Fat transfer to the face involves taking fat from your body, purifying it, and then injecting the purified fat tissues into another area of your body. Facial fat transfer procedures are a preferred technique for Dr. Vallecillos in Beverly Hills to address volume loss issues of the face, and particularly in the tear trough area, the temples and brow, chin, nasolabial folds, and jawline. An additional benefit of the procedure is the effect that fat transfer has on the skin, which, as we know, thins with age. The purified fat injections, which naturally contain stems cells and related growth factors, increase blood circulation and may improve skin tone and texture, giving the patient a glowing, rosy appearance.

Patients often choose autologous fat transfers over other injectables because there is no danger of allergic reaction when the injectable material comes from your own body.

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Procedure Walk-Through

  1. Preparation: To aid healing, cease smoking during the two weeks before and the two weeks after your procedure. Additionally, stop taking all blood-thinning medications and supplements, including NSAIDs, vitamin E, and Gingko biloba. Patients choosing IV sedation require medical clearance from their primary physician.
  2. Anesthesia: Patients commonly choose to undergo the procedure under local anesthesia, although intravenous sedation is an available option. Discuss these options with Dr. Vallecillos during your consultation. Patients choosing IV sedation require medical clearance from their regular physician.
  3. Preoperative Consult: During your consultation, Dr. Vallecillos evaluates your area of complaint, discusses your desired results, and provides guidance on which area or areas to use as the fat donor site. Come prepared with any questions you have as well as your complete medical history. Take note of all of his pre-and post-operative instructions to ensure you follow them exactly.

Harvesting Fat in Preparation for Facial Transfer

The first step is removing fat cells from the selected donor sites. Common locations include the abdomen, hips, and thighs. Dr. Vallecillos employs a low-suction liposuction method using a thin cannula to ensure the harvested fat cells remain undamaged. Using a centrifuge, the doctor purifies the collected fat. This isolates the fat cells from surrounding liquids. Finally, he injects the purified cells into the treatment site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a candidate for a fat transfer?

Adult patients looking to decrease wrinkles, smile and frown lines, facial creases, hollow cheeks, and acne scarring are candidates for facial fat transfer. Additionally, fat transfer is commonly done in conjunction with facelift surgery to replace lost facial volume associated with the natural aging process.

What is the recovery time?

Follow Dr. Vallecillos’ post-operative instructions exactly. Typically, normal activity may resume immediately following the procedure, although discomfort and swelling continue during the immediate post-operative period. The fat grafts develop blood vessels within three to five days, although it takes another few days for these to strengthen. Surgical tape remains on the treatment area for five days. In the first week, you should sleep on your back, elevating your head. Make sure you do not rub your face for the first two weeks, although you may lightly wash it. Also, during this time, do not engage in exercise.

Are there risks or side effects associated with a fat transfer?

Risks and side effects are minor, although every cosmetic procedure comes with some side effects. These include swelling, hematoma, and scarring.

How long do the results last?

Length of results varies, although a large percentage of the injected fat cells survive to remain in the treatment area permanently. Two weeks following your procedure, you will have a very good idea how your final, permanent result looks.