4 Reasons Why Facial Fat Injections Are on the Rise

Beauty Portrait of a Woman with Radiant Skin

Have you heard of facial fat injections? According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery, this semi-permanent facial filler saw a 16% increase in popularity from 2017 to 2018—and the option continues to gain traction as more patients learn they can achieve lasting improvement with the procedure. As the name implies, facial fat injections use your body’s own fat to volumize and contour your face and, as such, are an excellent natural alternative to dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm.

In this month’s post, we’re exploring 4 reasons why facial fat injections are on the rise.

1. Facial fat injections provide beautiful results

Fat injections, also called fat transfer, can increase youthful volume in areas of the face that lose fat with age, including the temples, cheeks, under-eyes, jawline, and lips. They can also smooth out facial wrinkles & creases and help firm & tighten skin. Because fat is softer than dermal fillers, it tends to be more spreadable and sculptable, giving your surgeon the ability to hyper-contour certain facial features. (Conversely, dermal fillers tend to be better at creating projection, and therefore may be recommended over fat for augmenting the nose and chin.)

To provide subtle yet noticeably beautiful results that age naturally with the rest of your face, a skilled surgeon will use a “layered” technique when injecting fat to ensure it maintains its volume and viability over time. If he or she were to inject the fat all at once, it could create lumps or bumps, and increase the risk of fat necrosis (death). Similarly, fat injections must be performed in stages—typically 3 treatments spaced 1-2 months apart—to help ensure the fat integrates with your facial tissues.

Fat is softer than dermal fillers, giving your surgeon the ability to hyper-contour certain facial features.

2. Facial fat injections have been used safely for decades

Cosmetic fat injections have been performed since the late 19th century, first to correct facial scarring, and eventually to restore age-induced volume loss. As such, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, they are known to be a very safe and dependable method for shaping the face.

While the popular Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) surgery, which transfers fat to the buttocks, has raised concerns over the safety of fat grafting, this doesn’t mean you should write off facial fat injections. Here’s why: butt lift complications typically occur when fat is injected below the subcutaneous layer of skin into the gluteal muscle and/or veins, causing fat embolism. While there is a minute risk of fat embolism with facial fat transfer, it is much lower than BBL surgery.

Most importantly, the risks associated with any fat transfer procedure will be greatly reduced when you choose a credentialed cosmetic surgeon who has extensive fat grafting experience.

3. Facial fat injections are long-lasting

One of the major benefits of using your own fat as a filler is, once your desired results have been achieved, you won’t have to return (or pay) for repeat filler treatments.

Once fat is injected into the face, it integrates with the fat that is already present in the area. As a result, a significant portion of this grafted fat (~30-60%) will remain in place indefinitely as long as you maintain a consistent overall body weight. Fillers, on the other hand, are temporary, typically lasting for 6-12 months.

3. Fat is a more natural filler

While hyaluronic acid (HA)—the key substance used in Juvéderm® fillers—is found naturally in our bodies just like fat, the HA in dermal fillers is synthetic, and therefore some people are opposed to using them. Your own fat, on the other hand, is 100% biocompatible, eliminating the risk of an allergic reaction. Because fat is softer and can therefore spread more evenly than HA and other dermal fillers, many patients claim fat injections also look more natural.

4. Facial fat grafting (minimally) reduces fat in other areas of the body

As part of your facial fat injection procedure, your surgeon will harvest fat from areas of the body—typically the stomach, thighs, and hips—using liposuction. He or she will then process this fat in a centrifuge, separating it from your other fluids. Finally, he or she will strategically inject your processed fat into areas of your face where a fuller appearance is desired. While the amount of body fat removed during this process is minimal, many patients appreciate it nonetheless.

While the amount of body fat removed during facial fat injections is very minimal, many patients appreciate it nonetheless.

Choose a credentialed cosmetic surgeon for your facial fat injections

As an award-winning, triple-board certified surgeon in general cosmetic surgery, cosmetic facial surgery, and otolaryngology, Dr. Alexander Sobel has extensive experience performing facial fat injections, as well as fat transfer to the buttocks, breasts, and hands. Dr. Sobel always takes a minimal, layered approach to facial fat injections to help increase fat’s viability and to prevent “over-filling” the face. Find out why Dr. Sobel’s Bellevue and Seattle patients love his safe, consistent results—schedule your fat transfer consultation online or by calling (425) 453-9060.

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