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Facial Plastic Surgery

Fat Transfer to the Face

"A Full Face is a Youthful Face"

A close-up of a woman's plump lipsFat transfer is now a generally accepted technique used in facial rejuvenation. Most commonly, aging results in the deflation of structures of the face, most noticeably around the mouth. As rejuvenation techniques have evolved the trend has gone from 'lift and pull' toward a more natural 'lift and fill.' 

In some ways fat is an ideal filler substance for the face. It is abundant, easily transferred, has no risk of rejection, and can safely be repeated. Dr. Szachowicz has been using fat transfer techniques at his Edina practice - near Minneapolis-St. Paul - for nearly 15 years to restore lost facial volume. The most commons sites for the addition of fat are the lips. Chin, cheeks, and around the mouth. A conservative approach minimizes the chances for lumpiness. 

Fat Transfer to the Face

The role of the fatty layer of the face is to provide volume, shape and smoothness to the facial contours. Over time, the specific compartments of fat in the face which shift, deflate and sag. Advanced facelifting techniques can reposition the fibrous layer and some of the fat , but does not address some of the key areas of fat atrophy around the mouth.

Fat transfer techniques have advanced such that fat can now be harvested from the abdomen (or other sites of fatty deposits) and then can be prepared to be used to add aesthetic volume to the face. The key to harvest is to leave the fat cells intact, and the key to placement is to use small amounts of fat place with tiny cannulas. The transferred fat acts as a foundation on which further treatments, such as dermal fillers, can be added. 

Dr. Szachowicz most commonly transfers fat to: 

  • Cheeks 
  • Lips 
  • Nasolabial folds 
  • Chin region 

Fat transfer frequently is performed at our Edina, Minneapolis practice in combination with facelift surgery to soften the facial features and to restore lost volume in the face. With chin augmentation, the transferred fat is often place in deep creases in the chin and around the mouth.

A conservative a gradual approach is used with placing the fat in the facial tissues. Only a portion of the fat transferred actually persists after healing, so there is a slight overcorrection but not excessive filling. Too aggressive fat placement, especially in thin delicate areas, may show through as lumpy. 

Fat Transfer Procedure

Fat transfer is most commonly done after a facelift procedure is completed. The unaddressed areas of volume loss can be filled at the same surgical setting to give the optimal result. The procedure is as follows: 

  • A specially designed harvest cannula is used to take fat from the abdomen through tiny incisions in the navel. 
  • The fat is purified in a centrifuge to remove blood and damaged fat cells 
  • The fat is then placed into the face through small punctures with tiny blunt cannulas. Punctures are covered by paper tapes. 

Risks of Fat Transfer

Over aggressive fat transfer can leave visible lumps. Numbness or bleeding is uncommon with the blunt cannulas. 

Learn more about Fat Transfer

To learn more about the possibilities of restoring volume to the face through fat transfer, contact Dr. Szachowicz at Facial Plastic Surgery in Edina, Minnesota. We serve the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with pride, and would be happy to speak with you in person to discuss your goals.

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Centennial Lakes Medical Building

7373 France Ave S
Ste 508
Edina, MN 55435

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