Fat Grafting for the Face: Does it Work?

In theory, it seems like a great idea: use your body’s own fat to plump the face and produce a youthful, desirable shape. Many physician offices are offering this procedure as a way to smooth contours and provide a younger appearance. If it’s your body’s own fat, it’s probably safe and effective, right?

Unfortunately, facial fat grafting is often unsuccessful, and as a facial plastic surgeon, we does not recommend it nor perform it on any of our patients. Here’s why.

Fat is Unpredictable

Fat cells are living tissue from your body, and when you remove them from their natural place, process and purify them, and then re-inject them elsewhere, they may be damaged in the process. As a result, some – or all – of the injected cells may die off.

The dead cells will likely be reabsorbed by the body, leaving you with little to no improvement in the problem you were trying to address. How many of the cells will survive is not known, so some areas may retain their new shape while others don’t. The problem is there’s no reliable way to know if reabsorption will occur and to what degree. So, the results you get are often not reliable.

In some cases, the body may form an inflammatory response to the cells because it believes them to be foreign invaders. This may result in hard lumps or cysts in your face.

Other potential issues with fat grafting involve the migration of the implanted tissue. The fat cells may end up moving from the original injection site, which could potentially leave you with an asymmetrical appearance, swelling in other locations, and an unattractive facial shape.

These outcomes are not desirable for obvious reasons. There’s no way to know for certain how long your results from fat grafting will last. You could end up living with a result you don’t like for years, or you could go through all the trouble of the procedure (which involves surgery for the fat harvesting) only to find that your results fade within a few months.

Try Fillers Instead

With the variety of safe, predictable, and effective and fillers available today, there’s no need to take risks with fat grafting. At our office, we offer fillers that are designed to fill in lines and wrinkles, add fullness to the face and lips, and even diminish acne scars.

Most fillers today can last up to a year or longer, and provide a natural, smooth appearance. Dr. Siegel will discuss your individual needs and facial aesthetics, and will help you determine which types of fillers will give you the results you want. Fillers are a reliable and proven way to get a younger face.

Whether you’re looking for facial surgery or a minimally invasive procedure like fillers, be sure you select a board certified facial plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure and the quality of your results will be heavily dependent upon your surgeon’s skill and expertise with facial enhancement.

If you’d like more information about facial fillers or other procedures, contact our Houston office to schedule your no-obligation, confidential consultation.

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