As you grow older, your body undergoes numerous physiological changes. Along with other changes in your skin and underlying bone structure, the gradual loss and change in position of facial fat may lead to a “sunken” or concave appearance of certain areas and contribute to aging. Fat grafting is a very effective procedure by itself or as an adjunct to other procedures, such as a facelift.
What is fat grafting?
Fat grafting is a highly personalized surgical procedure that involves harvesting fat cells from one part of your body and injecting them into another. We can harvest fat from the abdomen, thighs, or other part of the body with adequate fat stores. After harvesting the fat, it is processed, prepared, and then injected into targeted areas of the face, such as the cheeks and temples. While the amount of fat that persists can be a little variable, this technique allows for permanent changes and reduces the need for touch-up volumizing procedures, such as dermal fillers.
Fat grafting can treat the following:
- Flattened midface region
- Gaunt or hollow cheeks
- Deep tear troughs under the eyes
- Areas of volume loss around the eyes
- Hollowed temples
- Nasolabial folds
- Marionette lines
Common donor areas for fat harvesting:
- Lower back/flanks
Benefits of fat grafting:
- Provides volume using fat from your own body
- Restores natural fat to your cheeks and other areas of your face
- Achieves long-lasting results that can last for several years
- Combines well with other facial rejuvenation procedures
- Makes your face look more youthful
Your fat grafting consultation with Dr. Hicks
Dr. Hicks offers personalized consultations to explore your fat grafting options. After listening to your concerns, she carefully examines your face and identifies regions that can benefit from fat grafting. If you are interested in proceeding, she will assess areas from which fat may be harvested and determine the best places to obtain the fat from. After a thorough evaluation, she presents a personalized treatment plan.
How is fat grafting performed?
Fat grafting is typically performed under intravenous sedation while using a special type of local anesthesia. The first step of the procedure involves liposuction. Dr. Hicks makes a small incision at the donor site, such as the tummy, thighs, lower back, or hips. She then inserts a hollow tube, known as a cannula, to harvest fat from the region.
To prepare the fat for injection, it is purified and treated to achieve the optimal size and consistency. After preparation, the fat is carefully injected into targeted facial tissues, such as the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and cheeks. Dr. Hicks uses a multilevel fat grafting technique to fill out the folds and wrinkles on your face, helping to reverse the effects of facial aging. The procedure typically takes between 1 to 1.5 hours.
What can I expect after fat grafting?
After the procedure, you should expect some bruising, swelling, and discomfort. You may initially feel that your face looks very full – we intentionally “over-fill” a little because we know that some of the fat will dissolve after being injected. Most side effects are minimal and resolve on their own within a few days. Most patients take 7-10 days off work following this procedure. Light activity, such as walking, is perfectly acceptable once the anesthesia has worn off. After 10-14 days, you may resume more strenuous activity.
How much of the fat will survive?
As mentioned above, not all of the transferred fat will survive. Depending on the quality of the fat harvested, as well as the surgical technique, you may expect about 60-75% of the fat to survive, and the rest will be reabsorbed by your body. However, Dr. Hicks will account for this gradual resorption when determining how much fat to inject. The final result will become evident over several months, once the excess fat cells have been metabolized.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Hicks
Dr. Kate Hicks is a board-certified and fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeon specializing in the latest and most effective facial surgery techniques. She offers personalized facial fat grafting procedures to restore your facial volume using fat drawn from your body, providing safe, consistent, and reliable results that look natural. Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Hicks to explore your fat grafting options in Greenville, South Carolina.