About Facial Fat Transfer
Fat Transfer procedures move fat to areas of the face and body where you might need more volume
A natural alternative to provide needed volume to the face and body
The goal of the fat transfer procedure is to add your own fat to areas of the face and body that might need more volume. It is a more permanent and natural substitute for artificial fillers. Fat is obtained by liposuction from the abdomen or flanks, processed, and then moved to where it is wanted more
One of the inevitable facts about aging is that you gain fat in areas that you don’t want it while losing it from areas that you do want it. Your face for example not only generally lose fat and tissue volume, but it more specifically lost it in the under-eye hollows, the temples, the lips, and the cheekbones.
The face will lose some of its volume as you age. This includes the under-eye hollows, the temples, the cheeks, and the lips. Recently, there has been an explosion in the development and use of injectable facial fillers like Juvederm and Restylane. These are excellent products that are easy to use. They are, however, manufactured products that can become expensive depending on how much volume you need. Fat transfer is an excellent alternative to these products because it is naturally from you, there is unlimited limited supply without needing to purchase it, and because we are transferring living cells, fat transfer lasts longer.
Other areas that lose fat volume includes the breasts after having children and in the aging hands
Fat transfer is an ingenious concept that allows us to remove the fat from areas where we don’t want it like the lower abdomen, flanks, or thighs. This fat is processed to remove the blood and placed into injection syringes. The fat is then used as an injectable filler to replace the volume in the face, breasts, hands, and even buttocks. PRP growth factors can also be transferred with the fact for better fat survival.
You are a good candidate for a fat transfer if:
- You need fat volume replacement in the temples, under-eye hollows, or cheekbones
- You want fuller lips
- You want more volume in the breast ( breast augmentation with fat )
- You want more volume in the buttocks ( brazilian butt lift )
- You want to rejuvenate the hands but adding volume to the wrinkled hand
What are some other indications for a fat transfer?
The hand appears aged because of loss of volume and the visible appearance of sun damage. The back of the hand begins to look skeletonized, the skin appears crepey with brown spots from age and sun damage. Hand rejuvenation involves both volume and skin rejuvenation. The volume replacement can be addressed any number of injectable fillers including voluma, sculptra, or radiesse. Fat transfer, however, can provide a more permanent and cost effective solution particularly if other areas are also being addressed. The skin rejuvenation is addressed by a combination of the profractional laser which provides needed collagen and the forever young BBL which addresses the brown pigmentation.
Breast Augmentation -
Breast augmentation is traditionally performed using manufactured breast implants. The new generation of cohesive gel implants are excellent; they are soft, safe, and feel very natural. They are, however, not as soft, safe, and natural as your own body fat. Fat transfer is an excellent way for women who want to enhance the volume and projection of their breast. The fat is removed by liposuction from the abdomen, waist, or thighs and transferred to the breast. The woman gets the benefits of liposculpture which can enhance their figures around the waist while enhancing their figures around the chest. The limitation is the amount of volume that can be provided; the average woman in my practice will request a breast implant of around 350-450cc. The average amount that can be added to each breast is only about 250-300cc.
Butt Lift or Enhancement ( Brazilian Butt Lift ) -
Butt enhancement procedures are on the rise. The butt and thighs appear to sag as we lost volume in the backside with age. This is particularly distressing in the Latino and Black cultures which have a greater appreciation for the beauty of back-side curves. Fat transfer is an excellent way for women who want to enhance the volume and projection of the buttocks. The fat not only provides sculptured volume, but the volume appears to lift any sagging sin. The fat is removed by liposuction from the abdomen, waist, or thighs and transferred to the butt. The woman gets the benefits of liposculpture which can enhance their figures around the waist while providing enhanced curves of the butt.
Breast Reconstruction after Breast Cancer -
Breast cancer is terrible on every level. Treatment for breast cancer will often require surgical removal of the cancer followed by breast reconstruction with breast implants or flap transfer. The initial cosmetic appearance of the reconstruction is not always perfect. Fat transfer is an excellent way to provide targeted improvements in the breast reconstruction. For example, small depressions can be filled, contour irregularities can be filled, and visible implant edges can be camouflaged.
Cell Replacement -
The fat (adipose) cells obtained during a fat transfer procedure contain stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells that are capable of giving rise to indefinitely more cells of the same type, and from which certain other kinds of cells arise by differentiation. These harvested cells contain growth factors, which play a role in cell division, the growth of new cells, and the production of collagen and elastin. These cells also can replicate to produce more youthful juvenile cells free of environmental injuries. Restoration cells that are transferred with fat have been shown to stimulate the growth of new fat cells; and when applied to skin may rejuvenate the radiance of the skin. This ability to enhance new cell growth has been integral in reconstructive plastic surgery for the treatment of large difficult wounds and wounds affected by radiation and chemotherapy. In cosmetic surgery, PRP ( plasma rich protein ) and fat transfer can enhance skin rejuvenation, fat volume enhancement, and hair restoration.
Nowadays, there are plenty of procedures that refresh the youthful fullness and contours of your face; however, autologous fat transfer to the face is rising in popularity since it provides natural-looking improvements and long-lasting benefits for the skin.
Lost volume, frequently caused by aging, is usually most noticeable in the areas around the jawline, cheeks, and eyes. Autologous fat transfer to the face may be used to reduce some of the more typical signs of aging, and it increases volume by smoothing fine lines, wrinkles, and folds on your face using your transferred fatty tissue. By liposuctioning extra fat from areas of your body, board-certified plastic surgeon
Dr. Phillip Chang can carefully place the purified fat to the desired sections of your face for beautiful, long-lasting results. With autologous fat transfer to the face, you don't just see a refreshed facial appearance, you smooth the curves of your body. To get more information about autologous fat transfer to the face, contact Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center in Leesburg, VA to arrange an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Chang.
"It's been over a year and a half since I've been going to Dr. Chang's office, I drive an hour just to get here (although I know some drive three hours or more to see him!). I did a lot of research to find a board certified plastic surgeon in the area with a solid and reputable background.Throughout my visits, he's been incredibly kind and taken the time to listen to my never ending list of questions. There are a lot of doctors that push services that you don't need just for money but he'll be transparent to tell you exactly what he feels you'll need in order to gain improvement and will work with you to see what could be the best outcome. You can also text or email him directly after any invasive procedures if you have any questions/concerns instead of waiting for a follow up. I also don't want to forget the rest of the staff - everyone from the receptionists and nurses have been very gracious, patient and accommodating to my needs but I also want to mention Melanie whose an RN at Dr. Chang's office. She has superb bed side skills and truly makes you feel at ease when you're speaking with her. I've probably annoyed her with a million questions and emails but she's still been stellar. I highly recommend her for any non-surgical procedures. They have a few videos on their website and youtube as well so you have an idea of who they are and the procedures they perform if you want to get a better idea yourself but I definitely recommend them, they're awesome."- M. / Google / Jul 24, 2018
"Aesthetica is indeed one of the best cosmetic surgery and laser centers in Loudoun. Dr. Chang is a born artist. Highly recommended!"- S.G. / Facebook / Aug 07, 2019
"I highly recommend Dr. Chang and the staff at Aesthetica. The positive, caring staff, including nurse Katy, were outstanding every step of the way, as are the results Dr. Chang delivered. I am 100 percent satisfied with my procedure and will return. Choosing Aesthetica was a wonderful decision. Don’t waste your time going anywhere else!"- L. / Google / Aug 02, 2019
"This past Tuesday I had a Botox treatment with Melanie. I can’t say enough about how knowledgeable and caring she was throughout the procedure. The way she communicated put me at ease and gave me comfort. She has a natural ability to make patients feel safe and confident. This experience surpassed my expectations and I fully plan on recommending her to all of my friends. Aesthetica is a top notch Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center run by Dr. Chang who is always friendly, caring and knows how to help a woman achieve her cosmetic goals."- T.R. / Facebook / Jul 18, 2019
"My name is Carmen, and I live in Lucketts, Virginia. Back in May of 2016 I had an accident with our dog, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier. The dog leaped up and bit me on the center of my upper lip, causing the skin to rip open. I was very upset and scared, and I was also concerned that my face would be permanently disfigured for the rest of my life.My husband John took me that Sunday afternoon to the Emergency room of Loudoun Hospital. After waiting one hour, the nurse cleaned my lip and gave me a tetanus injection. Then they told me there was no surgeon that evening, so a nurse practitioner would do the stitches on my lip. I was very worried, so I asked for a plastic surgeon, and they said that was impossible, because the only one available was out of the office that day. However, they said they would try to reach him. They did call him, and Dr. PHILLIP CHANG came to treat me after an hour. I am grateful for life to him, not only because he really is a magician the way that he stitched me, also the fact that he offered to come to the hospital on Sunday on his weekend evening without even knowing me.He treated me with kindness and great professionalism and care. He calmed my nerves and was all about optimism from the start. He assured me that, by using a proper method, nearly all of my injury would not be visible because of his experience in treating similar cases. He sewed the wound carefully, and then treated me so well that there is almost no evidence of the injury.I highly recommend DR. PHILLIP CHANG for such an injury. There are not enough words I can find to express my gratitude to him. That’s the reason I am writing my story. HE IS THE BEST.-Carmen Lucketts, VirginiaSent from my iPad"- C.D. / Google / Jun 19, 2019
You are potentially a good patient for facial fat grafting if you desire a more refreshed and brighter facial profile by increasing fullness to particular areas on your face. This often consists of those that are noticing the results of aging or individuals who have experienced serious weight loss. It is additionally a promising alternative if you have an aversion, allergy, or intolerance to common dermal fillers. This cosmetic treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that usually does not leave facial scars; individuals have very light scarring from the fat extraction while also receiving an exciting and natural final product. Optimal results occur in individuals who have retained a considerable amount of elasticity in your skin, but wish to attain smoothness and repair volume.
Facial fat transfer is a two-step process that is initiated by the liposuction of certain body parts. In most situations, fat is suctioned from the flanks, hips, or abdomen and only minor amounts of fat are typically needed. The relocated fat is refined to a more organic form so that Dr. Chang can inject them into locations on the face where volume is requested. This is usually an individual's mid-face or cheek area, but can include the lips. Dr. Chang employs different injections angles and techniques to provide ideal immersion rates into your skin as well as to create symmetry.
What to Expect
Pain after fat transfer:
- Fat transfers are not particularly painful
- Most patients will have to take a narcotic pain medication for only 1-2 days
- Most patients will can change to extra strength tylenol after 1-2 days
Return to work after an fat transfer surgery:
- Return to work in about 7-10 days ( but will still be sore )
- Some patients will need a compression garment for 4 weeks depending on how much fat is taken
- Return to light walking and 10 pound weights in 5 days
- Return to aerobic exercise and 20 pound weights in 21 days
- Drive in 3-5 days or have stopped narcotic medications for 48 hours
When will you see the final results of a fat transfer:
- Swelling is initially dramatic and may be distressing for at least a week particularly in the lips
- Most patients will look acceptable in 1-2 weeks
- Some swelling will persist for 2-3 months
- Final shape is not apparent for 2-3 month
What are the risks and complications of fat transfer surgery?
As with any surgery, there are associated risks. Only you can decide whether a fat transfer can achieve your goals and whether the recovery and risk profile are acceptable to you.
The most significant risk is that the transferred fat does not survive the process. The average fat survival is about 70%. Although it is rare, we have had patients that have not had any survival. To increase the percentage of survival, PRP therapy can be added to the fat transfer
Although infrequent, the risks and complications of breast augmentation can include
- Blood collections or prolonged bruising
- Loss of the fat transferred
- Changes in sensation
- Asymmetry (unevenness between two sides)
- Contour irregularities from the liposuction areas
- Cosmetic improvement is subjective. Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures. Patients are responsible for any associated facility fees.
Depending upon the location where the fat is to be removed, you can expect to be offered local and/or general anesthesia. It's typically a simple outpatient surgery that can be completed in one visit or can be performed simultaneously with other cosmetic surgeries, including brow lift, neck lift, facelift, or eyelid surgery. If you are simply undergoing facial fat grafting, then the healing period should be one week or less with beautiful results noticed in two days. This quick recovery makes the surgery an outstanding selection for a quick, beautiful outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does this cost?
The cost for a fat transfer is based on how much fat is being extracted and the size of the area that needs volume. Facial fat grafting can run about the same price as some injectable fillers, the difference is that it is a two-step process due to the fact that fat is first removed using liposuction. After a thorough assessment, we will determine how many injections are needed to create the desired volume and will prepare a treatment plan with costs for you to consider.
Filler or fat transfer?
The injectable filler market has made huge strides in offering patients wonderful options for adding facial volume and softness. While many patients prefer fillers for ease and convenience, others desire a natural approach by using their own fat. Both methods create effective, gorgeous results. In addition, both methods only last so long. Whether you use a dermal filler or fat, the result will generally last up to only a couple of years before a touch-up or additional injection is needed. Patients who are very thin and have limited body fat may not be candidates for a fat transfer, thus a filler may be their best option.
Can it be combined with another procedure?
Yes. Facial fat grafting, similar to injectable fillers, can commonly be combined with other treatments such as BOTOX or a laser peel. In addition, patients who undergo facial cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift, neck lift, or chin augmentation, often need additional volume to create the soft result they are seeking. Therefore, this procedure has become a popular treatment to complement a surgical result or to enhance the outcome of other nonsurgical skin rejuvenation procedures.
How long does it take?
The procedure time for a facial fat transfer will vary depending on how much fat is being removed, as well as the volume needed to attain the desired result. While most dermal filler injections take 30 minutes or less, a facial fat transfer is a more tedious approach due to the treatment process, which is completed in two steps. For most patients, facial fat grafting alone usually takes just about an hour.
Most common areas for use?
Facial fat grafting can be used in a number of locations to fill in volume, add softness, and create a younger-looking effect on the face. It is ideally designed to augment or enhance the mid-face or cheek bones so that this area appears fuller and lifted without having to undergo surgery. In addition, it can also be used as a natural lip filler. We use the most innovative techniques in fat grafting so the results are natural looking and long lasting.
How long does a fat transfer last?
Fat that is transferred is living cells and attached to new blood supply. This explains why fat can last for years. Fat is the longest lasting injectable filler. But just like natural body fat in the face, the fat cells will shrink with age and also be affected by gravity. Many patients will elect to have a second fat transfer procedure in 3 to 5 years.
What is the benefit of fat compared to commercial injectable fillers like Juvederm, Voluma, or Sculptra?
The most significant benefit of using fat transfer as your injectable filler is that it is your own natural product. It is part of you and when it is transferred to its new location it develops a blood supply which allows it to live and last for years. The second most significant benefit is you have unlimited supply since you are the donor. Fat is charged by the procedure and not by the syringe. An unlimited fat donor supply implies that your procedure is significantly more cost effective.
Will I need more procedures?
Unlike injectable fillers like Juvederm or Voluma, not all the fat that is transferred survives. On average, about 70-80 percent of the fat that is transferred will survive. Much of the original volume that is transferred is not actually fat cells, but rather liquid from the numbing fluid and some blood. Fat, however, remains the best injectable alternative to provide large volumes in the most cost-effective means possible.
What are alternatives to fat transfer?
The alternatives to fat transfer are the dozens of synthetic injectable fillers on the market. These injectable fillers can last between 1 and 3 years. They are excellent alternatives under many circumstances. These include very thin patients who do not have enough fat to offer as a fat transfer. Injectable fillers are also incredibly convenient as you can take it off the shelf for immediate results with very little to no down time.
How is fat transferred used instead of injectable fillers?
The face will lose some of its volume as you age. This includes the under-eye hollows, the temples, the cheeks, and the lips. Recently, there has been an explosion in the development and use of injectable facial fillers like Juvederm and Restylane. These are excellent products that are easy to use. They are, however, manufactured products that can become expensive depending on how much volume you need. Fat transfer is an excellent alternative to these products because it is naturally from you, there is unlimited limited supply without needing to purchase it, and because we are
Fat transfer is a wonderful way to add volume, even out dynamic lines, and enhance your gorgeous face. When you long for a more youthful, bright look with a short recovery, we urge you to find out more about fat transfer treatment at Aesthetica Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center. Our staff can sit down with you to help you discover how this can meet your aesthetic goals. It's an excellent choice for patients who want a natural alteration and long-lasting results. Contact our Leesburg, VA practice at your earliest convenience to set up your appointment with Dr. Chang for this cutting-edge procedure.