Facial Fat Grafting

The use of human fat for auto-transplantation is not new; it is something that has been described in textbooks for over 200 years! As knowledge of Fat’s biochemical properties continues to evolve, our surgical techniques have become more targeted and effective, in particular for its use in facial rejuvenation.

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, facial aging is a process that happens in all structures of the face, not just the skin. Aging affects the underlying fat, facial muscles and facial skeleton. The fat in the face starts decreasing in volume in certain areas, in others it prolapses (such as fat bags around the eyes). The treatment of facial aging starts with re-volumizing the face with procedures that can be performed in the office, to gradually more invasive, such as surgery to treat the fat bags around the eyes.

About the procedure

Facial Fat Grafting (also known as Facial Fat Transfer), is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to re-volumize certain areas of the face to improve hollowing and restore volume lost in the process of facial aging or weight loss. The fat is harvested with a small cannula from the abdomen, or anywhere there may be some excess. The fat is then transferred to an even smaller cannula which leaves no visible scarring on the face. The fat is re-injected in various areas such as the temples, the high cheekbones, around the eyes below the fat bags, the tear trough hollows and sometimes around the mouth as well. The fat injected in areas that are more mobile, like around the mouth, don’t tend to stay well. However, it does help decrease the amount of filler that would otherwise be required. Below you will find before and after pictures of patients who underwent Facial fat transfer. Please note that you will see pictures before and One full year after, which proves the longevity of the procedure fat grafting to the face. Make sure to read the comments as all patients are unique in their anatomy and requests. Since facial aging is greatly impacted by loss of fullness (losing facial fat), fat transfer is an adjunct procedure which is performed before and after a facelift, browlift, or blepharoplasty, among others.

Facial Fat Grafting Case #1


31-year-old woman is shown before and 16 months post fat transfer/grafting to the face including temples, periorbital including tear troughs, and malar eminences. The chin, nasolabial folds and marionette lines were treated as well and this will help reduce the amount of artificial fillers in the future.Approximately 41cc of fat was grafted into the face assuring symmetry from side to side. Note overall change of the shape of the face, from rectangular to more oval. The lower lid hollowing is camouflaged by fat injections below at the tear trough. The ¾ views also show an improved Ogee curve by increasing projection of the high cheek bones.

What to expect during a Consultation for Facial Fat Grafting / Fat Transfer to the Face

During your consultation for a Facial Fat Grafting, you will initially meet with a medical assistant who will review the paperwork you fill out containing a full medical history. This is important information that will be used to determine whether you are a good candidate. If you are a smoker, we recommend you quit 6-8 weeks prior to the procedure to optimize graft take. During your consultation, you will be able to discuss your observations and goals with Dr. Cocco, who will in turn give you an honest opinion and help you understand your options. This initial meeting should treated as a two-way interview. It is just as important that you agree and understand the recommendations given to you, as Dr. Cocco must feel she understands your expectations and is confident she can help you achieve your goals. Once a full understanding between doctor and patient is reached, a proposal will be generated and the decision to proceed with surgery will be made jointly.

What to expect after setting a procedure date

Details of the surgical process, such as instructions before and after Facial fat transfer, informed consent and financial obligations will be fully discussed 10 days to weeks before the procedure. Our medical assistant will help coordinate this process and tailor it to your needs. As a patient, we want you to feel positive about your upcoming procedure, including being comfortable with your surgeon and confident of your decision to move forward.

What to expect after your procedure

Everybody heals at different rates and differently from one side of the face to the other side. Rest assured, the aftercare will be personally directed by Dr. Cocco. It is important that you follow all instructions for optimal healing. Most importantly, you must abstain from Nicotine exposure for a few months after the procedure. Even though the results will be immediately appreciated, it takes at least a couple of months for the all of the swelling to subside. This is one of the procedures with highest satisfaction rates since it leaves the most natural results in the long term. We are happy to take you through the process and look forward to meeting you in consultation.

To find out if you are a candidate for this procedure, contact our office to make an appointment to be evaluated in person and given a professional opinion.

Dr. Cocco | Jennyfer Cocco, MD

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