Fat grafting, also known as fat transfer, is a procedure that uses your body’s own excess fatty deposits to fill depressions in the skin that make you look older or make your skin appear unhealthy.
Patients often turn to fat grafting as a more long-lasting alternative to popular injectable fillers. While these injectable fillers work very well, the idea of using excess material (fat) from your own body is appealing to some patients. Those who desire fat grafting often do so to correct lines and wrinkles, deep groves, hollowing of the cheek or temples, or alongside blepharoplasty surgery.
To undergo fat grafting, you must have an adequate surplus of fatty tissue at the donor site—often the hips, thighs, midsection. You should also have realistic expectations for the result of the procedure. Though the correction does not always last a lifetime, it can have long-term benefits for the appearance of your skin.
Fat is harvested by hand as performed by Dr. Liu. This fat is then processed to distill it and maintain its viability so that it can be placed back into your face. The processed fat is then injected by Dr. Liu into the face to restore facial volume. Dr. Liu’s technique for facial fat does not require any incisions.
The surgery is performed at an off-site surgery center where IV (intravenous) sedation is given, but only in very rare cases would general anesthesia be used.
It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of a procedure can vary depending on what a patient needs and what the surgery will entail. More importantly, many patients come to Dr. Liu believing that they need a certain procedure, only to find out during the consultation that a different procedure will provide a better outcome. Dr. Liu believes that patients should be able to speak with their physician before experiencing any out of pocket expense, which is why consultations with Dr. Liu are complimentary.
Fat grafting typically takes about 1 – 2 hours from start to finish.
Side effects are usually minimal. Some bruising and swelling may appear at the areas of fat harvesting and placement but should be gone within a week or two.
As with all medical procedures, there are some possible complications. While rare, you should call your doctor if you experience:
Surgery should be scheduled for a time when you can relax for at least 1-2 weeks. It is important to avoid any strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or bending down during this time to avoid complications and to promote the best healing.
It is also important to avoid taking any blood thinning medications for at least two weeks prior to surgery. If you are on a blood thinning medication due to a specific medical condition, you will need to discuss this with oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Liu and your primary care physician prior to stopping any medication. Dr. Liu’s staff will review a list of common medications, supplements and vitamins that can cause your blood to be thinner.
Please note that Dr. Liu expects to see patients back in the office a few days after a procedure to ensure that the healing process is going as expected and that you are on track for a good result. Do not plan any travel immediately after your procedure.