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Facial Fat Transfer

Facial Fat Transfer

While there are many factors to facial aging, an important factor in aging is the loss of subcutaneous fat in the face. In addition, gravity causes tissues to descend over time. In certain areas of the face, strong connections between the skin and underlying bone create pockets of fat, such as the jowls and nasolabial folds. In order to help turn back the clock, fat can be taken from the abdomen or thighs and placed into the face to give a fuller, more youthful appearance. In some patients, fat augmentation or fat transfer can be a good alternative to more traditional facelift procedures or can be used in conjunction with facelift procedures to produce better results.



An excellent option for lip augmentation is using fat. The fat is injected into the lips to recreate the youthful appearance of the lips. The red/white border is recreated, a soft slope from the nose to the lips and out to the sides of the mouth, and a lower lip slightly larger than the upper lip are the goals of facial fat transfer to the lips. The procedure is permanent though it can take several treatments to obtain optimal results.


A very nice area to use facial fat is in the cheeks. The outside edge of the cheeks as well as the tear trough areas respond very nicely to the placement of fat to improve the aging look in the face. As with any other area of facial fat transfer, fat injected into the cheek is permanent but can take several times to reach a good level.


Dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane can be used to approximate the results that can be obtained with facial fat transfer. If you like the results that you get with these products, once they wear off you can undergo fat transfer in appropriate areas of the face and get similar but permanent results.


Anesthesia for facial fat transfer can be as minimal as simple local anesthesia or the procedure can be performed with general anesthesia. If performed with local anesthesia, patients can drive to and from the procedure and recover is very minimal.

D.J. Verret, MD, FACS

Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon