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Structural Fat Grafting for Lips and Facial Folds

Structural fat grafting is a procedure that takes fat from one or more areas of your body and places it elsewhere. It can be used for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes.

The area around your nose and lips can show many visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, lines, creases, and folds. The structural fat grafting procedure can help to correct some of those skin irregularities to hopefully give you a more youthful look.

For the area around your nose and lips, structural fat grafting can improve:

  • Nasolabial folds (nostrils to corners of the mouth)
  • Marionette lines (corners of the mouth downward)
  • Undefined lip lines
  • Unfilled lips
  • “Smoker’s lines” (top of the lips upward to nose)

Is Structural Fat Grafting Right for Me?

Structural fat grafting can help with many cosmetic issues. That includes some you might have with your lips and the areas around them and your nose. If you have wrinkles, lines, or other irregularities, or you’re unsatisfied with the size or definition of your lips, you might be a candidate.

What Are the Risks of Fat Grafting?

Complications with structural fat grafting are rare. However, the procedure does carry some risks:

  • Damage to underlying tissue
  • Sensation changes on your skin
  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Skin irregularities
  • Placing too much or too little fat
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

The surgical team will work to reduce the potential for those problems developing.

Before the Procedure

Before you have structural fat grafting, you’ll meet with our staff and your surgeon. On the first visit, a staff member will go over both the procedure and your medical history. You can view photos of previous procedures to see potential results.

You should bring photos of your face from when you were younger to give us an idea of the look you want. If you’re seeking size and definition in your lips and have an example of another person, bring photos of that person.

A staff member will also take several photos of how your face looks now. Your surgeon will create a blueprint for your procedure from those photos.

Structural Fat Grafting Procedure Details

The procedure begins with the surgical team using colored pens to mark where the fat will be taken from and where it will be placed. The amount of fat used for facial procedures usually is small, so it’s likely not many harvest sites will be needed.

The surgeon uses liposuction to harvest fat from the donor sites. The fat then gets refined with a centrifuge, which removes components like oil, water, and blood.

After that, the surgeon will inject the fat into its new location. This is done with tiny amounts at a time, allowing the surgeon to sculpt it for a better-looking result.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

The procedure length depends on how much fat is transferred. Structural fat grafting in general can take from two to five hours, with more minor procedures taking less time.

Type of anesthesia for fat grafting

Structural fat grafting usually takes place with general anesthesia, but local anesthesia can be used for more minor procedures.

Recovery from Structural Fat Grafting

Recovery time varies depending on how much fat is transferred, but it can happen more quickly with minor procedures like those on your face.

You likely will have bruising and swelling in both the donor and graft sites. The bruising and swelling should subside in your face within a week or two. The recovery process in the donor sites can last longer, with swelling taking anywhere from three to six months to go away.

What Results Can I Expect from Structural Fat Grafting?

Fat can be volatile tissue, and there is no current study on the success of fat transfer in humans. However, structural fat grafting has shown positive results. The use of fat from your own body minimizes rejection and the chances of infection and offers a better chance for permanent results. You also should have minimal or no scarring.

The procedure can help with cosmetic problems on your lips and the areas around them. It can reduce wrinkles and other lines to give you a younger look, or it can give your lips more volume or definition.