Fat transfer, also known as fat grafting or fat injection, is a cosmetic procedure that involves harvesting your body’s own fatty tissue and using it to restore facial volume; and a more youthful appearance. The fat transfer process involves using fat harvested from one part of the body to rejuvenate another part, typically the lips, face, cheeks, and chin. As fat grafting uses your body’s own fat, it is safer and offers longer-lasting, more genuine results.
Because this is an advanced, modern procedure, it is imperative that an experienced Board-certified plastic surgeon performs the surgery. If surgery is performed incorrectly, patients can develop uneven and unsatisfactory results such as lumps and bumps, scars, or other undesirable outcomes.
Some patients will travel to “third-world” countries to have this procedure to save on the cost of the procedure, but often return home with an unsatisfying result. Other patients may choose a less experienced or less skilled plastic surgeon for the sake of a more affordable procedure, only then to determine they desire a revision to their procedure.
The use of synthetic or non-organic facial fillers may also contribute to the need to revise a previous surgeon’s work. Previously, synthetic fillers were commonly used in facial volume rejuvenation surgery. While these fillers may offer good results in the short term, over time they are often re-absorbed by the body and must be reinjected. Plus, they can be expensive and may give one’s face an unnatural appearance. Some non-organic facial fillers can even be visible through the skin, which is not desirable.
Fat grafting revision surgery can improve a previous botched fat transfer procedure. Revision works to correct any poorly-applied fat transfer or synthetic facial filler, and delivers a more natural, favorable result.
Fat transfer revision surgery can help address issues that appear after healing from a single procedure or a series, such as uneven or unnatural appearance, lumps and bumps, dissolution of implants, and facial asymmetry.
Unskilled application of fat transfer may also result in the face appearing too puffy, swollen, or symmetrically uneven and lop-sided.
Fat transfer or fat grafting for facial volume restoration boasts many benefits. However, it is an advanced procedure that requires the skill and experience on a highly adept plastic surgeon. To achieve the best possible results, your surgeon will examine your current facial structure and explore all surgical and non-surgical options with you.
If you have previously had a facelift or facial fillers and do not wish to undergo another surgical procedure, non-surgical facial rejuvenation may be a good option for you. The procedure will be completely customized as you may also require facial sculpting or fat removal from specific areas to create a balanced, youthful look. If you think you may need more than just a non-surgical procedure, read more about facelift revision surgery.
With stem cell and fat grafting revision surgery, stem cells, also known as “undifferentiated cells,” are then injected into the specific facial areas along with non-concentrated fat taken from your natural fat stores, typically the abdomen, thighs, or hips. The stem cells work to rejuvenate your facial appearance by creating an enhanced blood supply to the treated area, promoting healing.
Fat transfer surgery is sometimes done in a series of several appointments, with at least three months of healing time between each treatment.
For fat grafting revision surgery, it is important to ensure that the initial procedure has completely healed because healing times vary based on the initial procedure and the individual. If you have had a non-surgical stem cell face lift, the healing time is generally less than two weeks.
If you have had pan-facial rejuvenation or similar, the full healing time can be several months before you will want to consider any type of revision procedure.
When choosing a plastic surgeon for your fat transfer revision procedure, it is critical that they are highly qualified, US Board Certified, and possess extensive experience in fat transfer surgery. Although fat transfer was pioneered in Europe, it has been more widely studied and practiced by American surgeons.
Your surgeon should also have an aesthetic and artistic “eye” for what constitutes “beauty.” It is important that any fat used to fill out hollows in your face is harmoniously balanced with your other facial features in a natural way that still looks like you, and not puffy or “over-stuffed” in appearance.