Fat grafting is a facelift essential, creating a natural, rejuvenated look

Dear Dr. Kelly: I am having a facelift with another surgeon in a month, but he doesn’t do fat grafting as part of the procedure. He says that it is unnecessary and that the fat doesn’t last. Is that true?

Dr. Kelly's Answer: I would respectfully disagree with your surgeon’s approach and philosophy. In my experience, fat grafting is one of the most important parts of any facelift procedure. Much of facial aging is due to fat loss in the deep fascial compartments. Rather than the face falling, the aging face really collapses inward. That is why older people look hollow. To completely rejuvenate a patient, the surgeon needs to add volume back. This can be done with artificial fillers which are helpful, but most of them will only last 6 months to a year.

Fat grafting is a facelift essential, creating a natural, rejuvenated look

The best filler is your own fat. In my practice, we harvest a small amount of fat using liposuction in the abdomen. The fat is centrifuged and the blood and serum are removed. It is then injected into the depleted fat compartments of the face. When combined with a facelift, fat grafting creates a natural, rejuvenated look that lasts. I have patients who have had fat grafting 10 years ago and they still have a nice result. In addition, the fat contains stem cells that tend to rejuvenate the skin.

If you look at patients six months after surgery, their skin looks better too. Facelifts are great, but if you do them without adding volume too, you are only treating part of the problem. Fat grafting during facelifts is essential to get your best result.


Dr Michael Kelly

Dr. Michael Kelly is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon and partner in both Miami Plastic Surgery and MPS Medspa. He has been in practice over 25 years and has been recognized by his peers both nationally and internationally as one of the best plastic surgeons in the United States. In addition to being an expert on Cosmetic Surgery, his practice encompasses the entire spectrum of non-invasive treatments such as Botox, fillers, CoolSculpting, ultrasound, lasers and radiofrequency. He also believes in giving back to our community, having served on the Village Council for eight years and volunteering as a coach for our youth sports programs.

You can email him questions here

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