Facial fat transfer

Waterfront Hospital Edinburgh, Scotland

Facial fat transfer, also known as fat grafting or facial lipofilling, is a popular cosmetic procedure designed to enhance facial fullness, reduce wrinkles, and create a youthful appearance. This minimally invasive treatment involves transferring fat from one part of the body to the face, leveraging the body’s natural resources to rejuvenate and refresh your look.

fat transfer edinburgh


Fat transfer Edinburgh

    Local or General
    1 hour
    Walk-in walkout/ day surgery
    few days to 1 week off work, 4 weeks before strenuous exercise

What the procedure involves

At Waterfront Private Hospital, we employ the latest technology and techniques to ensure precision and safety, providing our patients with the best possible outcomes.

We use the Coleman technique for facial fat transfer, developed by Dr Sydney Coleman, a highly refined and specialised method for fat grafting. It involves three key steps:

  1. Gentle Fat Harvesting: Fat is harvested from the donor area, typically the abdomen or thighs, using specialised liposuction techniques that ensure minimal damage to the fat cells.
  2. Centrifugation and Purification: The extracted fat is then centrifuged, which separates and concentrates the fat cells from other components like blood and oil. This process purifies the fat, ensuring that only the highest quality fat cells are used for grafting.
  3. Precise Fat Injection: The purified fat is carefully injected into the facial areas, requiring augmentation. Dr Coleman’s technique emphasises the importance of injecting small amounts of fat at various depths to create a natural, layered effect. This meticulous approach helps achieve a more uniform, smooth, and long-lasting result.

Overall, the Coleman technique is renowned for providing natural, durable results in facial rejuvenation, making it a preferred method in cosmetic surgery for facial fat transfer.


Benefits and expected outcomes

Facial fat transfer offers numerous benefits and can significantly improve your facial skin’s overall appearance and texture. Here’s what you can expect:


  • Natural Results: Since the procedure uses your own fat, the results are natural-looking. The added volume reflects light in a way that synthetic fillers can’t match.
  • Long-Lasting Effects: Unlike other fillers that require regular touch-ups, the results of a facial fat transfer can last for several years, as a significant portion of the transferred fat integrates permanently with the facial tissues.
  • Improves Skin Quality: The stem cells in the transferred fat can improve the quality of your skin, making it appear more youthful and radiant.
  • Minimal Risk of Allergic Reaction: As the procedure uses fat from your own body, there is minimal risk of an allergic reaction, which is a concern with synthetic fillers.
  • Reduced Wrinkles and Fine Lines: By adding volume, facial fat transfer can smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, offering a more youthful appearance.
  • Enhanced Facial Contours: It can enhance facial contours, such as the cheeks and chin, providing a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing facial structure.
  • Customisable: The procedure is highly customisable, allowing precise adjustments to meet individual aesthetic goals.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Restored Facial Volume: Especially in areas like the cheeks, under the eyes, and around the mouth, where volume loss is most noticeable.
  • Improved Facial Balance and Symmetry: By strategically placing the fat, facial symmetry can be improved, enhancing your overall appearance.
  • Smoother Skin Texture: The procedure can lead to smoother, more youthful-looking skin.
  • Decreased Appearance of Scars: If you have facial scars, fat transfer can help minimise their appearance.

Who is an Ideal Candidate?

Ideal candidates for facial fat transfer are individuals who:

  • Have lost facial volume due to ageing or weight loss
  • Having other procedures, such as lower eyelid surgery or facelifting
  • Are in good overall health and have realistic expectations
  • Non-smokers

Risks and Considerations

While facial fat transfer is a relatively safe procedure, as with any cosmetic surgery, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and considerations:

  • Swelling and Bruising: Following the procedure, patients typically experience swelling and bruising in both the donor site and the face. This is normal and usually subsides within a few days to a week.
  • Asymmetry: There is a risk of asymmetrical results, where one side of the face may appear slightly different from the other. Our skilled surgeons employ meticulous techniques to minimise this risk.
  • Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of infection. Our state-of-the-art facilities and strict adherence to sterilisation protocols significantly reduce this risk.
  • Fat Absorption: up to 50% of the transferred fat may be reabsorbed by the body. We anticipate this by injecting a slightly greater volume of fat. Additional touch-up procedures may be necessary to maintain the desired result.
  • Irregularities in Skin Texture: In rare cases, patients may experience lumpiness or irregularities at the injection site. Skilled techniques and post-procedure massage can help to smooth out these areas.
  • Scarring: Minimal scarring at the donor site or injection site is possible, although we take great care to make incisions as inconspicuous as possible.
  • Nerve Damage: There is a very small risk of temporary or permanent nerve damage resulting in numbness or changes in sensation.

Aftercare and recovery

Post-procedure, patients may experience mild swelling and bruising, which typically subside within 2-3 weeks. We provide comprehensive aftercare instructions and support, ensuring a comfortable and swift recovery.

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Frequently asked questions about facial fat transfer

What is facial fat transfer?

Facial fat transfer, also known as fat grafting or autologous fat transfer, is a cosmetic procedure where fat is taken from other parts of your body and injected into your face. This procedure adds volume, reduces wrinkles, and improves facial contours.

How long does a facial fat transfer last?

The results of a facial fat transfer can last several years. While the body naturally absorbs some of the transferred fat, a significant portion remains permanently, offering long-lasting results.

Is facial fat transfer safe?

Facial fat transfer is considered safe, especially as it uses the body’s own fat, reducing the risk of allergic reactions. However, like all surgical procedures, there are risks, such as swelling, bruising, and asymmetry.

How is facial fat transfer different from fillers?

Unlike synthetic fillers, facial fat transfer uses your own fat, providing a more natural look and feel. Results are typically longer-lasting compared to temporary fillers.

Can facial fat transfer help with acne scars?

Yes, facial fat transfer can help improve the appearance of acne scars by adding volume beneath the skin’s surface, which smoothens out indentations and scars.

What is the recovery time for facial fat transfer?

Recovery time varies but typically involves 1-2 weeks of downtime. Swelling and bruising are common but usually subside within a few weeks.

How much does facial fat transfer cost?

The cost varies depending on the extent of the procedure. Costs at the Waterfront Private Hospital start at around £3000 under local anaesthesia.

Who is an ideal candidate for facial fat transfer?

Ideal candidates are those in good health, with realistic expectations, and have sufficient fat reserves for extraction. It is also important for candidates to be non-smokers or willing to quit smoking.

Can facial fat transfer be combined with other procedures?

Yes, it is often combined with other procedures like facelifts or eyelid surgery for comprehensive facial rejuvenation.

What should I expect during the consultation?

During your consultation, the surgeon will evaluate your health, discuss your goals, and explain the procedure, including potential risks and outcomes.

How do I prepare for a facial fat transfer?

Preparation includes avoiding certain medications, maintaining a stable weight, and stopping smoking. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions based on your medical history.

What are the long-term effects of facial fat transfer?

Long-term effects include a more youthful appearance, improved skin texture, and reduced signs of ageing. The transferred fat that survives the initial absorption process remains permanently.

How is the fat harvested for the procedure?

Fat is harvested through liposuction from areas with excess fat, like the abdomen or thighs, ensuring minimal discomfort and scarring.

Excellent care

Everyone I met at Waterfront Private Hospital was friendly, helpful and thorough, and went the extra mile, including the whole medical and admin teams which were fantastic.
Mr Will Anderson carried out my surgery with great care and professionalism and listened carefully to, and addressed, all of my concerns. Thank you!
I’ve also had excellent communication with Debbie and Janey in emails and phone calls, sometimes over weekends/on days off.
The standard of care has been superb and I would return without hesitation.
My thanks to the whole team.

Dec 2023

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