Can Fat Grafting Fix Displaced Facial Tissues?

I'm a twenty-eight year old male recently judged a suitable canditate for fat-transfer by a surgeon here in Eastern Canada. The problem I presented with was significant displacement of tendons and tissue, a sort of drooping on the right side of my face stemming from 15 years of sucking my thumb and pulling everything far from where it should be.

The tissue supposed to be tucked around my nose, for example, has been displaced as least as far as the corner of my mouth, and in some parts even down to my jawline.

Can fat grafting compensate for these (non-skeletal) structural deviations? My concern is that adding fat on top of a displaced foundation could actually exaggerate the imperfections and end up making things worse. Since this is an irreversible procedure, I would greatly value any insight that could be given.

Doctor Answers 5

Fat Grafting for Reconstructive Purposes

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Fat Grafting for  is an excellent tool for reconstructive purposes to fill in areas from lipoatrophy, and soft tissue deficits from both congenital and acquired deformities (e.g. tumor removal, post traumatic deformity). Without examining you or at least detailed photos it would be hard to say if it would be the right treatment for you. Seeing a reputable board certified plastic surgeon would be a good starting place to see if Fat Grafting is the right procedure for you.

Fat grafting for asymmetry

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fat grafting can be a great option for facial asymmetry, especially if related to volume loss

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Fat grafting to the face

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Fat grafting is a very powerful and effective technique to recontour the face. This technique has been used to help rejuvenate the face, camouflage areas of lipoatrophy or birth defects, and help correct scars. A successful result is dependent on the quality of fat that is used in the technique in which it is applied. You may be a good candidate for fat grafting to the face. Be sure that you're working with board-certified plastic surgeon with regular experience not only in fat grafting techniques but also in facial corrected and rejuvenation surgery. Such an expert will be able to assess the quality of your skin and determine if you have enough volume for the fat grafts and if your skin is of good quality to accept the grafts and produce a natural result

Can fat grafting fix displaced facial tissues?

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Dear Royce,

I somewhat agree with the previous posting but would like to go further.

As Plastic surgeons, we are visual people. We reach decisions, we plan and we execute surgical decisions based on visual data. Most importantly, we are judged based on the visual outcomes of our procedures.

As such, it is very hard to give accurate advice without visual data (IE pictures). If you are a fan of the Sat AM "Car Talk" on NPR, you will know what I mean. Callers ask for help with car issues of 2 Boston based brothers, often poorly imitating car sounds to help in diagnosis. Other listeners smile, but I wince in understanding thinking about all the times my advice is solicited without being able to see or examine.

IN YOUR CASE - I agree with your hunch.

Fat does NOT lift. Fat fills. period. If a lift is indicated - a lifting procedure should be done; if you accept the potential risks involved. But - putting fat in an already sagging, joweled area will not lift it and, yes, as you wondered, will sag as you continue to age.

If you want more input, place a close up photo from front, sides. You can photoshop a rectangle over the eyes for privacy. I believe you may get a LOT more suggestions from my colleagues on what they may then do.

Hope this was helpful.

Peter A Aleda, MD

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Improved facial balance should be the goal

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It is very difficult to comment specifically on your situation and anatomy without high-quality photographs or, better even, an examination.

In general, fat grafting can help balancing facial proportions by adding volume to areas of deficiency. The result of 3-dimensional volume changes are usually rather subtle. If you have areas of soft tissue fullness (i.e. lower face), then increasing the volume in other regions (high cheeks) can enhance the face by redistributing the facial accent.

Although it can be difficult to visualize these changes beforehand, your plastic surgeon should be able to explain his aesthetic plan.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 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.