Why Facial Transferred Fat is Being Absorbed Just After One Week?

My facial skin has been injected by 40 cc of fat harvested from my abdomen by a syringe-attached cannula. Fat was purified by normal saline and then centrifuged in 2000 rpm for 3-5 minutes and then injected via a cannula into my skin, deep and superficially. My appearance was very fine and all of imperfections include scars, sunken eyes, sunken cheeks and .. were masked. just during one week around 80% of fat is absorbed! and it yet continues! Is it adipocytes shrinkage of permanent absorption?!

Doctor Answers 6

Likely resolution of swelling

What you are noticing one week after surgery is most likely the resolution of swelling after the surgery, and not the atrophy of the fat.

The final result of the fat will be apparent sometime between 2-3 months.

As far as how much fat "stays behind vs gets absorbed":  most surgeons would say that 40-60% of the fat stays behind. Now, there is absolutely now way that we can accurately determine that, since although we know how many cc's we inject, there is no test available  for us to actually determine how much stays behind.Some of these answers may become available with MRI studies, but none exists right now.

Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fat Transfer to Face

Fat transfer involves transferring fat from an area such as the stomach, thighs or love handles, to an area of volume loss-often in the face. Some areas of the face maintain transferred fat better than others, usually stationary areas such as the lower eyes and cheeks rather than the lips, do better. There is usually a honeymoon period of swelling that lasts one to two weeks, after which the swelling subsides and patients are sometimes disappointed. The good news is, the fat is usually still there, and if you look at your "before" pictures you will likely see improvement. Some of the fat cells may be lost in the following months, and at six months to one year, you can consider your results "permanent."

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Fat Grafting should be permanent

For fat grafting to truly represent 'grafting', the grafted tissue must gain a blood supply in its new location which provides a source of oxygen and nutrients and allows the tissue to persist indefinitely. If the grafted fat does not acquire a blood supply in the first few weeks after surgery, the body will gradually break it down and dissolve it, and no long-term benefit will be achieved in terms of soft tissue augmentation. Successful fat grafting surgery therefore requires a great deal of focus and attention to detail, to ensure that the fat which is harvested is viable tissue (i.e. not damaged by the harvesting process), and that the fat is delivered in such a way that the potential for ingrowth of blood vessels is maximal. If this process of blood vessel ingrowth (neovascularization) does not occur, then the injected tissue cannot truly be considered a 'graft' and is instead just another 'soft tissue filler' of limited duration.

Fat grafting has been performed by plastic surgeons for decades, but it is just in the last ten years or so that techniques and instruments have been refined to the point that it can be accomplished reproducibly and reliably, making it an increasingly important part of facial rejuvenation surgery. The term 'structural fat grafting' refers to a specific surgical technique in which small amounts (less than 0.1 cc at a time) of fat are carefully microinjected in a series of discrete layers to gradually 'build' new soft tissue structure. As there is space between each microinjection, new blood vessels are able to grow into the grafted fat, allowing it to persist long-term.

Structural fat grafting requires specialized training and specialized surgical instruments, as well as patience, finesse and attention to detail on the part of the surgeon. When performed properly, permanent and natural-appearing improvements in facial contours are possible. This revolutionary technique provides a means for restoring a youthful facial appearance that cannot be accomplished by means of traditional facial cosmetic surgery techniques, which have in the past focused primarily on skin excision for the purpose of 'tightening' facial features.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Fat resorption after transfer

With my patients I usually tell then to expect only about 40-60 % of the fat to remain after six weeks.  I do not normally centrifuge the fat, as studies have shown extended centrifuge times can break down the fat cells.  In addition you will be more swollen than from the fat alone, as the body is attempting to adjust to the new fat.  This initial swelling usually resolves in a couple weeks, and might be more of what you are seeing, not actual fat loss.


Robert Kratschmer, MD 

Robert Kratschmer, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Facial Fat Transfer Absorption

        I would ask your plastic surgeon what results have been seen with his or her other patients and compare before and afters.  The problem with fat grafting is that the first time patients see themselves after surgery they are usually quite swollen.  Everything looks great.  I have observed about 80% take in the face, but I do think there is variability.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Fat transfer surgery

Dear RezaD,

  • I would bring this up to your surgeon
  • Everyone has different fat injection techniques so it is not standardized
  • It will be up to their experience
  • Also, compare before and after pictures to see results


Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

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