What is a facial fat transfer?
The facial fat transfer procedure is a technique used to create or enhance contours or to fill in scars, hollows, or sunken areas of the face, using fat extracted from another area of the body.
What areas of the body does facial fat transfer treat?
Most facial fat transfer procedures are used to fill in sunken cheek areas, to enhance the cheekbones, or to fill scars or depressions virtually anywhere on the face. In addition, facial fat transfers are often used to plump up lips to achieve a more youthful, sensual appearance.
What are the advantages of facial fat transfer over other similar treatments?
The facial fat transfer procedure uses a person’s own body fat, reducing the risk of allergy or infection that can be associated with other types of implants, including fat harvested from other biological sources. Implant and contouring procedures that rely on fat also tend to appear more realistic and natural than those with more solid implants.
Who is a candidate for facial fat transfer?
Nearly nay man or woman with facial hollows, scars, or depressions, or individuals seeking to highlight or accentuate cheekbones, lips, or other areas, can be considered a good candidate for the facial fat transfer procedure. Be sure to discuss any medical conditions or current medications with your clinician, as well as whether or not you are a smoker or have high blood pressure, to help determine whether this procedure is a good choice for you.
How is the facial fat transfer performed?
The facial fat transfer procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure, usually in a clinician’s office. During your consultation, the clinician will determine how much fat needs to be transferred, as well as establishing the sites to extract and inject the fat. During the procedure itself, local anesthesia will be used to numb both the injection sites, and a special needle or thin tube, or cannula, will be inserted beneath the skin to draw out fat cells. Once extracted, the fat cells are spun in a special machine designed to separate them safely and effectively from fluid and other materials that may be removed during extraction. These separated fat cells are then injected into one or more sites on the face. Most procedures take about an hour to perform, depending upon the number and size of the injection sites.
What is the recovery like?
The recovery process associated with the facial fat transfer process is minimal, with most individuals returning to their regular routines the day following their procedures, and sometimes sooner. Most individuals experience light bruising or swelling at the injection sites which can be managed with ice if necessary. Aspirin or other drugstore painkillers can be used to help eliminate any discomfort.
What will the results be like?
Once the swelling subsides, the results of your facial fat transfer will be readily apparent, and in most cases, can last for several years. Your clinician can help determine the potential longevity of your results, based on the areas being treated.
What are the risks?
Like other medical treatments, facial fat transfer carries a slight risk of infection, in addition to more extensive bruising or swelling. If you have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or other conditions, you may have additional risks, which your clinician will explain during the consultation visit.
Is facial fat transfer approved for use in the U.S.?
The facial fat transfer procedure is approved for use on patients in the United States.
Is facial fat transfer covered by insurance companies?
Facial fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure, and so is not covered by major insurance carriers in most cases. If you are seeking treatment to fill in scars or other anomalies that have occurred as the result of trauma, your insurance company may offer partial coverage. To determine your potential eligibility for coverage, it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance provider prior to undergoing treatment.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By Dermanetwork.org Staff
Updated: February 26, 2010