Fat grafting, also known as autologous fat transfer or liposculpture, is a surgical procedure that involves restoring lost volume in the face with the patient's own fat, taken from the abdomen, thighs or other areas. This procedure is effective in treating sunken cheeks, facial lines, acne scars and other areas of lost volume that have developed as a result of aging, sun damage and other conditions.
Unlike fillers and other volume-enhancing treatments, fat grafts are taken from the patient's own body, and as a result cannot cause an allergic reaction. The fat is naturally accepted by the body. Autologous fat grafts also last longer than synthetic materials.
During the fat grafting procedure, fat is harvested from the donor area by inserting a cannula and suctioning out the fat, similar to liposuction. This is done under local anesthesia to minimize any potential discomfort. The harvested fat is then purified so that only the fat cells are grafted. Once the fat is ready to be placed, it is injected into the targeted area through a cannula until the desired appearance is achieved.
This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Because of the different aspects involved, treatment time can vary significantly depending on each patient's individual procedure.
Patients may experience mild swelling and bruising after the fat grafting procedure, which can be minimized by icing the area. Fat grafts usually last longer than fillers and other volumizing treatments, and are considered safe for most patients since no foreign material is being injected into the body.