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How Long Will I Be Swollen from Fat Grafting?

I'm on day 6 after having a fat transfer to my cheeks and I'm not sure how swollen I am. I'm hoping that I'm still quite swollen, because my cheeks are too big. I'm also quite bruised. How much longer before I look presentable? I understand that all of the swelling will take weeks to resolve, but I just want to know when I'll look good, not fat. Thanks!

Doctor Answers (10)

Swelling after Fat Transfer: Whats the down time ?


Hello and thank you for the question.

Swelling after fat transfer has a variable window depending on several issues including the amount of fat transfer that was performed, the "depth" with which the transfer was performed, and how many areas were treated. The time it takes for total resolution of swelling can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. I would recommend following up with your clinician to get a better estimate as to what your post-operative course will most likely be.


Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Web reference:

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

The worst part about fat transfer is the postop swelling


Fat transfer is a fantastic technique to rejuevenate the face with natural appearing permanent volume.  It is personally my favored technique for facial rejuvenation.  

Advantages: no incisions, minimal pain, exceedingly rare risk of overcorrection, relatively permanent results in comparison to fillers, low rate of complications (as long as the fat is not injected too superfically!)

Disadvantages: trip to the operating room, cost is typically higher than fillers, 1-2 weeks of bruising, 3-6 weeks of swelling

One week after fat transfer is absolutely normal to have some bruising and apparently "over filled" cheeks.  It takes time for the fat grafts to settle down and for the inflammation (that causes the swelling) to subside.  Occasionally if patients are in need of a short term swelling fix for a social situation, a short dose of oral steroids (Medrol Dosepak) can be quite helpful.

Bottom line: be patient- your observations seem quite normal!

Good luck

Austin Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Swelling after fat transfer


This is the most common question asked in my practice and the hardest to answer.  The reason for that is that everyone heals differently.  I could do the exact same procedure with nearly the exact same technique on ten different patients and have each one of them respond differently.  In general, the edema associated with fat transfer to the face is present for a minimum of 3 weeks and has completely resolved by 6 weeks in most of my patients.  

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Fat transfer and swelling

Swelling after facial fat transfers takes at least three weeks to go away and you may have some residual swelling for a few weeks to follow. This also depends on the technique used and the amount of fat transfer implanted. Your surgeon should be able to reassure you regarding this matter. You also stated that you were "quit bruised" which will prolong your recovery. You may ask your surgeon about using arnica either topically or orally to help expedite the recovery process. You should be looking good soon and back to your normal schedule. Best regards!

Web reference:

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Bruising and Swelling After Fat Transfer


Yours is the thousand dollar question after cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately everyone is different and some patients can be bruised for a month or sometimes more after fat transfer surgery. Swelling should resolve as well in about a month though a bit of swelling can be present for longer. I would talk with your surgeon to see how much of the fullness is swelling and how much is fat that was placed if you are concerned.

Web reference:

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

The FAMI technique of fat transfer to the face heals quickly


The FAMI technique of fat transfer to the face heals quickly. The FAMI technique refers to fat injections using the muscles of facial expression as a guide. Fat grafting randomly under the skin may swell for a longer period of time lasting 1-3 months.

Chicago Dermatologist
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Fat injections can take several weeks to reduce swelling


Fat injections may cause different extent of swelling depending on the amount of work involved in the implantation process, and the different levels of introduction of the fat. If muscle is injected, then swelling is greater than if only the fatty layer is treated. Several weeks of swelling can occur.

Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Swelling and bruising after facial fat grafting will resolve in 2-3 weeks.


With less bruising, there is typically less swelling and potentially faster recovery, but the face is very vascular, and some bruising is common. This can prolong swelling to some degree, but most swelling and bruising should be resolved by two to three weeks after placement. Over-correction is typically done to help compensate for the inevitable loss of some of the grafted fat, which reabsorbs over several weeks to months. I believe it takes at least several months to determine just how much of your grafted fat survives, and if additional grafting is recommended.

Web reference:

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

How long for face lift swelling to resolve after fat graftng.


Swelling after facial fat grafting generally takes at least 3 weeks before you can assess fat graft take and another 3 weeks to see if the volume has been maintained.

Web reference:

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Swelling after fat grafting.

How long it will take to go away depends on how it was done. Ask your surgeon and he will be better able to tell you.
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

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.

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