How Long Before Final Results from Fat Transfer in Tear Trough Can Be Seen?

I am considering Fat Transfer in the tear trough and I have been told by several doctors that they over correct the area due to the expected amount of fat that will die.

How long will it take for the overcorrected fat to be absorbed so I know when I look in the mirror that that is the final result? Also if there is too much of an overcorrection what is the best method to reduce the overcorrection of fat?

Doctor Answers 8

Fat Grafting in Tear Trough area

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

My approach to fat grafting is not to over-correct. It is dificult to know how much fat will persist. The objective is for the fat to build a blood supply and be permamant.

Overcorrecting can provide an extended recovery period at best, and a permanently distorted appearance for many. In some cases, a follow up fat grafting procedure could be desired.  

An unavoidable reality of fat grafting is that the degree of fat survival cannot be completely predicted nor can it be guaranteed. Fat survival will vary somewhat from patient to patient and from procedure to procedure. My impression is that many surgeons ‘manage’ this issue by overdoing it when they perform fat grafting surgeries, assuming that a significant amount of the grafted fat will not survive. This leaves patients vulnerable to an unnatural, over-grafted appearance if fat survival is greater than the surgeon expects.

Excessively full cheek volume is currently seen quite a bit in the media, and it is probably a consequence, at least in part, of the widespread popularity of temporary soft-tissue fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. Full cheeks are fine, to a point, but if overdone it can produce an extremely odd and unnatural appearance. It appears particularly unnatural on animation, as when the cheek volume increases with a full smile. Look carefully for excessively full cheeks in your surgeon’s ‘before and after’ photos, as the fullness you’ll get from fat grafting surgery is not temporary.

My approach is to graft fat to the point that the soft tissue contour is, in my opinion, aesthetically ideal but still quite natural-appearing. This eliminates any concern of an ‘over-grafted’ and unnatural appearance. In my practice we offer secondary fat grafting for areas that I have previously treated at a significantly discounted cost from the initial procedure. That allows patients to go into their surgery with confidence that (1) they will not have unnatural appearance after recovery from surgery and (2) any areas that require additional volume enhancement can be treated at a very reasonable cost. Areas which have thinner soft tissue thickness preoperatively - such as the lower-lid cheek junction - are the areas that are most likely to require secondary (and occasionally tertiary) fat grafting procedures.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Fat injections should not be overcorrected

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I absolutely disagree. Fat injection should not be overcorrected. With the present advancement in refining the technique there is no reaso to overcorrect. IF there is asymmetry then that can be corrected by another session of fat injection. If over corrected and the fat stays then it is very difficult to correct without surgery.

fat transfer is technique dependant and physician dependant. EXPERIENCE COUNTS. See a BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON WITH EXPERIENCE.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Fat transfer can take several treatments

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Greetings Danny,

With fat transfer, there is some amount of fat which will not survive or take. I always plan fat transfers as a multi stage procedure. Unfortunately, knowing exactly how much fat will not take is impossible. Recent studies of fat take in the cheeks has shown a range of almost nothing to almost 100% take in the studied patients. You mention overcorrection. I tend not to overcorrect because I can't determine how much fat will take. If you are fortunate and most of the fat survives, it is almost impossible to remove excess. Therefore, I would suggest if overcorrection is done, it is minimal.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fat injections for tear trough

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

More than any other procedure I have done, fat injections do not consistently provide the same results even in the same patient when performed mulitple times within a series of treatments. Fat injections are often done as multiple treatments. Some results are better in the first treatment while other patients have results better in subsequent treatments; it is hard to determine the percent of viable fat after one procedure. If the fat is injected over the muscle, it might be more noticable as bumps when the injections "take". some fat doesn't live in the new environment. It may take three to six months or even a year or more for the fat to stabilize. Injecting under the muscle may provide a smoother result, but the hosting environment may not allow the fat to live as well as the plane above the muscle. If there is overcorrection that does not decrease with time, the fat may be injected with a low concentration of corticosteroid, but there is a risk of cataract development and over thinning of the fat or a depression of the skin which might need filler to raise it up again.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Fat transfer to tear trough

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is important to have this area done by someone who has experience. Fat transfer to the tear trough can be tricky. Overcorrection is performed by most plastic surgeons in order to avoid a second correction of the area. This overcorrection together with local swelling can take up to 6 months to resolve while some of the dead fat is being absorbed.

Time to see results following fat injection

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Generally, at 3 weeks following the procedure, you should have an impression of the final result. However, it will take somewhere around 6 months to truly know the permanent effects of the surgery as it does with any facial surgery.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Final results from fat transfer in tear trough

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In some you see immediate results in others there is marked swelling and black& blue for months. And in others there is a minimal to no result. So your question though thoughtful is very hard to give accurate advise. It is a 'leap of faith' so to speak. 

Fat Transfer to Lower Eye Lid Tear Trough

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Danny,

The tear trough is a very delicate and tricky area to treat with fat transfer. Approximately 40 to 60% of transfered fat will live after transplantation. It takes about 5 to 6 months for the fat to settle, for the fat cells that are not going to make it to be reabsorbed. After 5 to 6 months, what is left is live fat cells, they should be there for life. It is much easier to add more fat in this area than to have to remove extra fat, so it is better to be conservative. Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 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.