How does a face that had fat grafting done in mid 30s look 10, 20, 30 years later?

Does extra fat in the face cause sagging due to weight? Will I regret the procedure when I'm older?

Doctor Answers 5

Judicious addition of fat to the face should not cause sagging or regret later

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Done properly, the idea with grafting fat to the face is to restore the normal volumes that have been lost in very specific key areas of the face as a result of aging or certain disease processes.  Thus, the volumes of fat that are injected are very small, relatively speaking, and the fat is injected into certain specific areas where there already are fat pads which have become smaller as aging has progressed.  Tissues that lose their tone and support over time will still do so, and when that happens a lifting procedure, like a facelift or eyelid tuck is required.  But, I think this will be the case regardless of whether fat was injected or not, that is, if the fat grafting was done properly.  While techniques and processes for fat transfer continue to evolve and improve every year, and we know so much more about it than we did when it first started to become popular in the 1990's - which is almost 30 years ago - if you look at the majority of patients who had the procedure done back then by surgeons who really knew what they were doing and did a good, artistic job of it, I think you will find that the results are long lasting, and they have not caused any more sagging or laxity of tissues than we would have expected regardless.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

How does a face that had fat grafting done in mid 30s look 10, 20, 30 years later?

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When we do an autologous fat transfer, we use a "stem cell rich" form of fat that is harvested in a particular way. The harvest technique is designed to maximize the numbers of free and available mesenchymal lipid derived stem cells. These stem cells seem to improve fat graft survival and enhance graft longevity. The aging process, however, will proceed along but your baseline "age" will be quite reset! Good luck!

Difficult question to answer

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You ask a good question.

I think it's difficult for anyone to give you an accurate answer.

I don't know of anyone who has four would be willing to have fat transfer done to one side of their face only in order to do a long term comparison.
While there are patients who have now transferred for at least 20 years.

The procedure became popularized in the late 1990s. There are not as many patients who have had fat transfer to the face for more than 30 years.
We do know that a certain percentage of the fat is permanent after five transfer.

We also know that most patients lose substantial amounts of facial volume as we age.

My best guess would be to say that patients who have had successful facial fat transfer when it was indicated will spend the next 10, 20 and 30 years overall looking better then if they would not have had the procedure.

Mats Hagstrom M.D.


Mats Hagstrom, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Long term fat grafting

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Hello. The fat that takes is permanent. If your weight is stable, the size of fat will remain stable. It won't stop gravity's effects however. There are some preventative/maintenance things that can be done to help

Cain R. Linville, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

How does a face that had fat grafting done in mid 30's look later?

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Thank you for your question. Fat grafting in the face can help you look more youthful at all future points in time as the fat that takes will aid in supporting your tissues and will maintain the facial volume that represents youth. The amount of fat grafted is often an overall small amount and will not cause additional sagging due to weight.  Hope this helps

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

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