3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

What is Under Eye Fat Transfer Surgery?

asian woman with tired eyes and dark circles

Do you have those dark and hollow eyes that add at least five years to your age? Are you wondering which treatment will be best for your condition?

When it comes to getting rid of under-eye hollowness, the first thing that most people consider is getting a dermal filler injection. In fact, this is the easiest and probably the least expensive treatment for restoring the lost volume under the eyes. The thing is, this filler will eventually break down within a few months, so you will end up with that sunken appearance once again.

In this article, we will introduce you to a procedure with which you can achieve a more permanent transformation. This is known as under-eye fat transfer, but it also goes by various other names, including under-eye or periorbital fat grafting, micro fat grafting, and nano fat grafting.

What is under-eye fat transfer?

woman rubbing her tired eyes, covering her dark eye circles with hands

Under eye fat transfer or nano fat grafting is a minimally invasive method for restoring the lost fat volume in the lower eyelid tear trough area. The unique thing about this treatment is that it uses your own tissue to fill the depressions on the skin instead of substances such as hyaluronic acid.

Now you might be wondering where that fat comes from. The surgeon first performs liposuction on another body area to harvest some fat. After that, this fat is processed and carefully injected into the under-eye region.

To put it simply, fat grafting is a method of transferring or moving fat from one area to another. And even though this might sound a little frightening to you, in the following section, we will prove that there is nothing to worry about.

What is it like to get under-eye fat grafting surgery in Singapore?

The process of moving fat from one part of the body to the face is relatively straightforward. Most plastic surgeons in Singapore perform it as an outpatient procedure, so you won't have to stay overnight at a clinic. Once the doctor completes the treatment, you can go home and have a good rest for a few days.

Here is a brief overview of what you can expect on the day of your surgical procedure.

What should you expect from your consultation?

Fat grafting consultation usually includes assessment and planning of the upcoming procedure. Pre-operative planning is equally, if not more important, than technical execution. Your surgeon needs to determine how much fat to add to a specific area so that it does not become overfilled. Make sure to discuss your goals or if you have any concerns about the upcoming treatment with your physician.

How is facial fat grafting done?

As we mentioned, fat grafting consists of two procedures – liposuction and fat injection. To collect fat, the surgeon uses a mild liposuction technique. It is usually done on areas with excess fat, such as the stomach, thighs, or buttocks. The procedure involves making a tiny incision and harvesting the fat with a thin instrument called a cannula.

The next step of the process is centrifugation or filtration of the taken fat. The surgeon next focuses on the under-eye area, where he injects the fat through a micro-needle incision.

Will you feel pain during surgery?

In short, no. Many patients are concerned about pain because under-eye fat grafting involves incisions and the use of needles. It also includes work on the sensitive area around the eyes. However, fat grafting, like any other surgical treatment, is performed under anesthesia. In most circumstances, the surgeon will use local anaesthesia or light sedation, so you will not feel any pain while the surgeon works on you.

What to expect after the under-eye fat grafting procedure?

close up view of young woman eyes after fat grafting

Following a fat grafting procedure, your under-eye area may appear puffy, swollen, and kind of overfilled. You shouldn't worry about it since it's completely normal. This will gradually disappear within a week or two. There may also be some moderate bruising and swelling in the liposuction area, but these should also go away quickly.

You can expect to experience minor pain and discomfort on both the donor and fat injection sites. However, it is usually minimal and easily controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers.

How long is recovery after fat grafting?

While the recovery duration varies depending on the patient, it usually does not take more than two weeks. The majority of people can go back to work and resume their every day after just one week.

What are the risks of fat transfer?

Some common side effects you may experience after a facial fat grafting procedure include bruising, swelling, pain and discomfort. These usually subside within a few days without causing any concern. Even though this procedure is unlikely to result in serious adverse effects, a certain amount of risk remains. An asymmetry of the face, bleeding, or infection are some of the rare problems that may occur.

How long does it take for grafted fat to settle?

Most of the swelling and bruising should go away in a week or two. But your under-eye area will continue to improve over time. The final desired outcome from the procedure can be usually observed after three to four months. The best thing about facial fat grafting is that after the fat has been settled, it can stay there for a lifetime.

Who can benefit from a facial fat grafting procedure?

You can use a fat transfer procedure to restore the lost volume in your face and achieve natural skin rejuvenation. The loss of fat in the face is a ubiquitous thing that occurs to every single person. It is that fat loss that actually changes the facial contours and appearance. It typically starts around the age of late 30s, progresses relatively rapidly through the 40s and continues on thereafter.

As a result of facial ageing and the loss of fat, the face tends to appear fatigued, hollowed, and deflated. You may develop under eye bags, dark lower eyelid rings as well wrinkles in various areas. The fat transfer procedure can help you address these issues and achieve a more youthful appearance.

You can use micro fat grafting to treat the following facial areas and problems.

  • hollowing of the temples
  • sunken upper eyelid
  • dark eye rings
  • hollowness under the eyes and eye bags
  • sunken cheeks, including the mid-portion of the cheek and outer segments of the cheek
  • around the nasolabial folds and lips
  • around the jawline and chin.

However, you need to understand that this procedure is not intended to lift the facial skin. Its role is to replace lost volume and improve skin texture. So if you have laxity of your face, meaning your face is starting to age by coming down gravitationally, fat transfer by itself is not going to be a solution for you. If this is the case, combining fat transfer with facelift surgery may be more beneficial. On the other hand, if you are in your 30s, beginning to lose volume, and want a more permanent alternative to dermal fillers, fat transfer can be an excellent option.

How long does fat grafting under the eyes last?

Facial fat transfer produces permanent outcomes as long as it is done correctly. The fat which is taken from areas, such as the stomach or legs, does not disappear with age. Once it has settled on the injected spot, it can stay there indefinitely. On the other hand, the fat you naturally have on the face and hands tends to go away with age.

So, what is actually done through facial fat grafting is taking fat from a specific area or donor site, then preparing it and injecting it into the face as micro fat grafts. This allows the facial skin to establish a blood supply and make that fat a permanent part of the face.

However, there is something important that you need to understand, and it is that not all injected fat will survive. In the majority of cases, approximately 80% of fat cells survive, while the rest are normally digested throughout the body.

In order to be successful and provide permanent results, the technique must be carried out correctly. This means that all steps, including fat harvesting, purifying and preparing as well as knowing how much to inject, should be done the right way. So, if you are considering getting fat grafting, make sure you choose a qualified plastic surgeon with enough experience in plastic surgeries.

Why fat transfer might be a better choice than dermal fillers?

dermal filler injection for wrinkles

Obviously, the biggest advantage of fat graft is that it can literally last forever, as opposed to facial injectable fillers. The other huge benefit of the procedure is that it uses your own body fat tissue rather than an artificial substance. It is a living tissue, and it has stem cells and fat cells, which promote facial rejuvenation from the inside out. It is also not likely to cause an allergic reaction, which is a possible side effect of filler injections.

One thing that is usually perceived as a drawback of this type of injectable treatment is its price. The facial fat grafting cost is typically higher than that of hyaluronic acid filler injections. However, the effect of facial fillers is temporary, so you will need to keep repeating and repeating the procedure and finally, that ends up costing a lot more than if you just have done one single fat grafting procedure.

In addition to enhancing the volume of the face, fat grafting can also be used to boost the volume of other body areas, such as the breasts. This is called fat grafting to breasts (autologous fat grafting) and is often preferred by women looking for a more natural breast augmentation option.

Over the last few years, fat injections into the buttocks have also become increasingly popular. By transferring fat to the breast or butt, you can achieve more natural results and a faster recovery time than by using implants for breast augmentation or butt implants for butt augmentation.

Final Words

Facial fat transfer is plastic surgery that can restore youth, improve skin elasticity and make the face appear less tired. It can address various skin issues, including dark eye circles, eye bags, hollow upper eyelids, sunken cheeks, wrinkles and so on. The great thing about the procedure is that it uses your own fatty tissue, providing consistent and natural-looking results.

Autologous fat transfer/ grafting procedures can also be used for volume augmentation of other body areas such as breasts and buttocks.

Shens Clinic, 3 Killiney Road, Winsland House 1, #09-08, Singapore 239519

Monday – Friday: 09:00am – 06:00pm
Saturday: 09:00am – 02:00pm
Sun and PH: Closed

(Strictly by appointment only)

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