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Facial Fat Transfer

Facial Fat Transfer in Austin – Dr. Malena Amato

While changes in skin elasticity are often blamed for the cosmetic effects of facial aging, the loss of facial fat also plays a significant role in the formation of wrinkles, loose skin, and facial hollows. Dermal fillers can temporarily restore lost facial volume, but they aren’t the right choice for everyone. Some people prefer the long-lasting results, as well as the look and feel of natural adipose tissue, offered by fat grafting. At Eyelid & Facial Plastic Surgery Associates, Dr. Malena Amato offers facial fat transfer in Austin, also known as facial fat grafting, to restore full, youthful facial contours.

Understanding the Role of Fat Loss in Facial Aging

Facial fat loss, like collagen loss, begins early in the aging process. By age 35, most people have already lost about ten percent of the fat in their face, even if they haven’t lost any weight. Another ten percent is typically lost every decade after that, and by age 60, many people have lost half of their facial fat. This occurs because the body stores fat in different ways as we age; instead of proportioning fat evenly across our core and extremities, fat cells begin to centralize around the abdomen.

Though having a slimmer face may sound appealing to some, the results of facial fat loss aren’t always flattering. As we lose facial fat, hollows start to form around the eyes and under the cheeks, giving the face a gaunt look. Remaining fat deposits often clump together and sag, creating undesirable features like heavy jowls. Finally, having less facial fat contributes dramatically to the formation of loose skin; as adipose tissue vanishes, the surface that it used to support sags. This sagging from loss of volume is accentuated by a loss of skin elasticity and gravity, unavoidable side-effects of the aging process.

Meet Malena Amato MD FACS

Learn more about the Georgetown and Stanford alumna and why you should visit Dr. Amato for your next procedure.

How a Facial Fat Transfer Can Help

To perform a facial fat transfer, Dr. Amato first uses liposuction to remove fat from a donor site on the body. Usually, patients choose to have fat removed from their belly, back, or thighs, as this approach has the added benefit of shaping and slimming common problem areas.

After the fat has been harvested, it’s processed in a device called a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the fat at high speeds, separating adipose tissue from other components that aren’t suitable for injection, like blood vessels and cellular debris. Finally, this purified fat is carefully injected into areas where facial fat loss is apparent. Because correctly processed fat cells are still healthy and viable, they’ll naturally integrate with the patient’s existing fatty tissue.

Facial fat transfer can be performed as a standalone procedure, or it can be combined with other non-surgical or surgical treatments for even greater overall rejuvenation. Combining facial fat transfer with dermal filler injections in the lips and Botox® injections around the eyes and brows, for example, can sculpt a fuller face while reducing crow’s feet, frown lines, and other creases. Facial fat transfer can be performed during facial surgery including eyelid or brow lift, mid face lift, or facial laser resurfacing. Facial fat transfer surgery is usually performed under light sedation lasting about an hour. During your consultation, Dr. Amato will educate you about your options and develop a treatment plan that fits your needs and preferences.

What to Expect during Recovery

Unlike Botox and dermal filler injections, fat injections typically require some post-procedure downtime. Though any discomfort you experience after fat grafting can be comfortably managed with pain relievers provided by Dr. Amato, pain usually resolves within the first 24 hours. You will see visible swelling and bruising for about one to two weeks after your fat transfer. In some cases, remnants of this swelling can last longer. Dr. Amato generally recommends her patients take at least a week off work after having this procedure, with two weeks being considered ideal.

Immediately after surgery, you may notice that your face looks fuller than you wanted, or asymmetrical. This is a normal—and temporary—part of having a facial fat transfer. Some of this facial fullness is caused by swelling, but it’s also common practice to inject fat generously. This approach is necessary because not all the injected fat cells will integrate with surrounding tissues; about 25% of them will be excreted by the body. Injecting a bit of extra fat compensates for this partial loss of fat cells. You can expect your face to settle into its final shape throughout two to three months, though your results may continue to improve for up to one year. The results of facial fat transfer are generally permanent, though continued aging can sometimes create the need for revision after a decade or longer. In some areas particularly around the mouth and lips, a second fat transfer procedure may be beneficial for ideal long-lasting results as some of the fat will dissolve after treatment.

Dr. Amato provides compassionate, conscientious follow-up care to all her patients. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery, you’ll be able to reach her personally by phone. She believes in taking care of her patients and often checks on you at home before your first visit after surgery,

Ready to book your procedure?

If you are ready to take the next steps, or simply want more information about a procedure, please contact our team! Dr. Amato looks forward to speaking soon.

Who Makes a Good Candidate for Facial Fat Grafting?

Most adults can have a facial fat transfer, provided they are in good overall health. However, people with extremely low body fat percentage aren’t always able to have fat grafting, because they don’t have enough extra fat to permit safe fat harvesting. If you’re slim, dermal fillers may be a better choice for you.

It’s important to understand that while fat transfer surgery is minimally invasive, it’s still a form of surgery, so you’ll need to take the same steps you’d take before having any other procedure. If you smoke, stop smoking at least three weeks before and after your fat transfer. If you take medication, make sure you discuss what you’re taking, including over the counter and supplements, with Dr. Amato during your consultation. You may need to stop taking certain drugs (as long as you can do so safely) such as blood thinners before surgery to limit the risk of bruising, bleeding, and other complications.

Arrange a Facial Fat Transfer Consultation in Austin, Texas

As Austin’s most experienced female Oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Malena Amato can produce excellent fat grafting results, especially when working around the delicate orbital area. To learn more about facial fat transfer surgery, contact her online or by phone to arrange a personal consultation at her Austin plastic surgery practice.