What is fat grafting?

In addition to wrinkles and fine lines, loss of volume in the face is also one of the most pressing concerns of patients today, as sunken facial contours are easily associated with aging. To manage volume loss, Dr. Dorner suggests fat grafting for patients who want to restore fullness into their features once again. Fat grafting is the process of removing a specific amount of the patient’s own fat from an area in the body that does not require it, and transferring this fat into another area that needs it more.  In most cases, fat is harvested from the patient’s buttocks, thighs, or abdomen and then injected subsequently into parts of the face that need to be plumped up for volume. This technique has been proven to significantly reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the face, as well as improve the appearance of hollowed cheeks and thinner lips. Fat grafting has also been used in recent years to perform buttocks augmentation, using the patient’s own excess fat to increase the size of the buttocks, instead of using implants.

What happens during fat grafting?

A local anesthetic may be used on the donor site to eliminate discomfort during the harvesting of fat for the procedure. Fat is withdrawn from the donor sites using large needles, syringes, or a cannula that is able to siphon the fat out accordingly. This will then be taken and injected directly into the areas of the face that needs volume restoration. When the fat has been transferred, it will eventually adapt to the new environment, re-vascularize, and augment facial mass from underneath the skin. A fat grafting procedure could last between two to four hours, depending on the extent of the area being restored.

What are the side effects of fat grafting?

The most common side effects associated with fat grafting are swelling, bruising, and discomfort at the injection sites, both at the donor site and at the recipient site. There have been a few cases of infection at the injection site, but these instances can easily be managed using the proper antibiotic regimen. Patients do not have to worry about allergic reactions during fat grafting procedures because autologous fat transfers make use of the patient’s own fat cells, making the dermal filler highly compatible with the donor site.