Fat Grafting – How Long Does it Last?

Fat grafting is a remarkable procedure performed to rejuvenate the face. As we age, we lose volume in the form of muscle, bone and fat from the face. The distribution of this fat loss will vary from person to person. The art of the facial plastic surgeon comes in when deciding where and how to place the fat.

Without question fat grafting is becoming exceedingly more popular. The effects of fat grafting are seen immediately and for years after the procedure. Since fat has a very abundant supply of stem cells within it, some people are calling the fat grafting procedure a stem cell face lift. This might make sense considering that we are injecting stem cells into the face along with the fat, however until I see definitive evidence that the stem cells play any roll in this, I will not tout it in that fashion. What I will say is that fat grafting works well, very well. As the word is getting out about this no incision procedure, more and more people are turning to it.

That being said, the most common question I get is…”How long does it last?” Fat grafting is a permanent procedure. Live fat cells are removed from the body, purified in my lab, and the transferred to the face (all at the same time). The key is making sure that the fat cells survive the sometimes traumatic process of moving it around. Harvesting, processing, and finally injecting the fat in the proper manner will ensure the longevity of this procedure. So bottom line is that the technique is crucial to the outcome and longevity of the procedure, and you must choose a surgeon very experienced in fat grafting to get the best results.

The photo above is of a patient of mine who is 1 year and 2 months after full face fat grafting. The area I want you to pay attention to is that of her cheeks. Although the entire face was injected, we will use the cheeks to demonstrate that after 14 months the cheeks are still full, and even fuller then they were at 2 months. At this point there is no question that the fat has taken and is now a part of her face.