The Truth About Fat Injections in Cheeks, 4.5 Weeks out

I had small bags under my eyes. The doctor suggested to take fat out of my thighs and inject it into my cheeks; so I stupidly agreed and I do not like what I see and just want my cheeks back to normal. I have high cheek bones naturally but now they are huge and abnormal. I have researched a bit but I wanted to just ask, how long will I have swelling and bruising? 1 teaspoon of fat was put in each cheek, how much might be absorbed? What can I do to get rid of the cheek fat? Libo? Massage? Help!!

Doctor Answers 7

Fat transfer is an excellent permanent option for volume loss or hollowing

I personally studied and authored a scientific paper on fat transfer using a 3D camera to measure what exactly happens to it.  This is the only objective study performed and any other comments are not based on scientific evidence.  On average only 32% of the injected fat retains long-term.  There is initially swelling and bruising which typically improves over 6-8 weeks and then the fat resorbs over 3 months.  Fat cells that survive then regenerate and improve volume as well as skin texture over the next 12 months.  What is present at 1-2 years typically lasts forever.  See my publication for more details:  Meier JD, Glasgold RA, Glasgold MJ.  Autologous fat grafting: Long-term evidence of its efficacy in midfacial rejuvenation.  Arch Facial Plast Surg.  2009;11(1):24-28.

In your case, the volume and swelling is likely to decrease significantly over the next 4-6 weeks and I would wait at least a few months before considering other treatments. 

Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Swelling after fat transfer

The swelling after fat grafting can take quite a while to subside. In my experience this should occur over the first 6 months or so.  Some things you can help in the meantime include sleeping with your head somewhat elevated, following a low sodium diet (1500 mg or less a day), or facial massage. With time the swelling should resolve on its own, though.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Fat Grafting - Overdone results

As with any cosmetic surgical procedure, there can certainly be 'too much of a good thing'. Over-grafting of fatty tissue will distort facial features and produce unnatural proportions that look like surgery rather than appearing to turn back the clock. An important part of my preoperative evaluation is reviewing photographs with patients from their twenties and thirties (and from their forties for patients in their sixties and seventies). Such photographs are invaluable in confirming the manner in which a face has aged, and in planning a surgery that is designed to help a patient look more like their youthful self.


Communicate closely with your plastic surgeon and express your concerns. Perhaps your results will improve over time

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 reviews

Fat Transfer

You will need at least 6 months to fully evaluate your outcome.  Until then, just try to avoid increasing the swelling. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Over injected

We have a very large experience with fat transfer to the face, hands and body. Typically we see it take about 6-8 weeks for the patient to see the final result. In cases where patients have a concern over too much volume, aggressive massage will help diminish the fat volume.  If after a significant amount of time you feel the volume is excessive, a number of conservative reduction procedures can be offered.

Marc Schneider, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Patience is key!

Fat resorption can take up to three or four months after surgery, and only about 50-60 % of the fat will remain [best case scenario]. So I would recommend having patients for another 2 months before you start worrying about your result.

Good luck.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Overdone fat transfer

You should wait a few months for things to settle. It is probable that the fullness will diminish.  Then you can decide what to do.  There are surgical and nonsurgical options to improve the fullness.


Mehryar (Ray) Taban, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 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.