Fat grafting (also known as fat transfers or fat injections) represents one of the significant advances in plastic surgery in recent years. As people age, they often appear as if they’ve lost weight or volume in their face. Adding fat can replace this apparent volume loss. 

This technique can be done during a facelift, eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) and lip, temple, or other stand-alone procedures to reverse signs of aging in your face. Removing fat with liposuction techniques and adding it to an area of your face can achieve results.

Fat grafting is also used in a variety of other situations, including in breast surgery to correct contour problems or as an alternative to breast implants for breast enlargement. It can also be used to correct contour problems elsewhere in your body.

Why choose us?

Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center can help you explore options to rejuvenate or refine your appearance and your self-confidence. To get the best results from any cosmetic procedure, you need the highest quality team. You can rely on our experts, who are nationally ranked for their expertise and care.

Learn more about Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

How to Prepare

How to Prepare

Am I a candidate for a fat injection (facial injection)?

Fat grafting or fat injections, such as with synthetic fillers (like Restylane® or Juvéderm®), can add volume to your face or other areas of concern. Unlike synthetic fillers, fat grafting has long-lasting or permanent results.

The drawback is that it involves removing fat by liposuction from another area of your body (so it’s a more involved process than receiving a synthetic filler). In your face, it’s used to reverse aging as a stand-alone procedure or during another cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift, blepharoplasty, brow lift or breast procedure.

The best way to determine if you’re a candidate for a fat injection is through a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center. Fat injection is a good option if you:

  • Prefer a longer-lasting benefit to short-term results achieved by synthetic fillers.
  • Have the appearance of weight loss in your face, and your surgeon feels fat grafting will be beneficial. 
  • Hollow areas have developed in your temples, cheeks and lower eyelids.

How do I prepare for a fat injection (facial injection)?

Fat injection is a more complex procedure than using other cosmetic injectable fillers because it uses liposuction techniques. These techniques extract the fat before the injection.

Preparing for your fat injection at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center will include:

  • An in-depth consultation with your surgeon reviewing your history, medications and details about your cosmetic issues. 
  • A physical exam of the areas of concern.
  • A discussion of what to expect before and after surgery.
  • A discussion of medications to avoid before surgery, including aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
What to Expect

What to Expect

How is a fat injection (facial injection) performed?

Fat injection procedures are generally performed on an outpatient basis (meaning you’ll go home the same day) using local anesthesia, local anesthesia with sedation (twilight anesthesia) or general anesthesia (if other procedures are done at the same time). The procedure usually takes 30 minutes to an hour or more (depending on the patient, the volume to be injected and additional procedures that are being completed at the same time).

Your surgeon will take the fat from certain areas of your body (typically your abdomen or hips) by first injecting local anesthesia to minimize bleeding and then making a small incision. They’ll place a liposuction cannula — a narrow tube which is attached for suction — through this incision to remove the fat. Once your surgeon has taken enough fat from the donor area, they’ll place the fat in a centrifuge, which spins it and removes impurities.

Then, your surgeon will inject the fat into areas that need augmentation through an injection needle that’s usually passed in and out of the specific area multiple times. This technique creates a ‘grid’ of threads of fat graft.



What results can I expect?

You’ll see immediate results from your fat injection. The treated areas may appear too augmented at first due to swelling. Over time, the swelling will subside, and you’ll usually be able to see your true results in one to two weeks after the procedure. After this period, you may lose fat from the injected areas as your body metabolizes it.

In general, your body absorbs about half of the injected fat in three to six months. Following up with your surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is the best way to ensure long-lasting results. View our facial injection before-and-after photos to see results from actual fat injection patients.

What is involved in recovery?

People who undergo fat injections can usually return to their normal daily routines soon after treatment. You’ll probably have bruising, swelling or redness in both the donor and injected areas, but typically only for a week or two.

The recovery period may be longer based on whether your surgeon used liposuction and the amount of fat they removed. During recovery, you should avoid sun exposure and wear makeup with UV protection to disguise and protect the effects of the procedure.

Is fat injection safe?

All surgical procedures carry some risk. In addition to expected bruising and swelling, complications include:

  • Bleeding.
  • Infection. 
  • Fluid collection requiring drainage (rare).
  • Prolonged skin discoloration.
  • Fat embolism (extremely rare).
Insurance & Financing

Insurance & Financing

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures.

Please call 216.444.4004 and ask to speak with one of our financial representatives who can explain payment options, including CareCredit financing.