Is there an alternative to fat transfer during a lower face lift?

The laxity in my cheeks, jaw line and neck needs to be repaired but because I am thin, I have no fat to transfer back into my face. Will this negate the results or is there an alternative to fat transfer?

Doctor Answers 13

Procedure Options for the Lower Face

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During your #consultation, your skin texture and elasticity, as well as your underlying skin structure and your facial bone structure will be evaluated. Based on this evaluation, your board certified plastic surgeons will create a custom surgical plan, detailing specific techniques and recommendations to meet your goals. In doing so, he or she should be sure to have a full understanding of what results you expect.

If you are not a #candidate, your surgeon can make other suggestions to address your concerns and objectives.
Patients who desire facial rejuvenation that is affordable, quick, and effective should consider the Lite-lift™. Like the Life-Style™ facelift, this is a modified facelift that can be performed in the office with a local anesthetic and improve signs of aging around the neck, jawbone and lower face. These procedures are not "Thread-lifts" or "String-lifts". We do not use the "barbed" sutures employed in these other lifting operations. The Lite-lift™ uses longer lasting techniques that are discussed below. Because the incisions are limited, there is less bruising, swelling and healing time for most patients. Many patients can be back to work in one to two weeks looking rested and more youthful.
The best candidates for #LiteLift are non-smoking patients 35-60 years old with early changes of the lower face and the neck. But whose skin has elasticity with well defined bone structure. Older patients who cannot or do not wish to have a longer operation or general anesthetic may also be a candidate for a Lite Lift™.

It is also possible to #combine #surgeries. In fact, I commonly recommend other procedures to go accompany a facelift, such as blepharoplasty or a midface (cheek) lift, to name a few. The combination of multiple of facial procedures may create an optimal result.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Chee fat alternativeks

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If the intention is to add volume in the face  a filler is an option but if  we want to add volume to the chick are because you have lost the volume in that area  The lifting of the SMAS can give you more volume in projection to that areas

Is there an alternative to fat transfer during a lower face lift?

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Yes, for patients who do not want to have fat transfer, or do not have enough fat to transfer, there are options that include syringe based fillers (Radiesse, Voluma, Juvederm Ultra, etc), and after healed the use of Sculptra can be very effective. 

Replenishing the volume that is lost through aging is important in order to maximize the results from surgery and to provide a more youthful, refreshed appearance.

The attached link provides more information.

I hope this helps.

Timothy R. Miller, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Fat Transfer Alternative

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Thank you for your question.  The lower facelift will contour your jawline and neckline, becoming smoother and having a youthful appearance, from the SMAS muscle and skin being targeted.  This can help create what appears more definition towards your cheek bones, a little more volume could be added through the use of dermal filler.  It is fairly typically for patients to have cheek filler to create more volume and help enhance that youthful bone structure.  This is only temporary, lasting 6-9 months, however is a good alternative to fat grafting.  Please make sure you find a reputable and qualified plastic surgeon who can assess you properly to give you a realistic idea of what outcome you can achieve.  All The Best 

Volume replacement and facelift surgery

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While facelift surgery is very helpful to help redefine facial contours it also helps to guide volume replacement.  When much of the skin and deeper tissue laxity is eliminated it becomes very apparent that less volume may be needed in certain areas of the face.  So in terms of actual syringes of injectable filler needed there is a greater return on investment so to speak - that is improved results with less volume that is better targeted to areas of need.  So good alternatives to fat grafting include injectable HA (hyaluronic acid) fillers as well as Sculptra (an injectable volumizer that stimulated collagen production).  

J. David Holcomb, MD
Sarasota Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 32 reviews


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Fillers are a good alternative to fat transfer during facelift surgery.  Not all facelift patients need fat at the time of surgery.  Consult with highly experienced board certified plastic surgeons for an in person exam.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Facelift with SMAS, Z lift

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Thin women with little fat are not good candidates for fat transfer. I have been doing fat transfer for 30 years and from what you say you are not a candidate for fat transfer. A liquid face lift can be achieved with a combination of fillers Radiesse, Voluma, Juvederm and or Restylane. It is possible to reposition your underlying tissue, jowls and platysma superiorly with a SMAS facelift. This would have the longest lasting results. The fillers last on average a year, at best two years. A SMAS face lift can last 5 to 10 years and for some elderly patients it is a lifetime and game changer. see a board certified ASAPS plastic surgeon in consultation who can do the whole gamut of procedures that can help you achieve your goals.

Good luck...

Larry Weinstein, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Fat transfer alternative

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Fat transfer for adding fullness to your cheeks can be substituted with Juvederm Voluma or Sculptra. Juvederm Voluma provides immediate results. Sculptra requires multiple (approximately 6) treatments at approximately 8-10 week intervals and leads to a gradual increase in fullness of the cheeks and other parts of the face.  The correction achieved with Juvederm Voluma lasts 18-24 months, with a touch up at 9-11 months. The improvement from Sculptra can last 2 years or longer. I recommend consulting with a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist who has experience with both products. 

Renuka Diwan, MD
Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon


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There are so many terrific alternatives to fat- Voluma is a filler that lasts 2 years- and Volbella is terrific for the lower lids, whereas fat is not reversible, these are both reversible.

I like fat, but not in the lower lids, because they are so thin- fat is less predictable...

Melanie L. Petro, MD
Birmingham Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Is there an alternative to fat transfer during a lower face lift?

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The definition of facial rejuvenation varies from surgeon to surgeon and means different things to different patients. In general it is the process to try to reverse the facial appearance caused by aging. It may involve improving the skin texture and complexion, diminishing skin discoloration, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, contouring hollows, or tightening loose tissue that has lost its elasticity. There are a variety of procedures, both non-surgical and surgical which can be utilized to achieve these various goals. Fillers, Botox or Dysport, micro-fat grafts, chemical peels, a skin care program, lasers, skin tightening, and surgical lifts are some of the methods that are used to achieve a cosmetic improvement. Each has advantages and disadvantages as well as limitations of what they can achieve. The best technique or combination of procedures depends on desired outcome, individual anatomy, underlying medical health, and extent of aging. There is no one approach that is ideal for everyone.

I would suggest you find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) that you trust and are comfortable with who has all of the modalities of treatment available. You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person. Facial rejuvenation needs to be individualized. What would be an ideal approach for one patient is not necessarily the same for someone else. Based on the examination and discussion at the consultation, you should have a better understanding of the various options that can achieve the best cosmetic result for you.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 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.