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Structural Fat Grafting for Lower Eyelids and Cheeks

Structural fat grafting is a procedure that harvests fat from one or more areas of your body and places it elsewhere. The procedure can be used in many different areas of your body, including your face.

Facial procedures include your lower eyelids and cheeks. The lower eyelids are one of the more common sites for the procedure to fix an area hollowed out by aging.

The structural fat grafting procedure can:

  • Restore fullness and volume to eyelids and cheeks hollowed out by aging
  • Fill out cheekbones to “lift” the face
  • Fix damage from acne scars
  • Reconstruct the cheek after injury
  • Minimize bulging eyes
  • Disguise cheek implants
  • Fix “tired” look by lightening the skin on your lower eyelids

Is Structural Fat Grafting Right for Me?

The structural fat grafting procedure can fix many cosmetic problems on your face. If you are unsatisfied with the look of your lower eyelids and cheeks, you may consider the procedure.

What Are the Risks of Fat Grafting?

Complications with structural fat grafting are rare, but there are some general risks with the procedure:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Irregularities
  • Placing too much or too little fat
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

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

Before the Procedure

Before getting structural fat grafting, you visit our office for a consultation. One of our staff members will explain the procedure and go over your medical history. You also can review photos of similar procedures to see results.

We advise you to bring photos of yourself from when you were younger to give us an idea of the look you want. If you want your cheeks or lower eyelids to look like another person’s, you should bring photos of that person.

A staff member also will take photos of you. Your doctor will use the photos to create a surgical plan, including harvest and graft sites.

Structural Fat Grafting Procedure Details

The surgical team will mark the harvest and graft sites with colored pens on the day of the procedure. The amount of fat used for facial procedures usually is small.

The surgeon harvests the fat through liposuction. The surgical team then removes unwanted components like oil, water, and blood by using a centrifuge. This allows the fat to be refined, concentrated, and ready for grafting.

Your surgeon then will place the fat, tiny amounts at a time, in the graft location, sculpting it for an ideal look.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

The procedure length varies, depending on the amount of fat being transferred. In general, structural fat grafting procedures last anywhere from two to five hours.

Type of Anesthesia for Fat Grafting

Structural fat grafting usually takes place under general anesthesia. In more minor cases, surgeons may use local anesthesia with sedation.

Recovery from Structural Fat Grafting

Your recovery will depend on the extent of the procedure, including the number and size of donor sites and the amount of fat harvested.

Both the donor and graft sites will have bruising and swelling, with the graft sites healing more quickly. Usually that’s within two to three weeks, but it can take longer. Swelling in the donor sites subsides more slowly, sometimes taking up to six months.

Recovery from lower eyelid procedures usually takes more time. The skin is delicate and has many tiny blood vessels, so it bruises more easily. That bruising and discoloration can take longer to fade. It also usually takes longer for swelling in eyelids to subside.

What Results Can I Expect from Structural Fat Grafting?

Fat can be easily damaged, but structural fat grafting has shown positive results because it uses fat from your own body. There are no studies for fat survival rates in humans, but structural fat grafting has been used for a variety of problems.

In general, structural fat grafting can correct problems in your cheeks and lower eyelids, hopefully giving you a younger, more natural look.