When is a Facial Fat Transfer Considered Successful?

 How Long Should I Wait After a Facial Fat Transfer to Consider That the Operation Succeeded?

Doctor Answers 21

Successful Fat Transfer

This is a great question. A successful facial fat grafting procedure means that unwanted hollows have been filled, but filled in a way that makes your face and your skin look more youthful and well proportioned.  Not Over-filled. My fat grafting gallery (below) includes dozens of examples of fat grafting. In some cases, people may feel like they had a wonderful improvement after a single session, with no need for future touch ups. In other cases, a fraction of the fat may be reabsorbed and to achieve the goal a patient has, more fat could potentially be added . In that case, at some point in the future, that person may to elect to have a follow up fat grafting procedure in the future.

In my practice, we provide a quote for secondary procedures before a patient even goes through the first session of fat grafting. may people do not feel the need for a secondary procedure, but we want to be transparent and provide the very specific details including costs of possible future treatments.

Some plastic surgeons elect to "overfill" fat with the idea that some fat will be reabsorbed. The truth is, an overfilled face looks overfilled. It looks unnatural, unattractive and lumpy. It is not a risk I am willing to take with my patients. 

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

Fat Transfer and results

I have been doing Fat Transfer for 25 years and the wayt he fat is removed from the body is pertinent to it's absorption rate. The fat must be removed under a low pressure suction or by hand syringe and then purified and injected into the needed areas. Some of the fat will dissipate and the rest will secure a good blood supply allowing it to take and stabilize. In the first three to four months you will be able to see the majority of the volume that will stay present. Do give your procedure some time and discuss any concerns regarding the success of your procedure with your surgeon. This will hopefully give you some peace of mind!

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Fat grafts

There's no right answer here.  Certainly by 3 months, "What you have is what you get."  But I guess, what you're really after is "Can I tell sooner than that if what I have is going to stay?"  In most people, you can get a pretty good sense around 6 weeks about what will stay and what will go. 

Robert K. Sigal, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

When fat transfers are successful

Fat transfers in to the face have become very important in rejuvenation and are a part of most facelifts as volume loss is a component of aging. The grafts will fill hollows, folds and restore volume and are considered a success after about three months of healing. Often the grafts will be repeated and layered to increase the fill and contour after that time.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Successful fat transfer

You can expect to see the outcome of fat grafting techniques at about 3 months after surgery.  Your result at 3 months usually represents your result after your swelling and fat absorption as taken place.

Delio Ortegon, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Fat transfer

We see long term result if the correction persists approximately 2-3 months after surgery.

Mohsen Tavoussi, MD, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

How long does it take after fat transfer to get final result?

Fat transfer, if done well, can be extremely rewarding and successful.  This is a highly specialized procedure that requires both experience and expertise.  Fat transfer relies on establishing a blood supply in order for there to be a permanent result.  You will see this by 2-3 months in most cases.  However, in some cases, the fat can take a bit of a dip during this period followed by a rebound starting at 6 months and continuing for another 1 to 2 years following the transfer.  

Amir M. Karam, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Successful Facial Fat Transfer typically seen at 3 months

Hi canada2078 in canada,

Fat injection is a good option for non-surgical facial rejuvenation, including lip augmentation or cheek enhancement. Fat may provide natural, soft enhancement of the cheeks, lips, and under eye areas. Fat is typically harvested from the abdomen or flanks, purified, and injected into the desired areas.

However, there is a certain level of unpredictability with fat injections as always less than 100% of the fat survives long-term. In addition, the face continues to age naturally, so touch-ups may be required for some patients. Typically, plastic surgeons will judge results between 2-3 months. Some plastic surgeons may not judge results until 1-2 years after treatment, due to very slow changes to the skin and surrounding tissue. The injected fat may actually improve the treated area beyond the fat itself, felt due to the largely poorly understood stem cell effect.

Speak with a plastic surgeon who can provide a comprehensive evaluation and help determine appropriate options for you. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Facial fat transfer results a 3 months should last

There is always some swelling, and the potential for some fat injected to tha face to not "take" but after a few months, the fat cells will be gone unless they are healthy and living. Most of what you see at 3 months tends to be very long lasting.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Survival of Facial Fat Transfer

In my experience with fat liposculpture over the last 25 years I've generally found that what you see after 3 months is the final result. It's been reported that the grafted area can enlarge months and years later, but I've never experienced it with my patients.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 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.