Facial Fat Transfer and
Facial Implants

While most people think that the most significant signs of aging are wrinkling and sagging skin, one of the major underlying causes of these problems is something else: facial volume loss.

This loss of facial volume can lead to accentuation of the bony contours of the temples and around the eyes and can make the cheeks look flatter and less full. Only in the last decade has the impact of decreased facial volume on the appearance of aging become fully recognized.

Facial contour and definition are determined by genetics, which is why some people have prominent chins and cheekbones, while others have a rounder face with softer features. Whether the issue is related to aging or simply facial structure, there are ways to boost facial volume and improve the appearance of the face with facial fat transfer, facial implants, or dermal fillers.

Fat transfer is often known as fat grafting, and it is a natural, minimally invasive surgical procedure to move fat from an area of the body where it is plentiful, and transferring it to the face to restore lost volume. The fat is gently removed using modern liposuction techniques, and is then prepared for injection into the face. This produces a very natural appearance, and there is little risk of infection or rejection of the fat by the body. Common treatment areas include the nasolabial folds (between the nose and the lips), marionette lines (between the lips and chin), flattened cheeks, sagging jaws, and hollows under the eyes.

Facial implants are most often used to improve facial contour and volume in younger patients who would like more prominent cheekbones or chin. Small implants are surgically placed in the areas that need augmentation for permanent improvement of facial contour. This procedure is often combined with other facial surgeries, such as rhinoplasty, to improve overall balance.

Facial fillers are a non-surgical method for filling in wrinkles and hollows and introducing subtle volume to the aging face. These treatments are injectable and non-invasive, but the results are temporary. Some fillers encourage collagen production for longer-lasting results.

Facial Fat Transfer and Implants Consultation

No matter what procedure you are considering for restoring volume to the face, you will need to discuss your goals for treatment in a consultation with one of our Emory cosmetic surgeons in Atlanta, GA. One of our highly trained staff members will assess your facial structure and aging progression and discuss your options for treatment, recommending a course of action to help you reach your goals. These consultations are extremely important for communicating what you want out of surgery, getting to know your surgeon, and asking any questions you may have about your prospective procedure or procedures.

Facial Fat Transfer and Implants Candidates

There are different candidacy requirements for each procedure to restore facial volume, and your individual candidacy will be assessed during your consultation. Basic requirements for cosmetic surgery are that patients should be healthy individuals with realistic expectations who could benefit from the procedure. Facial fat transfer patients must have adequate fat to harvest and should be at a stable weight before undergoing treatment. Fillers are very low risk and the candidacy requirements for these treatments are not very demanding.

Facial Fat Transfer and Implants Procedure

Fat transfer is a fairly gentle procedure, but there are several steps to the process. First, liposuction techniques are used to remove fat from predetermined areas of the body, such as the stomach, hips, or thighs. This is done through tiny incisions that leave almost no scarring.

The fat that has been retrieved is then gently prepared for injection, using minimal manipulation. Fat is carefully injected into the lines, hollows, and depressions of the face to rejuvenate and recontour, using fine cannulas (tubes) placed through tiny incisions. The surgeon may overfill the treated areas somewhat to compensate for the percentage of fat cells that will not survive.

Facial implant surgery is fairly straightforward, and involves a simple incision in a discreet area near where the implant will be placed. The implant is inserted through this incision, and the surgeon will ensure that the implant(s) will not shift before closing the incision and completing the surgery.

Facial Fat Transfer and Implants Recovery

Fat transfer recovery time varies from patient to patient, but most people should arrange to take at least 7-10 days off from work and other social activities. Initial healing takes a few weeks, after which the swelling will gradually subside before the final results are apparent. Though the recovery period is fairly mild for fat transfer, patients should allow adequate time to heal properly. Patients should see final results after about six months, though improvement should start to become apparent just a few days after surgery.

Facial implant recovery is also a fairly mild process that requires at least a week of downtime before returning to work and other everyday activities. Exercise will be limited for several weeks, and though the results should be apparent right away, swelling will interfere with seeing the final results of the procedure at first. Swelling should start to subside gradually, and should be fully resolved by about six months following the procedure.

In many cases fat transfer or implants will be combined with other surgical procedures. In these cases, the recovery time may be longer.

Facial Fat Transfer and Implants FAQs

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