How Soon After a Facelift Can Fat or Fillers Be Injected?

I am having a lower face/neck lift with a good surgeon in Canada, however I need fat injections or fillers to lateral chin and mouth areas to correct microlipo deformities. He won't do fat at the time of the lift. I'm assuming that fat transfer should be done after the surgery and not before. Thanks in advance.

Doctor Answers 6

Facelift Plus Fat Grafting

Lifting skin and trimming the excess has been the standard approach to the treatment of facial aging for centuries, but when performed without some means of restoring the youthful fullness of facial soft tissues, the result is an older-looking person with tighter skin. The word 'rejuvenation' means literally 'to restore youthfulness' or 'to make young again', so if the goal of surgery is to rejuvenate the face then it cannot be accomplished solely by means of redraping the skin and removing the excess.
In my practice fat grafting is not an afterthought that is thrown into the surgical plan for the occasional patient. It is a key component of almost every major facial rejuvenation surgery that I perform. It is in fact that very first part of the surgical procedure for my patients undergoing a full facial rejuvenation surgery.
Fat grafting also gives the surgeon the ability to provide a minimally invasive, quick recovery solution for some of the earliest signs of facial aging, in many patients long before they could or should consider a more involved (and much longer recovery) procedure like a facelift. Most people show evidence of facial soft tissue atrophy in their thirties, long before they develop the degree of skin laxity that warrants skin redraping and removal. So younger patients now have a means for 'turning the clock back' by maintaining or restoring facial fullness through structural fat grafting. These enhancements look beautiful and natural, not like surgery, and over and over I hear fat grafting patients tell me that "none of my friends or co-workers can figure out why I look so great".

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Timing of Facelift and Fillers or Fat Transfer

Facelift and Fat Transfer or injectable Fillers Are Complementary and typically are done at the time of your facelift. If additional fillers are desired and appropriate then I would wait until you can see the final results from your facelift and the suppleness has returned to your tissues. For most patients this is 3 or more months after a mini-lift such as the LiteLift that I perform, or after 6 months following a traditional facelift.

As you age by three factors - sagging (through gravity and time), loss of volume (counteracted by fillers), and skin texture (determined by environmental and genetic factors). Fillers should enhance your effect of the lifting if placed appropriately by addressing one of the causes of aging. 

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Fat Grafting and face lift

Considering where you are needing the fat transfer, I would do the fat transfer at the same time with the face lift.

The chin and the mouth skin is not going to be lifted therefore you can do the fat graft at the same time

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Facelift and free Fat graft or transfer

I agree with the other surgeons. The best time to do the Fat grafting is at the time of the Facelift. Not only do you combine recovery times and save money but the survival rate of the grafted fat is dependent on

  1. the size of the grafted segments of fat and techniques of harvesting/injection
  2. the location on the body grafted
  3. the depth at which the grafts are placed

The deeper you go towards muscle the better the blood supply, the better the graft survival and the less lumpy the final result. In the face grafts deep to the SMAS layer take better.

The depth of graft placement is most easily and reliably assessed at the time of the face lift surgery.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Fat Transfer in Facelift

I am not certain why to wait, I certainly do fat grafting at the time of the facelift to enhance my results. But once the surgery is performed, I want my patients to wait about 6 months time before I consider fat injections or fillers.

The ideal is to have the swelling in the area subside completely so I can see what I am trying to correct.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Facelift and Fat Transfer or Fillers

Most Plastic surgeons combine fat transfer with Face / Neck Lifts because of the convenience and the fact that the swelling from both procedures can thereby be experienced at the same time. I am not quite sure why your surgeon prefers to wait.

If the sole reason for the suggested fillers or fat transfer is correction of "microlipo deformities" of the "lateral chin and mouth areas " and your surgeon wants to see how these areas do after the swelling from the face/neck lift subsides, you could probably get an idea 3-4 weeks after the surgery.

Good Luck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 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.