Reversing fat transfer to cheeks: can I get good results with face lift? (Photos)

Hi, I'm 29 years old and almost 2 years ago I had the worst thing of my life done in my face. The doctor overfilled my cheeks with fat and I've never been the same. I've been through 2 microlipos with another doctor, but I'm still unsatisfied with my looks. My doctor said he took as much fat as possible in order to preserve my nerves. After all these procedures, the left side of my face become a little saggy as well. Is it possible to take the rest of the fat in my cheecks by doing a cheek lift?

Doctor Answers 8

Reversal of fat grafting

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I am sorry for your experience. Properly applied, facial fat grafting can produce wonder results, adding balance and the right amount of fullness. On the other hand adding too much can severely distort the face. Reversing the effects of an overgrafted face can be difficult as you have found, can be difficult. Microlipusuction can improve the situation, as can directly excising some of the fat, although this has limitations. Lesser invasive techniques such as some of the newer radiofrequency treatments at a high enough temperature, and selective fat destruction with a laser fiber also can be of benefit.

Denver Plastic Surgeon

Fat transfer

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Facial fat transfer is typically used to place volume in areas that have a significant deficit. Typically, in young patients, this is done after many years of volumization with HA fillers. In older patients, this is typically done in conjunction with facelift procedures. 

Reversing facial fat grafting is much more difficult than placing fat grafts to begin with. Microliposuction in small quantities is the best approach. Making sure to be seen and evaluated by an experienced, reputable Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is important. 

Best regards in achieving an acceptable result.

Reversing fat transfers to the cheeks

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Thank you for asking about your facial fat transfers and your face lift.

  • I am so sorry you had such a disappointing result with fat transfers.
  • (they are usually done for older people who have thinning faces.)
  • If the left face is sagging, it can be tightened with a face lift.
  • Depending on where the fat transfers lie, some additonal fat may be removed during the face lift.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Fat Transfer Correction

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Good Question.  As fat transfer becomes more widespread and doctors are doing it more and more, mistakes will keep occurring.  Fat transfer is one of the main procedures I perform and it is a great procedure that most patients need at some point in their life.  I also correct fat transfers to the face that distort the face.  When fat is placed in the face it will live and must be placed properly for the proper contour.  If the physician does not have that artistic eye, you may result in unevenness and distorted contours.  the surgeon repairing it must be comfortable with this procedure and confident he can improve it.  I do both of these in my practice and each case is individualized.  It is very difficult to give you an exact answer from photos.  Sometimes I can get the result without opening the face and sometimes opening the face is the beast way to approach the problem.  In either case, examining the patient in person is the best way to determine which is best for you.  Good Luck.

Walton Montegut, MD
Newport Beach Physician
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews


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I am so sorry to hear about your experience. Fat grafting can be a great tool, but as you've realized, hard to undo. I would suggest that you schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to be assessed in person. A facelift might help with your asymmetry although it is a more sever procedure than I would normally recommend for someone so young. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Facelift and fat transfer

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Based on your photos, you look much younger than 29 years old. A before picture would be helpful. If your face is truly sagging (it's difficult to tell in these pictures) then some form of facial tightening is worth exploring and discussing during a consultation. This may be a cheeklift, mini lift, or lower facelift combined with buccal fat pad removal. 

Mark Karolak, DO, FAOCO
Bridgewater Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Possible Facelift?

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Hi julirebelo,

As a matter of fact, based from the photos you have provided, your face doesn't look round, it is full, but it actually looks good, however, if you really want a slimmer face, buccal fat extraction can be done. Facelift though possible, is not necessary, especially at your age.

Somyos Kunachak, MD
Thailand Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Fat graft to the face correction

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I am sorry that you are having issues about your procedure and thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.

You are very young for  another surgical procedure to your face. I would recommend non invasive alternatives such as CO2 laser to your face to try to improve the tone of the skin. Overall your face doesn't seem deformed by looking at the photos. 

Finally, make sure that you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Wishing you the best in your journey

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.