Use your own fat cells to diminish the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.

Procedure Summary

Indications: Volumizing in the face
Downtime: 2 days, swelling for 1+week
Anesthetic Needs: Local anesthetic
Typical Package: Single treatments

A natural dermal filler procedure, also known as a facial-fat transfer procedure, uses your body’s own fat cells to replace fat which is naturally lost from the face as we age. Restoring this lost fat diminishes the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles, helps better define facial contours and can reintroduce volume to the lips, restoring a healthy, youthful and refreshed look to the face.

The procedure provides patients with a natural alternative to synthetic fillers and collagen treatments, and the results of a natural dermal filler treatment are both natural-looking and long-lasting. As an added benefit, recipients won’t need to have the frequent maintenance treatments that other injectable filler treatments require. Furthermore, patients can enjoy the slimming effects of liposuction from the area where fat is removed for your treatment.

Since this treatment uses your body’s own fat to rejuvenate the face, your results will not just be noticeable but also softer and more natural-looking than results produced by synthetic dermal fillers.  While artificial facial fillers and collagen injections also help smooth wrinkles and improve fullness to the face and lips, their results are only temporary. Natural dermal fillers, on the other hand, are very long-lasting and often permanent, requiring only a single treatment.

What are the benefits of facial-fat transfers?

This treatment provides patients with long-lasting, natural-looking results with a softer final appearance and feel in comparison to synthetic filler treatments as you are essentially replacing like with like. You also greatly reduce the chance of an allergic reaction as no foreign substance enters your body. Other benefits of a facial-fat transfer procedure include:

  • No maintenance treatments
  • No synthetic or artificial fillers
  • Minimal downtime
  • No general anesthesia required
  • Permanent results

What happens during a facial-fat transfer procedure?

Natural dermal fillers use the latest advances in laser-assisted liposuction and fat transfer techniques. Today, Dr. Birchall can harvest natural fat cells through a process gentle enough that the cells remain intact and viable. During the procedure, fat cells will be drawn from other areas of your body and then carefully injected into the areas of your face where you want to restore tone and fullness.

The natural dermal filler treatment begins with the laser-assisted liposuction procedure, which is generally performed in-office using local anesthesia. Dr. Birchall will carefully remove a small amount of fat from a targeted part of your body – generally the abdomen or hips. This fat removal process is so gentle that the fat cells remain intact and ready for immediate transfer. During the treatment, Dr. Birchall will carefully inject your own fat cells into your face to help smooth out lines, add volume to the lips and restore fullness to hollowed cheeks.

How long will recovery take after a facial-fat transfer procedure?

Patients will often experience bruising and swelling from their anesthesia injections as well as the fat transfer immediately post-procedure, and it may take about two weeks for this swelling and bruising to dissipate completely. However, these symptoms are completely natural, and their severity will decrease rapidly within the first few hours after the procedure. In fact, most patients can go back out in public confidently after a few days. You may continue to have some isolated bruising in specific areas that will remain a little longer, but patients can conceal these signs of treatment safely with make-up until they resolve.

Areas in which fat has been harvesting will also need some time to recover. Dr. Birchall will wrap your donor sites carefully in compression bandages after the procedure and will recommend that patients continue to wear them for the days to follow to minimize and reduce swelling and bruising and increase patient comfort during recovery. Many patients will wear these bandages for several more days because they find them comfortable, and it is safe to do so.

What can I expect during recovery from my facial-fat transfer procedure?

Special care should be taken during the first few days immediately after the procedure and do everything they can to ensure their fat grafts remain healthy and survive in the treatment area. They should avoid unnecessary movements as much as possible; however, they can eat and talk as usual. Patients will also want to avoid actions such as bending and twisting as much as possible, especially during the first week of recovery, to protect their donor areas and allow them to heal more quickly and without complications.

What results can I expect from a facial-fat transfer procedure?

The overwhelming majority of patients who have a facial-fat transfer procedure will enjoy a restored and youthful fullness to the face which will significantly minimize and smooth many early aging signs such as wrinkles, lines, folds, sagging skin and facial hollows. Patients who have a facial-fat transfer treatment will also enjoy permanent results.

It is important to understand that to achieve your desired results that more fat will be transferred to the desired area than needed to achieve your final look. This is because only 60 percent of fat transferred to the treatment area will typically survive in the recipient site. In light of this factor, Dr. Birchall will determine the right amount of fat to transfer during your procedure to ensure each patient gets their final desired look after they have lost some of their transferred fat.

Nonetheless, Dr. Birchall will take as conservative an approach as possible to transferring fat during the procedure since fat transfers are permanent, and this will minimize the risk of adding too much volume to the treated areas. Because patients will receive their body’s own fat in the treatment area, their long-lasting results will look and feel very natural after they have completed their recovery.

Are there alternatives to facial-fat transfer procedures?

Patients who want facial rejuvenation but do not want a facial-fat transfer procedure have alternatives. Synthetic dermal fillers made of several body-safe compounds can also restore lost volume in facial areas and treat common early aging symptoms. However, synthetic fillers, unlike natural body fat, typically last no more than two years before being eventually absorbed by the body. Some synthetic fillers like BellaFill can last for up to five years or more, but natural body fat, on the other hand, can survive indefinitely. Also, patients who prefer synthetic options to treat early aging symptoms can have these fillers but will need regular touch-ups to maintain their desired look, and these can cost patients both time and money.

How do synthetic dermal fillers work?

Synthetic dermal fillers do not require surgery which is one advantage to them. Before a synthetic dermal filler procedure, the doctor will cleanse the treatment area with antiseptic, and if the patient wishes, they can also have a local anesthetic to increase their comfort while having their filler injections. However, many injectables already have an anesthetic within them, however, to maximize patient comfort throughout the procedure.

Next, the doctor will inject the filler into the desired areas to the pre-determined levels — carefully applying the filler in the quantity and depth required — to fulfill the patient’s final desired look. A synthetic dermal filler procedure can take between 15 and 30 minutes with no downtime before resuming their normal routine. This advantage of synthetic dermal fillers, however, comes at the cost of regular and frequent touch-ups to maintain the desired level of rejuvenation.

Which is right for me, natural or synthetic dermal fillers?

Which cosmetic treatment is right for you is a highly personal decision. Your ultimate goals play a key factor as do your preferences — whether you want an all natural solution, you are comfortable with a synthetic solution as well as how long you want or expect your results to last. Patients who aren’t sure if the final look they want now will work for them long-term may consider more temporary options and be happy with them. Other patients who feel more confident about the look they want will feel dissatisfied with temporary treatments and prefer a more permanent one.

Similarly, individuals have widely differing and personal opinions about how invasive a procedure they wish to have, and some will strongly prefer one option over another. Dr. Birchall can help walk you through all these considerations after carefully listening to and analyzing your current cosmetic goals, and he can help you choose the option or options that will best meet your needs — now and in the long-term. It’s OK for patients to have questions about what the right option is for them, especially if you have an experienced and compassionate resource like Dr. Birchall to help you sort through it all.

Get Started Today!

Visit Dermacare for your natural dermal filler treatment! Dr. Birchall and his staff at Dermacare deeply value their patients and always strive to offer them the most effective treatments with the highest levels of patient-focused service. These values come naturally from Dr. Birchall’s many years as a family practitioner, and they also serve the needs of his cosmetic patients very well. Dr. Birchall places a special emphasis on understanding his patients needs so that they get the treatments that will best realize their desired look, giving them the highest confidence and personal satisfaction.

Dermacare Laser & Skin Care is pleased to offer natural dermal fillers to help both men and women look younger and feel more refreshed. To answer your questions about this safe and effective skin rejuvenation treatment and to determine if it is right for you, call one of our offices today at 858-943-2443 (Rancho Bernardo) or 760-472-5088 (Carlsbad) and schedule your complimentary, in-person consultation. Dermacare looks forward to helping you look and feel your best today.