Recommend Facial Fat Transfer for 74-year-old Woman?

I am a 74 year old woman concerned about the lines around my mouth,the nasal fold,the lines at the side of my upper cheek area. My doctor wants to use my body fat to fill in all these areas and give my face a fuller look. Do you recommend this? I have had two face lifts, the last about 12 years ago. What are the negatives to the use of fat? Many thanks. Also - Is the use of fat more costly than other fillers? Can you tell me about what this might possibly cost?

Doctor Answers 7

Fat injections

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I do not find that fat transfer, fat grafting or fat injections (all the same procedure) are very effective around the mouth area. The volume depletion of the cheeks can be augmented quite nicely by fat injections. Smile folds can also be treated well but usually don't last as long as the fat injections into the cheeks. Sculptra volumization is similar in volume and cost to fat injections, but Sculptra lasts up to two years in some patients, less or more in others. Fat may not work in some patients but in others the grafted cells "take" and live for years after a series of treatments. Both Sculptra and Fat injections could be of similar cost depending on the amount of Sculptra needed. There may be long-term correction of the fat injections and then your amortized cost becomes less than other fillers that last less than one year.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Facial Fat transfer in a 74 yo Woman

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As long as you are otherwise healthy, fat transfer for facial rejuvenation would be a reasonable option for you. In the long term, fat would be a cheaper and more natural and compatible filler than all other fillers.

You may wish to consider having facial skin resurfacing before the fat grafting to get as healthy and tight skin as you can before the fat transfer.

for safety, you should have a medical clearance and be off drugs and dietary supplements which thin the blood or promote bleeding/bruising before any major surgical procedure.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

The natural youthful appearance of a face after fat transfer

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It is funny you posted this question, as I just did this procedure for one of my patients a few weeks ago, and she is very happy with the results. She is 70 (a few years younger), and also had two facelifts, among other facial procedures. The face lifts left her gaunt and pulled.

An expert fat transfer surgeon knows the right places to put the fat throughout your face to restore a natural youthful appearance. Unlike fillers the surviving fat lasts for many many years, and feels completely natural. There is no chance for an allergic reaction. Yes, it might cost more than fillers, although if you put an equivalent amount of fillers in the face to accomplish the same goal, the costs might be equal. The biggest downsides to fat transfer are:

1. It is a surgical procedure that carries risks similar to liposuction.

2. There is down time of bruising and/or swelling for a few weeks.

3. There is variable survival of the transfered fat. In most cases the survival rates in the hands of experienced fat transfer surgeons is about 75-80%, but this varies among different parts of the face.

I hope this helps with your decision.

Yoash R. Enzer, MD, FACS
Providence Oculoplastic Surgeon

Fat is a great option after multiple facelifts to volumize the face

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Fat is a great option after multiple facelifts to volumize the face. Aging can be seen as a process of changing from a grape to a raisin for lack of a better descriptive scenario. Facelifts essentially make the raisin into a smaller raisin. When in fact to look younger a lot of times looking like a fuller younger naturally looking grape is the better option. This is where volumizing plays an important role.

Fat injections volumize the face to return the raisin to the grape that it used to be. Given that you have had 2 facelifts, you likely have a reduced skin volume and hence you will be smaller than the grape you once were, unless you gained alot of weight during the years. Volumizing would be excellent for you likely. But it all depends on what you look like and this is a general comment.

At the age of 74, you can still get benefits from facial fat grafting. I have done a lot of patients over this age. It all depends on your health. Of course you need enough fat to do the procedure and your surgeon can tell you about that or assess this situation.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Fat transfer to face

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Yes to all your questions. I would recommend this procedure to give you fuller cheek and to correct the nasolabial folds. It is a wonderful adjunct to your previous facelift procedures and is relatively low risk at your age. It is typically significantly more expensive than a filler as it is a permenant soluation and involves minor surgery.

Fat Grafting

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Without pictures, it is hard to give you specific advice. However, from your description, it sounds like you are a good candidate for fat transfer / fat grafting. As far a cost, fat grafting usually ends up being less expensive than fillers since fat grafting virtually has unlimited volume that can be injected and fillers have a cast per syringe which can add up quickly. Also, fillers last 6 months a 1 year, while fat grafting has the potential to be permanent. Good luck.

Facial rejuvenation

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Wen considerinf facial rejuvenation each individual should be considered individualy, with analysis of their aging, what bothers them and what is the best approach to achieve what they want. Consider the history, the cost fat transfer is a great way to correct the aging and loss of fat in the face with age. A repeat face lift can achieve that too. depend on your particular case.

See a BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON that you trust discuss your wants and after exam he /she will discuss all the options available and cost of each.

Avarage cost of the surgeon for a face lift is $ 6881 plus anesthesia and facility

fat transfer Total cost about $ 6000

you may need a combination of the two

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.