The facial fat transfer procedure is often performed in an outpatient facility.
Dr. Buckingham performs the facial fat transfer procedure with light IV sedation.
After the anesthesia has been applied and the specific areas that will be worked on are cleansed, fat is first gathered from a part of the body that naturally contains more fat, often the hip or abdomen, using gentle suction. Then an instrument called a cannula (a blunt, hollow tube similar in size to a pen) is used to transfer this excess fat into those parts of the face that appear hollow. It is usually necessary for the treated areas to be slightly overfilled to allow for fat absorption in the weeks following the procedure. This may cause the face to appear puffed or swollen temporarily.
The procedure is typically administered within about an hour.
Pain or discomfort is usually very mild with facial fat transfer procedures.
No post-operative dressings or drains need to be applied. Overfilling, however, is often necessary and for this reason the face may temporarily appear puffed or swollen. Minor swelling, bruising or redness may also occur.
While there are no facial incisions involved in fat transfer, swelling does limit return to social activities to 1-2 weeks. Most patients will take one to two weeks off work depending on their desire to conceal the procedure from co-workers.
The results are usually as permanent as any other surgical facial procedure. The face will continue to age, but the fat that is placed is slowly lost over many years just like native facial fat. Dr. Buckingham has presented his 2 year results of fat transfer at national meetings and believes that the procedure can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.