-7 days off work.

What are the risk factors of a facial fat grafting?

Dr. Motakis makes every effort to execute the procedure in the most meticulous way, however, as with any surgery, inadequate fat survival, prolonged swelling and infection, irregularities, are among the risks of fat grafting, although these are extremely rare. These risks will be discussed in detail with Dr. Motakis during your consultation with him.

How long does facial fat grafting last?

Candidates should be aware that there is some unpredictability to fat grating. In some patients, the fat may not take or establish the blood supply that is required for it to survive the transfer process. Therefore, the amount of ‘take’ varies from patient to patient as the survival of the fat depends on the quality of the fat obtained from the patient, their age and general health status, as well as, the area that is being treated. On average greater than 60-80% of the fat survives giving the patient a permanent correction of facial volume loss. However, the procedure can always be repeated several times in order to augment the result.

Are there any alternatives to surgical facial fat grafting?

For patients looking for a more modest enhancement or those interested in a more gradual modification, injectable fillers can often be used to make correction of fine lines, wrinkles and increase the plumpness of the face.  Fillers such as Belotero©, Sculptra© or Radiesse© have minimal recovery and great predictability but must be repeated every few months or years depending on the area treated and the amount/ density of the product used.

Can facial fat grafting be combined with other procedures?

Many of Dr. Motakis’ patients combine their fat grafting procedure with other cosmetic procedures offered at the clinic. These procedures frequently include a facelift, eyelid surgery, forehead lift, as well as any body contouring surgery, among others.

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