Fat Transfer for Facial Feminization (FFS)
Fat transfer (AKA fat grafting, fat injection, or lipofilling) is a popular surgical technique that is often used in facial feminization surgery. The procedure involves harvesting your body’s own fat cells, typically from your abdomen or inner thigh, and transferring them into facial areas such as under the eyes, into the lips, chin, or the cheeks, that may need added volume.
The popularity of fat transfer as a facial filler is largely due to it being your body’s own fat–rather than a synthetic material.
Typically, most dermal fillers are produced in pharmaceutical labs and, while they do have a well-established place in adding volume to facial structures, they have significant disadvantages over fat. Artificial fillers can be resorbed by the body necessitating repeat injections that can be expensive over time. They may not feel as natural to the touch as a fat injection, and if placed improperly, are sometimes visible through the skin.
The benefits of fat transfer over artificial dermal fillers for facial feminization:
- Longer-lasting, more permanent results
- Looks and feels very natural
- Invisible underneath the skin
- Your own fat moves more naturally with facial expressions
An additional benefit of using fat as a filler is that your body’s fatty tissue contains an abundance of powerful stem cells — naturally occurring cells that self-renew and have the ability to rejuvenate the skin. Your own stem cells will be transplanted along with your fat cells, improving facial volume and improving skin quality. This is sometimes known as a “stem cell facelift”.
Fat transfer is ideal for filling in the following areas of the face…
1. Under-Eye Area
Depending on your age and skin condition it’s not uncommon for most people (of any gender) to have some hollowing of the under-eye area causing the eyes to look “sad” or overly tired. Fat transfer is perfect for filling out these hollow areas resulting in a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.
In the context of facial feminization, the shape and profile of the cheeks are critical. Enhancing the cheeks via fat transfer gives the cheeks a rounder and smoother feminine appearance–without the use of artificial cheek transplants. We recommend lipofilling because the procedure gives your surgeon more control to sculpt and shape the cheeks to ensure facial harmony, while also addressing ageing-related volume loss in the cheeks.
Read more about cheek enhancement via fat transfer here.
There are several lip feminization techniques that are used in the context of facial gender confirmation with one of the most popular ones being lip augmentation (filling) via fat transfer. Essentially, your own body’s fat is used to fill and reshape the lips so they appear fuller and more feminine. Fat transfer is also the most natural and longest lasting method of reshaping your lips, being a permanent solution for most people.
Read more about lip feminization here.
4. Nasolabial Folds
Nasolabial folds are commonly known as “laugh lines” or “smile lines”. They are the grooves that extend out from the edges of your nostrils to the corners of your mouth. As we age these lines get deeper and more pronounced. Fat transfer is an ideal option to fill out these folds to create a younger, more feminine look.
For other concerns, such as skin texture and fine lines around the mouth, you may also want to explore non-surgical perioral (around the mouth) rejuvenation.
Read more about fat transfer here.
Dr. Deschamps-Braly is a board-certified plastic and craniofacial surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, and craniofacial surgery for adults and children. He is also one of the world’s foremost leaders and innovators in facial gender confirmation surgery.