Using a patient’s fat as a natural facial filler is an increasingly popular technique, but I’ve used it for much of my career as a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Facial fat transfer is effective as a standalone filler and enhances facelift surgery results by replacing lost volume.
One of the questions patients ask about facial fat transfer is how long the results last. Unlike JUVÉDERM® and other synthetic dermal fillers whose longevity is relatively predictable, fat used as a filler can last indefinitely. The results of facial fat transfer after 5 years might be similar to those after 6 months if you maintain a healthy skincare routine.
Not only that, but the growth factors in fat cells stimulate a regenerative response that can delay skin aging at a cellular level, as a 2020 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal pointed out. In other words, fat grafts can create healthy, youthful, glowing skin from the inside out.
How Long Do Results Last?
The first thing to understand about fat transfer procedures is that not all fat cells survive the grafting process. It is permanent once the fat “takes”—meaning it is supplied with blood. This process takes about 6 months.
Fat transfer to the face typically has a higher survival rate, especially in areas that don’t move. The aging process continues after the procedure, but patients enjoy a more youthful appearance for many years. Touch-up procedures can extend the results.
I use fat grafting in various areas to minimize signs of aging. These include:
- Forehead, brow, temples
- Glabella (vertical worry lines often called “the 11s”)
- Under the eyes (tear troughs)
- Nasolabial folds
- Chin and jawline
As I mentioned, I often combine fat transfer with facial plastic surgery, which focuses on lifting sagging skin but doesn’t restore volume. I wrote an earlier blog post about how patients can benefit from facelift surgery and fat transfer.
Fat Transfer Before and After Photos
I combined fat transfer with other facial rejuvenation procedures in each of these cases.
How To Extend Your Fat Transfer Results
Certain factors influence the longevity of your results, including:
Age: Fat grafting for younger patients produces longer-lasting results because their skin retains more elasticity and better holds the grafted fat.
Lifestyle and habits: Lifestyle factors play an essential role in the duration of your results. Smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, and lax skincare habits can accelerate the aging process and reduce the longevity of your results.
Sun exposure: Prolonged, unprotected sun exposure is one of the leading causes of premature skin aging. You can extend the life of your results by avoiding extended time in the direct sun and applying sunscreen daily that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
Fluctuating weight: Gaining or losing significant weight affects the distribution of fat in the body, including the face. Expanding and shrinking fat cells can cause the skin to lose its elasticity more quickly.
Genetics: Your genetic makeup can influence the amount of transferred fat the body reabsorbs.
Schedule a Consultation
Are you a good candidate for facial fat transfer? The best way to find out is by requesting a consultation using the online form or calling us at (615) 942-8016 to schedule an appointment. We encourage you to view our before-and-after photo gallery to see the type of results a fat transfer with facial plastic surgery can create.