Fat transfer is a method of using your own body fat to fill in unwanted facial creases or improve hollowing around the eyes, cheeks, or temples caused by aging. Fat injections can improve acne scars, and augment certain features such as lips and cheeks. It may also be used to improve the look of the aging hand. Fat transfer is our favorite way to perform the “liquid facelift” because fat is the most pliable filler and is the same consistency as your own facial tissue. The procedure can be performed along with liposuction, or by itself.
Fat transfer is performed by removing fat from one area of your body such as your abdomen or thighs and
then injecting it into the desired site. The “donor” area (abdomen or thigh) is cleaned and then anesthetized with tumescent anesthesia, just like in liposuction. Tumescent anesthesia uses a solution of lidocaine and saline. After the anesthesia, the fat is removed using narrow metal tubes called cannulas. The cannula is attached to a sterile syringe where the fat is collected. The fat is then centrifuged and purified so that it can be injected into the treatment site. In most cases, we will collect enough fat to store for future treatments. The fat can be stored for up to 2 years.
After the fat “harvest,” the treatment area is numbed using a local anesthetic, and then the fat is injected via very small blunt-ended cannulas. It is then massaged into place. Before the procedure, you will be given pain medication and a light sedative to make you more comfortable.
The rejuvenation effects of transferred fat can last years, and in many patients, the effects are permanent. However, in some cases, the transferred fat may be reabsorbed resulting in loss of effect. Some patients require booster injections of fresh or stored fat to maintain results.
Because the fat is from your own body, unlike collagen or other “fillers,” your body will not react against the fat. Results from patients, physicians, and other researchers place the durability of fat injections anywhere from half a year up to eight years.