As we age, most people will lose fat in the face.  Loss of facial volume is a common sign of aging.  Facial fat grafting is designed to treat the fat atrophy by moving fat to the face from another part of the body (the fat is commonly “harvested” from the abdomen, hips, inner or outer thighs, and buttocks). It’s often called facial fat rejuvenation because it addresses lost volume in cheeks, around the eyes and temples, the nasolabial fold, lips, and jawline, leaving patients with a more youthful appearance. When performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon like myself, fat grafting can dramatically improve the age-related fat loss.  It can be done alone or in conjunction with a facelift.

Initial Recovery

Fat grafting is an outpatient procedure that takes between one and two hours. You can go home the same day, but you’ll need someone to drive you to and from surgery and stay with you the first night. I may prescribe pain medication for the first few days if needed. Swelling and bruising in the areas where fat was taken and placed is typical.

Your risk for infection and complications are greatly reduced because I use fat from your own body (autologous fat) in this procedure. Your initial healing and recovery are mild compared to alternative treatments. I recommend limited activity for at least a few days and allow adequate time for your body to heal properly.

When Can I Return to Normal Activities?

The recovery time needed varies from patient to patient, but I usually recommend taking at least 7-10 days off from work and other social activities.  If you are able to work from home, typically you’ll be at your home desk 2-3 days after surgery. Those who can take more time off often take 2-3 weeks to rest and fully recuperate. Strenuous activities and vigorous exercise should be avoided for at least three weeks. You should avoid rubbing, massaging, or applying pressure to the grafted areas during this time.  That means that you will need to sleep on your back for 2-3 weeks following the procedure.

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Full Recovery

The area of your body where I harvest the fat for your graft may bruise and bruising can last for 2-3 weeks.  In the face, the bruising can also be present for 2-3 weeks though generally it’s gone by 10 days. Swelling persists for a bit longer, although from a social standpoint, after 3 weeks most patients are fine. At 3 months, the “final” result is evident when the fat transferred has reached its final volume. You can expect to look and feel your best by this point in your recovery.

Customized Procedure. Customized Recovery.

The best way to find out how long your recovery will take is to schedule a consultation with me. I’ll assess your facial structure, aging progression, lifestyle, and aesthetic goals. Once we’ve reviewed your options, I’ll recommend a treatment for you and customize a recovery planbased on your individual procedure.

Dr. Barnett’s staff is very professional, helpful and considerate , while he is all that and also a true artist in his field. I felt comfortable and confident during the whole process, and I was very happy with the results.

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Take the Next Step

Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 879-8735. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!