Fat grafting is also known as autologous fat transplantation or micro-lipoinjection. During facial fat grafting, fat cells are extracted from your abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or elsewhere and re-injected beneath the facial skin. Fat can fill in sunken cheeks or lines between the nose and mouth, correct skin depressions, minimize forehead wrinkles, or enhance the lips.
Allergic reaction is not a factor for fat because the filler is harvested from your own body. However, there is still a small risk of infection and other infrequent complications.
Both the donor and recipient sites are numbed with local anesthesia. Sedation can be used as well. If you elect to use sedation, be sure to arrange for a ride home after your treatment.
After cleansing and treatment with local anesthesia, fat is withdrawn using a syringe with a large-bore needle or a liposuction cannula. The fat is then prepared and injected into the recipient site with a needle.
Sometimes an adhesive bandage is applied over the injection site. Slight overfilling may be necessary to allow for fat absorption that occurs. When fat is used to augment the cheeks, this over-correction may cause the face to appear abnormally full.
While some treatments require a brief recovery period, many patients resume normal activity right away. Expect some swelling, bruising, or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends upon the size and location of the treated area.
Stay out of the sun until redness and bruising subsides–usually about 48 hours. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sunblock protection to help conceal your condition. In some cases, swelling and puffiness in the recipient site lasts several weeks, especially if a large area was filled.
While some patients report results lasting one year or more, the majority of patients find that at least half of the injected fullness disappears within 3-6 months. Therefore, repeated injections may be necessary. Your doctor will advise you on how to maintain your results with repeat treatments.