Fat Transfer

What Is A Fat Transfer?

Fat transfer- also referred to as lipotransfer, microfat transfer, nanofat transfer, and fat grafting, refers to removing fat from one region of the body and applying it elsewhere. It is a broad category of minimally invasive procedures that are used as alone or in conjunction with other procedures to for aesthetic purposes.

Why Is A Fat Transfer Performed?

As we age, the skin of the face and neck begins to sag because of gravity. Our skin texture changes, and we form fine lines that eventually may evolve into deep wrinkles of the face. Additionally, we experience what is known as “volume loss”. This refers to decrease in the amount of tissue in various portions of the face and neck. All together, this may result in the deepening and hallowing of areas around the mouth, eyes, forehead, cheek, and temples. This “hollowed” appearance gives us a more aged and fatigued look. Fat grafting is used alone, or in conjunction with other procedures (link to facelift page) to counter the effects of aging from the fine lines, to the deep wrinkles, to the hallowing effects.

Fat grafting can also be used to address regions of scarring from trauma or acne. Fat injections can also be used like other fillers to make the lips and areas around the eyes look fuller and more youthful. Sometimes, fat grafting can be used to further assist in healing after surgery.

What Are The Benefits Of A Fat Transfer?

Fat grafting and transfer is a natural, minimally invasive method of combating the effects of aging. It is permanent and long lasting when compared to alternative treatments such as fillers and injectables. Additionally, fat has been scientifically proven to be rich in nutrients and stem cells that are vital for youthful rejuvenation.

What Are The Different Types Of Fat Grafting?

Fat Transfer (Lipotransfer)

Lipotransfer refers to removal of large portions of fat, typically harvested from the abdomen or thigh, that is then used to contour large regions of the head, face, and neck. Common treated areas:

  • Temple
  • Cheeks
  • Lips
  • Region around the eyes
  • Region around the nose

Microfat Transfer

Microfat involves the extraction of fat from the abdomen or thigh and injecting smaller portions into problem areas of the face and neck. This technique is used to add volume. It can be used to address hallowing around the eyes, deepening of the folds around the corners of the mouth and nose, or to add volume to the cheeks and lips. Microfat is also rich in natural nutrients and stem cells that can be used to reduce scarring and assist in healing. Commonly treated areas:

  • Cheeks and cheek bones
  • Temples
  • Brow
  • Lips
  • Nasolabial Folds (Laugh Lines)
  • Marionette Lines (lines around the mouth)
  • Areas around the eyes (tear troughs)
  • Chin

Nanofat Transfer

Nanofat does not actually contain fat. It is derived from fat from the abdomen or thighs and is made up of the nutrients and stem cells that surround the fat. It is commonly used in to enhance the youthful appearance of the skin by improving texture and reducing fine lines. Nanofat transfer is commonly referred to as a “stem cell facelift”. Used to address:

  • Skin damage related to sun exposure
  • Skin Sagging
  • Fine to medium lines
  • Discoloration and pigmentation complaints
  • Texture Irregularity

What Is SNIF?

SNIF refers to Sharp Needle Intradermal Fat grafting- and is commonly referred to as a “Stem Cell Facelift” (link to Stem Cell Facelift). Although not a true facelift, it utilizes nanofat (see above) to smooth out the texture and fine lines of the facial skin allowing for a more youthful appearance. SNIF works very similarly to traditional dermal fillers, but with longer lasting and natural results. This technique is particularly useful with fine lines around the mouth (smoker’s lines) and eyes (crow’s feet).

Are The Results Permanent?

One of the major benefits of fat transfer is that it is long lasting, and most patients require only a single procedure to experience its benefits (some may require multiple procedures for enhanced outcomes). This is in contrast to traditional dermal injectables and fillers that require repeat procedures every 9 to 12 months. It is important to recognize however, that the human body continues to age with time, and sometimes patients require touch up procedures or adjunctive procedures.

What Is The Followup And Recovery Like For A Fat Transfer?

This will depend on the type of procedure you have done. Typically, the procedure is done in the office under local anesthesia with minimal down time. You may have some mild discomfort, bruising, and swelling at the harvest and/or recipient site that should begin to resolve within 7 to 10 days of surgery. Most patients can return to their normal day to day activity within 1-2 days of the procedure. Patients can resume their normal exercise activities within 3 weeks of the procedures, but sometimes sooner.

Meet Dr. Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS

Moustafa Mourad, MD, FACS is board-certified in head and neck surgery and highly-trained in cosmetic plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. Dr. Mourad is also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He treats many conditions, both cosmetic and complex, that affect the head, neck and entire facial area. Learn More »