Are Fat Injections Necessary Before Facelift?

Hi Doctors, I'm a bit confused--some doctors favor fat injections while others say stay clear. I have been offered fat injections to upper lids, cheeks, nasolabial folds and marrionette lines along with a facelift.

I am now wondering if I really should have the injections as so many people are unhappy and the doctors are not in agreement. Thank you for any answer you can give about this.

Doctor Answers 6

Are fat injections necessary before facelift?


"I have been offered fat injections to upper lids, cheeks, nasolabial folds and marrionette lines along with a facelift."

1. The danger of blindness and injury to the eye globe being VERY high and the benefits being so few due to the thinness of the skin, No ethical surgeon would EVER inject fat into the upper lids. if this indeed is what happened, I would find another surgeon.

2. As we age 2 processes take place, we lose facial bone mass AND we lose fat from our faces giving rise to the deflated face look. IF your face is deflated in certain areas, you would lose nothing (except for post operative swelling and potential incomplete "take" of fat grafts) by having fat grafting of those areas.

BUT - if there are areas that bother you, then I would do it only to restore the youthful upside tapered face, not to just squirt fat in there.

3. I would NOT do it before a facelift if you are planning on having a Facelift since it can easily be done at the time of a Facelift.

4. If you were asking would fat injections do away with the need / benefit of a Facelift ? NO they would not. Fat grafting does not lift and reposition fallen tissues, it only fills the tissue where is sits now.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A Aldea, MD, FACS

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

The short answer is no

The concept and practice of fat injections has been around for some time. In recent years, it has received a newer ground swell of interest. The efficacy and safety of the procedure is somewhat debatable, but certain facts will remain true:

1) Fat injections will not replace a Facelift for an individual who needs a Facelift.

2) Fat injections are very technique dependent. Some surgeons get great results, many do not.

3) Fat injections carry with them the native properties of the fat cells (adipocytes). When you gain weight, the injected fat cells can be expected to increase in size.

4) Fat injections can be less predictable than fillers in results. In addition, fat injections carry the morbidity of a donor site harvest, which is not necessary with fillers.

Fat injections are designed to restore volume. If this is a physical finding which can be improved upon aesthetically, fat injections may help you. However, fillers remain as very effective alternative in correcting volume deficiency

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Fat injections can be useful together with facelift.


As we age, we lose volume in our upper face.  So fat injections or fat transfer can improve the results of a facelift.

The problem is that fat injections are quite difficult to do well.   So ask to see lots of before and after pictures.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Fat Injections for Facial Rejuvenation

There isn't one correct answer. The anatomy and desires of every patient are unique.

Some plastic surgeons inject fat exclusively into the face and avoid traditional facial plastic surgery. Some plastic surgeons always add fat injections, in addition to, traditional facial plastic surgery. Some plastic surgeons avoid fat injections all together, although this group is likely in the minority. Each of these groups of plastic surgeons will have great results and suboptimal results.

Fat injections are typically given in the nasolabial folds, marionette line, cheek areas, and prejowl areas. Upper eyelid fat injections are less common, and more often avoided by plastic surgeons.

Plastic surgery is a balance and compromise of patient anatomy, desires and expectations, plastic surgeon training and expertise, and safety. Only after a comprehensive evaluation can a plastic surgeon determine the best option for you. Best of luck.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Fat transfer needed befroe facelift?

They are not "necessary" but are a common adjunct to enhancing the final result.  Even without a facelift they are used as a filler would be used; to enhance volume, not correct age related descent of tissues.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.