How Long Do Fat Transfers Last?

We have all come to expect certain things from the natural aging process – increasing skin laxity, for example – but aging always seems to be able to pull a new age-related concern out of the bag. One effect of aging that takes many people by surprise is a loss of skin volume from depleting fatty tissue on the face. The effect of losing fatty tissues can make your bones appear more prominent and make the visible signs of aging more apparent. Fortunately, at Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center in Sacramento, CA, we know the solution for this issue is fat transfer surgery.

How Long Do Fat Transfers Last?

A fat transfer is a surgical solution that resolves the loss of facial volume and fatty tissue in the face, and as surgery, you can expect the results of this procedure to last for a long time. Most patients who undergo this surgery can expect to enjoy results for several years to come – sometimes even decades. This means that this procedure produces some of the longest-lasting results of any plastic surgery technique, including face and neck lifts.

Can You Expect Lifelong Results?

In some cases, yes! There are plenty of patients who are fortunate enough to experience lifelong results following this surgical procedure. Of course, this sometimes depends on your age when you have the procedure, but a significant portion of younger patients who have this treatment can anticipate results that last well into the future.

What the Natural Aging Process Does

However, even with lifelong results, the natural aging process will eventually rear its head one way or another. While the fat transferred to your face will likely remain to the end of your life, there is still some chance that the amount of the transferred fatty tissue will slowly decrease as a result of the natural aging process. This is particularly true if you lose a significant amount of weight as you age.

The natural aging process may also create the illusion that your surgery results are less effective. However, it’s important to note that there is a significant difference between skin laxity and facial volume, and while these two age-related concerns often go hand-in-hand, loss of facial volume is usually the more concerning of the two – and the one that is more difficult to fix. Because this procedure directly addresses facial volume, patients should not be overly concerned about the effects of the natural aging process on their overall results.

Other Fat Transfer FAQs

1. What Is a Fat Transfer and What Does It Do?

A fat transfer is a plastic surgery technique that is designed to restore lost facial volume in the face, particularly on areas of the face where bones are more prominent as we age. For example, this procedure can transplant fat into the cheeks to restore lost volume there, as well as on the top of the cheekbones. Common areas for transferring fat to the face include:

  • Eyebrows
  • Browline
  • Forehead
  • Cheekbones
  • Cheek hollows
  • Jawline
  • Chin
  • Lips
  • Nose
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Ear lobes
  • Under-eye area

In a way, this surgery is like a permanent dermal filler. Just like a dermal filler is used to temporarily add volume to areas of the face, so too does a fat filling transfer. This is why this procedure can be used on virtually every zone of the face – and even parts of the body where there is a loss of fatty tissue volume.

Your surgery will be customized to transfer fat to your specified areas of concern on your face, which makes this procedure one of the more versatile plastic surgeries. For patients, the practicality of being able to pick-and-choose where they would like to have fat placed to soften and revitalize their appearance is second to none, particularly given the long-lasting results of the treatment.

2. Where Is Fat Harvested?

Fat is harvested from your own body for this surgery, which significantly lowers the risk of negative side effects that other filler treatments sometimes pose – after all, you can’t be allergic to your own fat! Typically, fat is harvested from the abdomen or the thigh, as these are areas of the body that are naturally abundant with extraneous fat.

In fact, some people combine this surgery with other fat-related treatments. It’s common for patients to have liposuction or fat reduction surgeries at this time so that the removed fat can be repurposed to address cosmetic concerns. Doing this will simplify your recovery time and allow you to achieve your ideal appearance goals at one time.

3. Is This a Good Anti-Aging Solution?

Yes, this is one of the better permanent anti-aging solutions. While non-surgical fillers might be a good option for patients who have only mild concerns or who are trying to decide if filler treatments are a good solution for their age-related issues, the truth is that the longevity of this procedure makes it a no-brainer favorite for patients who want to look younger for a longer time.

This treatment is especially useful for age-related concerns due to the fact that it can address two prominent issues at once – both loss of volume and skin laxity. While skin laxity is usually caused by a decrease of collagen produced in the sub-dermal layers of skin, treating skin laxity can be done in a few ways. If you aren’t prepared for a facelift or your skin laxity is relatively moderate, this surgery can be a good solution for correcting laxity and postponing other treatments for age-related laxity.

4. How Invasive Is This Procedure?

In general, this procedure isn’t hugely invasive. Harvesting the fat from your body does not require large incisions and transferring the fat to specific areas of the face is done with syringes, so there is no need to make incisions on your face, either. Of course, if you choose to combine this procedure with other plastic surgeries, the overall level of invasiveness may increase. We will let you know how invasive your particular procedure will be before your surgery.

5. How Is the Surgery Performed?

A fat transfer is a fairly common surgical procedure that involves only a few steps. Here, we will simplify the main three steps that will be involved in your surgery.

Step One: Anesthesia

Depending on the exact method used, your procedure will involve either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. It’s more common that general anesthesia is used when you are combining surgeries, but the type of anesthesia used may also depend on patient preference. We will go over each of your options to find the one that works best for you.

Step Two: Fat Harvest

Fat will be harvested from your body and collected to be treated with special chemicals. Harvesting and treating the fat is one of the more time-consuming parts of your treatment process. We will remove the fat from areas of your body with larger natural collections of fat so that the removal will appear natural and will be symmetrical.

Step Three: Fat Insertion

After the removed fat has been treated, it will be transferred into several syringes that will be used to directly place the transferred fat in your areas of concern. The fat insertion portion is a process that is done slowly to ensure that each placement of fat is symmetrical and ideal to soften the bones of the face and restore lost facial volume.

6. What Can You Expect From Your Consultation?

Because this is a surgery, your consultation will consist of a lot of information gathering. For example, we will need to know about your current medications and supplements, any current medical issues you have, and surgeries you have had in the past that may be relevant to this one. During your consultation, we will also discuss your expectations for the procedure and any other aesthetic goals you may have.

7. How Should You Prepare for Surgery?

You will need to prepare for this surgery the same as any other cosmetic surgery, which means you will have to follow a few directions for about 24 hours before your procedure. For example, you may be directed to fast the night before and to not drink water for eight hours before the surgery. We may also instruct you to arrange for transportation on the day of your treatment, as you may not be able to drive yourself home.

8. What Is Your Recovery Like?

Recovery from this surgery will take about one to two weeks, although most of your aftercare instructions will need to be followed for at least three to five days. One example of aftercare instructions we may give you includes directions on how to use cold compresses, or how you should sleep following your procedure. Because there is some amount of bruising and swelling expected after surgery, we may recommend that you use Arnica to help you recover more quickly.

9. How Soon Can You See Results?

After your recovery period, you will notice the results of this procedure, most notably a visible increase in skin volume. However, these initial results are not the true results of your treatment, as a small amount of fat will be naturally absorbed by the body during the first six or so weeks after your surgery. For most people, you should not expect to see your final results for at least six to eight weeks.

10. What Are the Advantages of This Procedure?

As a plastic surgery technique with potentially lifelong results, there are plenty of advantages to this procedure. In addition to the longevity of the results, other benefits include:

Low Side Effect Risks

Because it is your own fat being transferred, there is very little risk of an allergic reaction or other side effects related to this surgery. This is why this surgery is an ideal solution for patients who have allergies to traditional dermal fillers or other cosmetic treatments.

Natural-Looking Results

The results of this treatment look very natural, both because the filler is naturally-sourced and because it’s very easy to inject fat symmetrically. The newly-transferred fat also settles beneath your skin in a natural way.

Easily Combined

This surgery is easily combined with a number of other cosmetic surgeries, including liposuction. For facial cosmetic surgeries, this procedure is often combined with mini facelifts, neck lifts, brow lifts, and others to create comprehensive anti-aging results.

11. Are You a Good Candidate?

If you are healthy enough to withstand either of your anesthesia options, you are likely a good candidate for this treatment. Ideal candidates are those who would like to soften the bone lines on their face, restore lost facial volume, and customize their anti-aging treatments to their exact specifications.

Enjoy Lifelong Rejuvenation With Fat Transfer Surgery

If fillers aren’t cutting it anymore or you want a more permanent solution for your anti-aging goals, then fat transfer surgery might be the ideal procedure for you. Call Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center in Sacramento, CA to schedule your consultation today!

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