Facial Lipofilling

Improving facial volume and skin quality through the filling and regenerative potential of fat graft

ˈfeɪʃ(ə)l ˈlɪpəʊˈfɪlɪŋ

As we age, changes to the facial skeleton, superficial and deep fat pads and strength of ligaments leads to a sunken hollowed out appearance among other stigmata of facial ageing.  The rate and extent of these changes may lead to an appearance that is older than your actual age.  Regardless, patients often dislike the tired and grumpy appearance that they convey.

Lipofilling is a technique that uses your own fat that is harvested from either your tummy or thighs. The goal is to create a refreshed rejuvenated appearance by re establishing plumpness to specific parts of your face.  This can be done in isolation or as an adjunct to other procedures such as a facelift.

There are several points to discuss with you, such as the pros and cons of using your own fat compared to off the shelf fillers and the expected outcomes and longevity of lipofilling. Overall it is a technique that is safe and widely used in various areas of plastic surgery beyond facial rejuvenation, such as the paediatric population with craniofacial anomalies, traumatic deformities as well as for scarred tissues secondary to burns and irradiation therapy.  

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is fat graft used for?

The indications for the use of fat graft are vast, and the benefits are multifold and continue to evolve. In the facial aesthetic setting, fat graft can be used as a filler to restore volume that is lost as part of the ageing process. In this setting, skin quality and scars may also improve.  Fat graft can be used to enhance the prominence of the chin.  This works especially well when combined with neck liposuction.

Is it done routinely with a facelift?

No. It is case specific and this will be established at the time of consultation.

Where is fat taken from?

Depending on your body habitus, fat is usually harvested from either the inner thighs or the abdomen.  This is known as the donor site.

Will the donor site get the same benefits as liposuction?

No. The amount of fat required, especially in the setting of facial aesthetics is generally small.  The harvesting will not be extensive enough to result in the same benefits seen with liposuction performed in liposculpting procedures.

What type of anaesthesia do I require and how long will I be in hospital for?

General anaesthetic. This is performed as a day case even when combined with a facelift.

How long does the surgery take?

It depends on the extent of zones involved and whether it is done as part of more extensive facial aesthetic surgery.

How long will I take to recover?

When done by itself normal daily activities can be resumed after one week and social activity within 1-2 weeks.  Most exercise can be commenced after 4 weeks.


What are the potential risks and complications? Access a detailed surgical procedure information sheet by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons here.