Is fat transfer to the face safe? What is a safe way to increase collagen?

I am 60 years old pale Asian and a plastic surgeon recommended that I get Fat Transfer to my face instead of injecting Voluma. This sound good until I did research and read the numerous bad reviews. I would like to improve my appearance but don't know what to do? What is a safe way to increase collagen?

Doctor Answers 5

Fat Transfer to Face Safe?

In the hands of a well trained, experienced, and thoughtful plastic surgeon, facial fat transfer is safe and effective. Part of the reason that there are numerous bad reviews is that on the surface it appears to be an easy and simple procedure and consequently it is attempted by many unqualified and untrained physicians (many of whom are often not even trained surgeons). The results, as would be expected, are frequently unsatisfactory or worse. So the quality of outcome has much more to do with the surgeon and not necessarily the procedure.

Voluma is an effective long lasting Hyalauronic Acid filler, but there are downsides as well. First of all, it is a foreign material and there is a low risk of some type of adverse reaction. Voluma is also expensive and most patients will need multiple syringes injected to achieve a significant volume change. As a result, patients can end up paying thousands of dollars for only a very modest change in volume in limited areas. On the other hand, fat transfer is far more versatile and can be used almost anywhere in the face. Also, most patients have what is an almost unlimited supply of donor fat, as far as the face is concerned, so for the same amount of expense patients can get far more benefit.

Safe and effective collagen building in the skin of an Asian can be challenging because their skin is predisposed to hyperpigmentation. Most collagen building treatments involve some ablation of the skin surface which can result in hyperpigmentation. Some type of treatment that avoids ablating the skin surface (as with some radiofrequency devices) would likely be a safer option. Interestingly, most plastic surgeons note an improvement in the quality of the skin that overlies the area of fat transfer, which may have something to do with stem cells, and this in not seen with Voluma injections.

Fat grafting is safe

Dear sc0815Fat grafting is a natural way to improve facial volume. Like any procedure there are some risks involved, such as contour irregularity, but this risk is uncommon if proper technique and volume is used. Fat grafting achieves a more natural look than most fillers, and is a more permanent solution. However, it can be a bit less predictable on how much fat will survive. Our understanding of fat  grafting leads us to predict that about half of the fat that we inject, becomes vascularized and viable. Half of the fat will resorb. However this 50% number is not a hard and fast rule and some patients do better than others. Voluma is a more predictable result, but the costs can be quite high if many vials are needed, and it is not as long lasting as fat grafting. Both techniques are excellent, and choice depends on surgeon experience and patients preference.Below is an example of fat grafting in an Asian patient.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Facial Sculpting Using Fillers Like Voluma, Radiesse, Lyft, Juvederm and Sculptra and Fat; Buccal Fat Pad; Botox; Liposuction

you can use a combination of treatments to improve the face including fillers, fat, implants and sculptra.  Please see an expert for treatment options.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Is fat transfer to the face safe? What is a safe way to increase collagen?

Thank you for your question. If you do have facial volume loss with aging, fat grafting can be a great solution for correcting that problem. In the right hands, this procedure can be very safe and effective. Make sure you see a qualified, board certified, provider. Best of luck!

Fat grafting is safe

Fat grafting is a very safe and natural way to rejuvenate the face.  It works great on women of Asian decent such as the example below.  The only issue with grafting is that it cannot be predicted what percentage of the fat each patient will hold on to.  AS far as you other question, fat grafting adds volume but does not really increase collagen.  For collagen production you want to look into Ultherapy and Fraxel.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 222 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.