Charles Perry, MD, Plastic Surgeon
For an appointment, call (916) 248-4447

Fat Transfer

Structural fat transfer is an increasingly popular minimally invasive method for rejuvenating the face, lips and hands, as well as improving facial contours, especially in areas including the cheeks, chin, or lips. Unlike BOTOX®, Restylane®, or Sculptra™, fat transfer uses the patient’s own tissue to augment or enhance certain features, such as thin lips or hollow cheeks, or to fill in the face to combat facial hollowness attributed to aging, trauma, or infection. At Chrysalis Cosmetics, fat transfer is able to produce lip and facial augmentation results that are as dramatic as those achieved with the surgical placement of facial implants.

The advantages of the fat transfer method are numerous. Fat tissue is soft, and its use in filling defects allows for a natural appearance and feel. In addition, there is no risk of the substance being rejected or causing allergy, since the only material used for enhancement is the patient’s own tissue.

Carefully placed fat injections can be used to correct facial scars, hollowness caused by the aggressive removal of under-eye bags during eyelid surgery, and similar problems. In short, fat can be used to improve the appearance of any area of the body that could use extra volume: the chin, jawline, eyes, forehead, temples, sternum, bridge of the nose, and so on.

Candidates for Fat Transfer

The ideal candidate for fat transfer is a healthy, mentally stable adult seeking to add volume to the cheeks, chin, jawline, lips, or any other area of the body in order to correct for the effects of aging, disease, trauma, and genetics.

Fat transfer is not recommended for:

  • Individuals with unrealistic expectations – Fat transfer can yield impressive results, but only if one is willing to undergo three or more treatments and accept the procedure’s limitations.

Things to Consider Before Undergoing Fat Transfer

Fat transfer may cause cold sores to reappear

If you have suffered from facial cold sores in the past, it’s possible that needle punctures will contribute to a recurrence. To minimize this risk, talk to Dr. Perry about useful medications.

Fat transfer causes no allergic reactions

Because the filler is your own fat, there is no risk that the tissue will trigger rejection or allergy. However, some of the fat will be absorbed by the body.

Fat transfer requires fat harvesting

In some cases, the donor site will be temporarily painful or irritated. Fat harvested during liposuction is not usually suitable for transfer.

Slight over-correction is necessary

Over-correction is required for optimal fat transfer results. This is because only about half of the transferred tissue survives.

Results are visible in three months

It takes three months for the end result of fat transfer to fully emerge. At this point, the fat that remains will be permanent.

Repeat treatments may be necessary

Two to three treatment sessions are often required to achieve optimal results.

How is fat transfer performed?

Fat transfer is a multi-step process. First, the donor area (the abdomen, hips, or thighs) is anesthetized. Fat is carefully harvested from the area, then purified, and filtered in preparation for transfer. Then, the fat cells are injected wherever they are needed. Dr. Perry will over-correct the defect, filling the area with an over abundance of fat cells because about half of the fat will be reabsorbed into the body.

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Risks of Fat Transfer

The following list is an introduction to some of the risks of fat transfer. You will have further discussions of the procedure’s risks with Dr. Perry during your consultation.

Asymmetry

While the asymmetry of the human face can usually be improved using fat transfer, it’s also possible for the procedure to create or worsen asymmetry.

Infection

Infection at the donor site or the site where fat was injected is possible and can be treated with antibiotics.

Hematoma (fluid accumulation under the skin)

Fluid retention may require Dr. Perry to drain the area.

Formation of scar tissue or fatty cysts

Scar tissue and fatty cysts can be treated surgically, but may lead to a disappointing cosmetic result.

Complete Pre- and Post-treatment Instructions for Fat Transfer Patients

Dr. Perry has prepared this comprehensive list of instructions to make your fat transfer experience as successful as possible. We recommend that you read over the guidelines before coming in on the day of the procedure and print them out to reference during your recovery.

Fat Transfer Instructions (printer-friendly)

Many of Dr. Perry’s patients travel from near by cities seeking his expertise in plastic surgery procedures. For your convenience, we have provided directions from the following locations.