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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Advantages of Fat Transfer for the Face

As we age our face begins to lose volume which creates a more hollow and tired appearance, but today this problem can be successfully addressed through the use of fat transfers. Also known as fat grafting, this process involves removing fat cells from another part of the body and injecting it into various strategic locations in the face to replenish fullness and reduce wrinkles.

As explained by Dr. Robert Applebaum, the fat transfer procedure has become increasingly popular, especially among more mature patients. Its ability to produce desirable results without incisions, as well as having a very low risk of scarring, has made fat transfers the choice for many who are looking to create a more youthful and natural appearance. In addition, recovery time is minimal, with most patients fully recouping within a week.

Where Its Used

Fat transfers applied to the area surrounding the eyes as well as in and around the lips are the most common, as it will reduce fine lines, smooth irregularities caused by puffiness, or add fullness depending on need. This technique can also be used on the cheeks and jawline, and is often preferred over synthetic filler injections.

Other Advantages

The donor spots for fat grafting are numerous, providing your doctor various options to find the best location for extraction. This also allows the patient some choice as to where they feel most comfortable in acquiring it. Extraction is done through a syringe, and as confirmed by the National Library of Medicine, is generally taken from more discreet areas of the body. The procedure also has minimal discomfort and is not nearly as invasive as more involved techniques.

How Long Does It Last?

Fat transfers, unlike other types of filler injections, are permanent, but once injected are subject to the normal aging process. In addition, as reported by the Cleveland Clinic, there are some fat cells that will not survive the procedure. However, there are ways of preparing extracted fat to reduce the amount of inactive cells. It takes roughly six months for the injected fat cells to acquire their own blood supply in order for your doctor to fully assess the final results.

The Process

The fat transfer procedure is a short one, and is done in three stages. The first step is to extract the fat through a liposuction procedure. Again, this is generally done through a syringe and will be taken from a part of the body that you have discussed and previously approved in conjunction with your doctor’s advice.

The second step is to clean the fat. This is done through a centrifuge process or by other sterile techniques on the back table in the operating room. The spinning of the centrifuge separates the fat from other fluids and was found by Dr. Alexandra Condé Green in her extensive research, to yield a highly concentrated batch of stem cells that will make for a more effective filler.

The last step predictably is the injection of the prepared fat cells into the treatment area. It is in this final step that having a highly skilled plastic surgeon is key, as they will know exactly where and how to apply the extracted fat cells.


Making sure to regularly check-in with your doctor is important. Through their follow-up examination, they will be able to assess whether healing is on schedule and that the desired results provide you the refreshed and natural look you desire.

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