During facial fat grafting, fat cells removed from your abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere are reinjected beneath the facial skin. Fat can fill in lines between the nose and mouth, correct skin depressions, minimize wrinkles or enhance the lips.
If You’re Considering Fat Grafting…
Fat grafting is also known as autologous fat transplantation or micro-lipoinjection. During facial fat grafting, fat cells are extracted from your abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere and reinjected beneath the facial skin. Fat can fill in sunken cheeks or lines between the nose and mouth, correct skin depressions, minimize forehead wrinkles or enhance the lips.
Allergic reaction is not a factor for fat because the filler is harvested from your own body. However, there is still a small risk of infection and other infrequent complications.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
Both the donor and recipient sites are numbed with local anesthesia. Sedation can be used as well. If you elect to use sedation, be sure to arrange for a ride home after your treatment.
After cleansing and treatment with local anesthesia, fat is withdrawn using a syringe with a large-bore needle or a liposuction cannula. The fat is then prepared and injected into the recipient site with a needle.
Sometimes an adhesive bandage is applied over the injection site. Slight overfilling may be necessary to allow for fat absorption that occurs. When fat is used to augment the cheeks, this overcorrection may cause the face to appear abnormally full.
After Fat Grafting
While some treatments require a brief recovery period, many patients resume normal activity right away. Expect some swelling, bruising or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends upon the size and location of the treated area.
Stay out of the sun until redness and bruising subsides – usually about 48 hours. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sunblock protection to help conceal your condition. In some cases, swelling and puffiness in the recipient site lasts several weeks, especially if a large area was filled.
How long do the results last?
While some patients report results lasting 1 year or more, the majority of patients find that at least half of the injected fullness disappears within 3-6 months. Therefore, repeated injections may be necessary. Your doctor will advise you on how to maintain your results with repeat treatments.
After Fat Grafting Procedure Post-Op Instructions
1. After getting home, continue resting for the next 24 hours with your head elevated. Keeping your head elevated when you sleep will help minimize swelling and bruising. For the next 3-5 nights, sleep on your back with 3 to 4 pillows behind your head and back.
2. To help minimize swelling and discomfort, you may also apply cold compresses to the fat grafting sites during the first 24 hours after surgery.
3. You may take Tylenol or Motrin/Ibuprofen for pain. You may also be given a prescription for a stronger pain medication. Prescription pain medication should be taken with food to prevent nausea.
4. If you were discharged with an oral antibiotic, it should be taken through its full cycle as directed.
5. Before you go home, we will review which medications you may safely resume. If you have questions regarding which medications you may take, please call.
6. Call Dr. Gage’s office immediately at 314-251-4530 if you experience any of the following symptoms: Temperature above 101.5°F, shakes and chills, severe unrelieved pain, or sudden onset of significant swelling or redness at the grafted sites.
7. Drink plenty of fluids. It is easy to become dehydrated after surgery. Dehydration may cause nausea and dizziness.
8. After the first 24 hours, you will be able to remove band aids and wash your face gently with a mild soap (Dove, etc.) and gently pat dry with a soft clean towel. You may also shower at that point.
9. You may brush your teeth gently 24 hours after surgery. Mouthwash may also be used with care.
10. Edema (swelling) as well as ecchymosis (bruising) around your face is normal after fat grafting surgery. The amount of edema and ecchymosis depends on the extent of surgery as well as your own tendency to bruise.
11. Avoid bending over or lifting heavy objects for the first week.
12. After surgery your face may be hypersensitive to sunlight and be more susceptible to sunburn. Dr. Gage hightly recommends that you use sun block with a minimum of 15 SPF to protect your face from burning, especially at the surgical sites.
13. Be aware that smoking or the use of unapproved medications can lead to complications and jeopardize the results of your surgery.
If you have any additional questions, or want to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gage, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (314) 251-4530.