Fat Transfers Explained

Fat transfer to face is a unique facial rejuvenation procedure, as it involves the use of fat from different parts of a patient’s body to revitalize the facial appearance. When performed by globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, a fat transfer can deliver unprecedented results.

Dr. Azizzadeh is a Harvard-trained and dual board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. He wants to educate individuals about facial fat grafting. In doing so, Dr. Azizzadeh can help people review this facial rejuvenation treatment and determine if it is right for them.

History of Fat Transfer Procedures

The first fat transfer procedure was performed in 1893. German plastic surgeon Gustav Neuber transferred fat from his patient’s arm to the eye region. This helped the patient correct scarring around the eyes.

Since that time, many fat grafting methods have been used by surgeons around the world. Clinical research into fat grafting is ongoing, and surgeons continue to explore innovative ways to safely and effectively perform these procedures.

How Is a Fat Transfer to Face Procedure Performed Today?

Today’s fat transfer to face procedures can be used to improve facial fullness and volume. During a facial fat grafting procedure, a patient receives fat harvested from the body into the cheeks, temples, lips, or other areas of the face. The result: a fat transfer that enhances the facial appearance.

A facial fat grafting procedure often involves the following steps:

1. Harvesting

A site on the patient’s body is selected for fat removal. Next, a surgeon injects a local anesthetic into this area and creates a small incision. The surgeon then removes fat from the area via a thin tube (cannula) that is connected to a syringe.

2. Purification

Fat must be purified before it is transferred from one part of a patient’s body to their face. A centrifuge can be used to spin out fat and remove impurities from it.

3. Placement

A cannula or needle is inserted into the area of a patient’s face where the fat will be injected. Each time the cannula or needle is inserted, a small amount of fat is injected into the patient’s face. This process is repeated until the desired amount of correction is received.

Following the procedure, a bandage or dressing is placed over the grafted area. The surgeon evaluates their patient’s appearance to ensure he or she can enjoy a balanced, natural-looking facial appearance.

Is Facial Fat Grafting Common?

Fat transfer procedures have become increasingly popular over the course of the 20th century. Today, men and women undergo these procedures to use fat from the abdomen, hips, and other parts of the body to achieve a more youthful facial appearance.

Of course, this procedure is not the right facial rejuvenation treatment for everyone. But in many cases, the treatment is beneficial for individuals dealing with one or more of the following facial issues:

    • Forehead lines
    • Thin lips
    • Contour depressions along the face
    • Facial scars
    • Hollowed-out appearance under the eyes
    • Cheek volume loss
    • Tear troughs
    • Cheek folds or “marionette” lines around the mouth

A fat grafting procedure must also be tailored to the patient. This ensures a patient can receive the optimal amount of fat to the proper areas of the face.

Is a Fat Transfer Effective?

Choosing a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with fat transfer treatment experience is a must. This surgeon can evaluate a patient and determine their eligibility for the procedure. If a patient qualifies for this treatment, the surgeon can develop a plan to maximize its effectiveness.

Dr. Azizzadeh has performed many fat transfer to face procedures to date. He recommends this procedure if he believes it can help a patient improve their facial appearance without putting their overall health in danger.

Is a Fat Transfer Safe?

A fat transfer to face procedure must be performed by an expert facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon like Dr. Azizzadeh. Otherwise, a patient risks myriad treatment complications.

Fat transfer risks include:

    • Hematoma (collection of blood under the skin)
    • Significant scarring
    • Blood vessel blockage
    • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
    • Infection
    • Blood clot
    • Excessive bleeding

Dr. Azizzadeh is a leading facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who is frequently sought after by global dignitaries, executives, and celebrities. When it comes to facial plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures, Dr. Azizzadeh is a top choice, as he dedicates substantial time and resources to ensure patient safety.

Before a surgical procedure is performed, Dr. Azizzadeh conducts a patient assessment. Dr. Azizzadeh identifies any potential risks that could put a patient’s health in danger. If these risks are too great, Dr. Azizzadeh can offer non-surgical alternatives.

What Transfer of Facial Fat Treatment Alternatives Are Available?

Juvederm and Restylane are popular alternatives to transfer of facial fat procedures. These dermal fillers can help patients revitalize their facial appearance without going under the knife.

With Juvederm, patients can receive injections to enhance facial volume. A Juvederm treatment enables patients to correct facial lines and wrinkles. It also can be performed in combination with Voluma, Sculptura, or other dermal fillers as part of a liquid facelift.

Multiple types of Juvederm are available. Juvederm injections can deliver instant results that last six months or longer.

Restylane refers to a collection of injectable dermal fillers that can be used to treat frown lines, wrinkles, and furrows. Moreover, Restylane can help patients correct pitting, scarring, and damage to the skin’s surface. It can be used to correct loss of fullness in the lips, too.

A typical Restylane procedure can be completed in about 30 minutes. Side effects of Restylane are minimal, and they usually disappear on their own within hours of treatment.

The results of a Restylane procedure can last anywhere from six months to one year. With periodic follow-up treatments, a patient can use Restylane to revitalize their facial appearance like never before.

Surgical procedures are available that can help patients bolster their facial appearance as well. For instance, a patient can undergo a facelift to reduce visible signs of aging in the face and neck. Comparatively, a patient may consider a rhinoplasty to enhance the appearance of the nose and improve facial harmony.  A patient can even undergo a chin augmentation or other surgical procedures to correct blemishes on different areas of the face.

When it comes to facial rejuvenation procedures, it is important to consider all available treatment options. This allows a patient to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these options and find a treatment that matches their expectations.

Dr. Azizzadeh won’t put pressure on a patient to undergo facial fat grafting or other cosmetic facial procedures. Rather, Dr. Azizzadeh spends time learning about his patient and why they are considering a facial rejuvenation procedure. Dr. Azizzadeh performs an evaluation to see how one or more facial rejuvenation procedures may be used to rejuvenate his patient’s facial appearance. From here, Dr. Azizzadeh shares his treatment recommendation. He remains accessible to his patients and encourages them to come forward with any treatment concerns and questions. If the patient agrees to treatment, Dr. Azizzadeh then works diligently to deliver the optimal results.

What Happens During a Facial Fat Transfer Treatment Consultation?

During a consultation, a patient can share their treatment goals with Dr. Azizzadeh. The patient can ask questions about facial fat grafting procedures, how they work, and their pros and cons.

Dr. Azizzadeh uses a consultation to learn about a patient and find out if he or she is a good candidate for treatment. He conducts a patient assessment that includes:

    • Review of patient’s medical history
    • Evaluation of the patient’s health status
    • Examination the patient’s face and the elasticity of their skin

After the assessment, Dr. Azizzadeh discusses treatment options with his patient. Dr. Azizzadeh explains if believes a patient can benefit from one or more other treatment options.

Which Is Better: A Facial Fat Transfer or Dermal Fillers?

In addition to facial fat transfer, dermal fillers are available to individuals who want to rejuvenate the facial appearance. To decide between these two facial rejuvenation treatment options, it is important for individuals to consider the following factors:

    • Number of Treatments: A fat transfer to face usually involves a single treatment with results that can last for several years, whereas dermal fillers provide results that can last for just a few months.
    • Downtime: There is little to no downtime with dermal fillers, and the results of dermal filler injections can become visible immediately after treatment. On the other hand, a facial fat transfer often requires at least one week of recovery time, with full results becoming visible in the weeks and months following treatment.
    • Side Effects and Risks: Side effects and risks are present in both procedures and must be evaluated closely before treatment.

Dr. Azizzadeh helps patients weigh the pros and cons of myriad treatment options. He offers individualized facial rejuvenation recommendations, so a patient can receive insights into facial rejuvenation procedures and make an informed treatment decision.

Is There an Age Limit for Fat Transfer Procedures?

Men and women often undergo facial fat grafting treatment to correct sagging and droopy skin that occurs due to the natural aging process. Yet, there is no age limit for an individual who wants to undergo this procedure.

Dr. Azizzadeh believes in providing patients with any procedure to accommodate their facial rejuvenation goals. Thus, if Dr. Azizzadeh believes a patient is a good candidate for treatment, he will perform the procedure, regardless of their age.

How Much Does a Transfer of Facial Fat Procedure Cost?

The cost of treatment depends on the surgeon, where the procedure is performed, and other factors. Before treatment, Dr. Azizzadeh explains the cost of the procedure.

Is a Transfer of Facial Fat Procedure Covered by Insurance?

Since a transfer of facial fat procedure is considered a cosmetic treatment, it is usually not covered by insurance. However, patients may qualify for financing options to help cover the cost of treatment.

How Should a Patient Prepare for a Facial Fat Procedure?

Dr. Azizzadeh requests a patient undergo a physical exam before treatment. This ensures the patient is healthy enough for the procedure.

Patients should not smoke for at least six weeks before their surgery date. They should also avoid taking medications or supplements that can increase bleeding.

Does a Treatment for Facial Fat Vary Based on a Patient’s Gender?

Since each fat transfer procedure is designed to provide a patient with a balanced, natural-looking facial appearance, the amount of fat used and the areas of the face treated vary based on the individual. However, the overall facial fat grafting procedure is virtually identical for both men and women.

To perform a facial fat procedure, Dr. Azizzadeh first removes fat from a patient. Dr. Azizzadeh makes a small incision in his patient’s neck, then uses a tiny tube to remove fat. The incision is then closed.

Next, Dr. Azizzadeh separates the fat from blood and other fluids. This ensures the fat is pure and clean before it is injected into the patient’s face.

During the final stage of treatment, Dr. Azizzadeh injects the fat into the patient’s face. Each injection is performed via small holes in the skin, which eliminates the need for stitches after treatment.

How Long Does It Take to Complete Facial Fat Grafting?

A typical procedure to address facial fat takes up to five hours to complete. But the length of time to perform the procedure often depends on the number of injections required.

Does a Patient Receive Anesthesia During Facial Fat Treatment?

Some patients receive local anesthetic before they undergo facial fat treatment. Local anesthetic helps numb pain during grafting, but it is not required for all patients. Instead, Dr. Azizzadeh determines if local anesthetic is necessary before he conducts a grafting procedure.

What Should a Patient Expect Following Facial Fat Grafting?

Swelling and bruising often occur after facial fat grafting, but these side effects usually disappear on their own within about one week of treatment. Patients are generally encouraged to have someone else drive them home after a facial fat grafting procedure, as well as take time off of work during the recovery cycle.

The full results of treatment become transparent within approximately six months of treatment. Dr. Azizzadeh requests follow-up appointments in the weeks and months following facial fat grafting so he can track his patient’s progress. These appointments also allow Dr. Azizzadeh to identify any issues that can disrupt the recovery process.

Will Patients Have Facial Scars After a Grafting Procedure?

Dr. Azizzadeh takes precautions to limit the risk of facial scarring. As such, there are rarely detectable scars on a patient’s face after treatment.

Are There Any Severe Side Effects Associated with Facial Fat Grafting?

Fat transfer side effects can include an asymmetrical facial appearance and/or infection. Sometimes, a patient’s face reabsorbs a portion or all of a fat injection. In rare instances, a facial fat grafting patient’s blood vessel ruptures, blood clotting occurs at the treatment site, an infection develops, or a fat embolism or scar tissue forms.

In the event that a patient experiences any of the aforementioned facial fat grafting side effects, Dr. Azizzadeh is prepared to help in any way possible. At the first sign of a severe side effect of facial fat grafting, Dr. Azizzadeh addresses the issue. As such, Dr. Azizzadeh helps a facial fat grafting patient avoid long-term health risks.

How Long Do the Results of Facial Fat Grafting Last?

In certain instances, the results of facial fat grafting are permanent. Dr. Azizzadeh wants the procedure to deliver long-lasting results, so he works diligently to customize a treatment plan to his patient’s facial appearance. This allows Dr. Azizzadeh to provide a facial fat grafting patient with the ideal amount of fat to various areas of the face, leading to exceptional facial rejuvenation.

In the months and years after facial fat grafting, an individual’s facial appearance can change due to the natural aging process, weight loss or gain, and other factors. Therefore, the length of time that an individual enjoys the full results of facial fat grafting varies.

Can Facial Fat Grafting Be Performed at the Same Time As Other Facial Rejuvenation Procedures?

Facial fat grafting is sometimes recommended in combination with other facial rejuvenation treatments. That way, a patient can receive facial fat grafting and other facial rejuvenation procedures at the same time to quickly revitalize their facial appearance.

Why Should You Choose Dr. Azizzadeh for Facial Fat Grafting?

Dr. Azizzadeh is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with many years of industry experience. To date, Dr. Azizzadeh has performed many successful facial fat grafting procedures, and he strives to help individuals identify the right treatment to rejuvenate their facial appearance.

Dr. Azizzadeh is available to discuss facial fat grafting and can provide a custom facial rejuvenation treatment recommendation. To learn more about facial fat grafting or to schedule a treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us online or call us today at 310-657-2203.

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today

Dr. Azizzadeh offers free in-person and virtual consultations to people who are considering a cosmetic procedure. To find out more, please contact us today at 310-657-2203 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh.

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