Fat transfer, also called fat injections, takes your body’s excess fat and transfers it to areas in your face to restore volume and a youthful appearance. Fat transfers improve facial wrinkles and creases, plump up thin limps, add volume to shallow facial contours and fill skin depressions such as pitting and scarring. A fat transfer procedure also helps restore stem cells and collagen to your facial tissue, delivering a rejuvenating glow.
The fat transfer procedure is commonly used to fill the area under the eyes and in the tear troughs to plump up and rejuvenate the face. It is also used in the temple area, cheeks, chin, jawline, and lips and may be used to smooth lines in the forehead and between the eyebrows. Using a patient’s own fat cells is an option most patients prefer rather than introducing a foreign substance into their bodies.
A fat transfer procedure addresses the gradual breakdown of the skin’s collagen and elastin which causes a droopy look. For some patients a diminished facial volume may create a gaunt appearance. Age is the most common culprit but genetics and weight fluctuations may exacerbate droopy, sagging facial features as well as lifestyle choices which include smoking or sunbathing.
Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery has locations in Dearborn and Birmingham, Michigan. The Masri Clinic has been serving patients for over 25 years. Masri Clinic physicians Dr. Haitham Masri, Dr. Raj Gupta and Dr. Fatina Masri are known for their meticulous attention to detail supported by experience, refined skills and advanced technology.
Preparation for Facial Fat Injections
In preparation for your facial fat injection, smoking cessation is recommended several weeks prior to your injections in order to maximize healing and to avoid scarring. Avoid aspirin and other drugs that might cause excess bleeding.
Facial Fat Injection Procedure
Fat transfers are usually performed with local anesthetic and with a sedative that keeps you relaxed. Patients with a strong preference for general anesthesia may be provided that option. Fat is removed from your donor site and is prepared in a manner that keeps as many fat cells alive as possible during the transfer. The fat is then carefully injected into your recipient sites with aesthetic balance and symmetry guiding their location. The procedure is often completed within an hour but can take longer based upon the amount of fat transferred.
Under either a general anesthetic or with sedation, fat is removed from the selected area, often the stomach. A mechanical separation process is applied prior to injecting the fat into the desired region. Viability and longevity of the transferred fat is enhanced by using a gentle fat harvesting technique together with a micro droplet injection technique. With this technique, fat is injected evenly and deeply into the tissue layers so that an adequate blood supply supports the injection.
Many patients opt for stem cells to enrich the fat transfer which involves mixing the fat with a heavy concentration of your body’s own stem cells, extracted from your fat cells. Fat cells have a higher concentration of stem cells and regenerative cells than any other source in your body including bone marrow and fetal tissue. In cosmetic applications, stem cells have been shown to enhance blood flow to the fat and also promote collagen growth.
Fat transfer procedures take approximately one to two hours, depending upon the number of treatment areas. Whether performed under sedation or general anesthesia, we work to ensure that you are comfortable during your procedure.
Post-Procedure Recovery Expectations for Facial Fat Transfer
Immediately after the procedure, you will notice swelling around the treatment areas. Expect some of the fat injected to be absorbed by your body. Slightly more fat than necessary may be injected to achieve the final result or subsequent fat injections may be needed in the future. Typically, 30 percent to 50 percent of the fat that is initially injected will reabsorb over time; however, because of the additive nature of fat transfer, subsequent fat injections tend to reabsorb at a lower rate yielding longer lasting results.
Cryo-preserving additional fat for future injections or “fat banking” is recommended to avoid repeated liposuction should subsequent fat injections be needed. Our patients find fat banking to be an affordable and convenient option when compared to the fees associated with an additional liposuction procedure for subsequent fat injections.
Most of our fat transfer patients find that they can return to work within a few days. You may wish to use ice and over-the-counter medications to control the swelling. We advise our patients to avoid strenuous physical activity for about three weeks after your procedure. While the injection sites will have healed, you should take care not to injure the fat removal area. After three weeks, you should enjoy your final results.
Dr. Masri Facial Fat Injection Consultation
Dr. Masri will examine your facial features and suggest fat transfer locations that align with your aesthetic goals. Donor sites for your fat transfer such as your abdomen, thighs, buttocks or other areas will be discussed. Pre-surgery photographs are used as a tool to define injection locations and provide a before and after procedure comparison. Dr. Masri will guide you aesthetically toward fulfilling your facial goals which may include fuller cheeks, plumped-up lips and rejuvenated skin around the forehead and eyes.
Facial Fat Injection FAQs
Who are good candidates for facial fat transfer procedures?
Facial fat transfer patients most often are addressing the impact of aging or illness. Facial fat transfer procedures are used to plump sunken cheeks, nasolabial folds, thin lips, brow wrinkles, chin deficiencies, and other common facial complaints.
You may be any age to receive a fat transfer. There must be excess fat on your body in order to be a suitable candidate. The best candidates have proper expectations and adhere to aftercare instructions.
What are the benefits of using stem cells for facial fat transfers?
By using the regenerative properties of stem cells along with transplanted fat, a significant improvement of survival of tissue occurs. Stem cell use mixes abdominal fat and stem cells with a specific combination of growth factors that help both the stem cells and transferred adipose tissues grow into the needed tissue. This is used to restore both the fat for the purpose of volume enhancement of the face as well as skin elements to improve both the quality and texture of the skin.
Stem cells are unique and can develop and form new, young cells. Stem cells restore both the youthful contour and shape of the face as well as a significantly improve skin quality, tightness and color irregularities.
What are the potential risks associated with facial fat injections?
While fat transfer is a safe procedure, there is some risk. The most common and unavoidable risk is fat re-absorption. With fat extraction and preparation, a small percentage of the fat will not adapt to its new location and will not be as long-lasting. It will fade away, and the skin in that location can return to its original contours.
Another risk is insufficient transfer of fat, which may contribute to sagging, though the remaining skin will likely show improvement attributable to the tightening effect of stem cells and collagen. If the new contour is not acceptable, another injection may be necessary to correct the re-absorption.
Over-correction may occur if too much fat is transferred. In a small over-correction case, a fat-dissolving solution may be the first option. If that is not effective, excess fat will require surgical removal via excision or liposuction.
Facial asymmetry is a risk which is easiest to correct by injecting a bit more fat on the smaller side of your face.
About Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery
Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, located near Detroit with two locations, Dearborn and Birmingham, is the only specialty cosmetic surgery clinic in Michigan featuring Board Certified physicians in Facial Plastic Surgery, General Plastic Surgery, and Esthetic Medicine. Utilizing the latest cutting-edge technology along with superior personalized care, Masri Clinic offers effective treatment solutions at competitive prices.
Haitham Masri, MD is board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, otolaryngology and in sleep medicine.
Raj Gupta, MD is a board certified plastic surgeon.
Fatina Masri, MD is a board certified nuclear physician and specialist in aesthetic medicine, allergy medicine and weight loss.
The staff includes an allergy nurse, certified audiologist, medical assistant, and three board certified physicians. We take time to answer your questions fully and make liberal use of educational material such as brochures, slideshows, diagrams and videos.