Facial Fat Transfer in Syracuse & Rochester, NY

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What Is A Facial Fat Transfer?

The traditional fat grafting has been around for over 125 years. Over that time, generations of surgeons and physicians have studied to refine and perfect the technique to make it more predictable, safe, and effective. While fat graft has been used for numerous other medical applications, our focus is to use this time-proven technique to achieve youthful, and natural face rejuvenation.

Fat transfer is aimed to add volume to areas of the face where volume loss has resulted in hollowed, aged appearance. Areas of the face that are traditionally reinforced with fatty-soft tissue to provide youthful, round contour include jawline, cheeks, under-eyes, and temple. As one ages, several processes contribute to loss of volume in these areas including bone resorption, fat and muscle shrinkage, and migration of soft-tissue (facial droop). This results in hollowed, tired, and sometimes unhealthy facial appearance associated with the aging process. However, some young patients can experience this problem also if they are endurance athletes, undergone significant weight loss, or simply as part of their hereditary traits. Based on the patient's preference, fat transfer can be performed while awake through minimal sedation or through twilight-sedation in the operating room setting. We begin with removal of fat through traditional liposuction of the abdomen through a small slit around the belly-button. After adequate fat has been removed, fat is processed to optimize for transfer. Next, fat is injected to the areas of volume loss on the face using small micro-cannula. Key is to inject in a deep plane to avoid palpable nodule formation which is a known risk in fat injection.

We tend to overcorrect to anticipate some fat graft resorption within the first several months. First several days, patients will notice swelling at the site of fat grafting. Most of the swelling is from numbing medication or the saline-solution in which fat grafts are transferred and the body will quickly absorb it over the following few days. First several months, the grafted fat goes through inoculation during which it settles into a new home by recruiting new blood supply and establishing connection with surrounding structures. During this time, patients may notice that the initial result of new facial volume (from swelling) is dissipating. However, after this settling period, the grafted fat will begin to volumize and the result will become more apparent.

What Are Alternative Options?

Contemporary trend is to seek non-invasive treatments for facial rejuvenation. For this reason, more patients undergo dermal filler treatments in our practice to restore volume. These include hyaluronic acid-based fillers, Radiesse, and Sculptra.

There are several significant advantages to fat transfer for facial rejuvenation compared to the non-invasive fillers. First, most patients have plenty of fat around their abdomen to donate to volumize their face. Whereas each 1cc of volume cost hundreds of dollars for non-invasive fillers, one treatment of fat transfer to achieve a minimum 20cc or more of volume to restore volume throughout the face in multiple areas. Second, fat grafts last a long time. Depending on the type, the fillers may last from 6 months to several years. However, fat graft is one’s own living tissue, and after its initial swelling and settling, fat graft stays put. While it is vulnerable to shrink if one’s metabolism changes (with aging, or weight-loss), it is by and large living tissue as part of the face. Lastly, fat grafts do more than just add volume. Fat micrograft contains stem cells which are involved in promoting survival of fat graft but also influence repair and remodeling of surrounding tissue including the skin. As a side note, the first described fat graft was performed in 1893 to treat scars.

We recommend that the patients who are interested in fat transfer should seek consultation to explore all treatment options to determine which procedure is the ideal option for the patients given their unique anatomy, expectations, medical profile, and risk factors.

What Can I Expect From Facial Fat Transfer?

Choosing to undergo a fat transfer procedure at Natural Face Clinic offers flexibility based on your comfort and preference; you can opt for minimal sedation while awake or experience it through twilight sedation in a controlled operating room setting. The procedure starts with a traditional liposuction technique to harvest the necessary fat, typically from the abdomen area accessed through a small incision near the belly button. This harvested fat is then meticulously processed to prepare it for transfer. With precision and artistry, Dr. Kim reintroduces it to the target areas on your face, utilizing a micro-cannula to ensure depth and prevent any issues such as the formation of palpable nodules, a known risk in fat injection. A cornerstone of this process is the strategic overcorrection undertaken to account for the natural resorption of some of the grafted fat in the early stages, resulting in an optimally youthful and voluminous appearance in the later stages.

Post-procedure, it is normal to observe swelling in the initial days, predominantly due to the numbing medication and saline solution used in the transfer process; your body is designed to absorb this efficiently over the subsequent days. The first few months after the procedure are characterized by a period where the transferred fat familiarizes itself with its new home, establishing vital connections with the surrounding structures and developing a fresh blood supply. This period can change perceived volume as the initial swelling subsides, allowing a settling process. This settling phase is followed by a remarkable revitalization where the grafted fat starts to volumize, unveiling more pronounced and refreshing results as your facial contours gracefully embrace their renewed fullness.

Take the Natural Approach

This procedure may be a great option if you want to fill in hollow areas or lines on your face. This treatment offers many alternatives for adding volume and fullness. This procedure can help you to achieve the look you want without undergoing an invasive surgery that could require a lengthy recovery. We'd like to invite you to call our office to schedule your consultation at Natural Face Clinic.

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J.L. Google

Dr Kim and his staff were amazing a welcoming. Provided great service and would recommend them to anyone and everyone that asks!! Extremely happy with the results and the experience.

M.F. Google

Once again, I had a great experience. Scheduling another tuneup. Thank you.

M.M. Google

Could not be more pleased with my experience and outcome!

T.H. Google

Highly recommend Dr. Kim for any of his services. A very knowledgable and experienced practitioner that Ive come to trust. Reasonable rates and friendly, accomodating support staff. We are lucky to have him in the communitty!

C.L. Google


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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.