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As our faces age, there are three things that happen simultaneously:

  • Facial tissues sag (which can be addressed with a facelift)
  • The skin develops wrinkles and age spots (which can be addressed with Botox® Cosmetic, laser skin treatments, etc.)
  • The face slowly loses volume and becomes somewhat hollow appearing

It is this last factor of facial de-volumization that we are discussing on this page.


What can fat transfer injections achieve?

There are some instances in which fat transferred into areas of the face can drastically improve the overall facial appearance and lead to a more youthful and rejuvenated look. When we lose weight in the face, it can appear hollow and aged. As we grow older, the tissues descend and skin thins out, forming a variety of lines and wrinkles. Contributing factors include fat loss, facial expressions made throughout the years, sun exposure, smoking, genetics, etc.

Fat transfer injections (also known as microlipoinjections) restore lost volume and sculpt your face into its previous youthful and vibrant self. Fat injections are non-invasive (meaning they do not require a linear incision) and can benefit those looking to smooth out wrinkles, lines and folds in the skin. Filler products such as Restylane®, Perlane®, Juvederm®, and Sculptra Aesthetic® can also be used to increase facial volume, but they are only temporary.

Fat Transfer Injections Pittsburgh

What are the limitations of fat transfer injections?

Our fat transfer injections in Pittsburgh offer potentially longer lasting results than artificial dermal fillers. However, there is an important caveat about how long the fat lasts. The reality is that while in many cases the fat transfer can last a long time, and potentially forever, there is a reasonable percentage of cases in which the transferred fat absorbs partially or in some cases, totally.

Dr. Leong uses the latest techniques to perform a fat transfer procedure and is often very happy with how fat transfer can improve a patient’s appearance.

However, he, like all other providers who perform fat transfer has experienced the disappointment of having a wonderful result slowly evaporate as the patient's fat transfer absorbs. It is not possible to predict which patient’s fat transfer will “take” and which will not. As with all aspects of Sistine Facial Plastic Surgery, the critical issue is to communicate transparently about the pros and cons of this procedure. Nothing in aesthetic surgery can be guaranteed and this is also the case with fat transfer procedures.

What should I expect during my fat transfer consultation?

During your fat transfer injection consultation, we will discuss whether you are a good candidate, review fat transfer before and after photos and examine the procedure at length. A good candidate is a healthy man or woman with limited facial volume, seeking to plump up areas such as the lips, upper eyelids, temples, cheeks, jowls, tear troughs, and nasolabial folds. Fat transfer injections can also be used to fill in depressed areas and improve the appearance of scars.

What kind of surgeon should perform your facial fat transfer?

Finding a specialized and highly trained doctor is strongly recommended due to the nature of the procedure. Too much fat transferred into the face can cause an overdone and unnatural looking appearance. On the other hand, too little fat transferred to the face can increase the chance of long-term fat absorption, reducing or eliminating the impact of the result. Dr. Leong’s philosophy is to stay conservative (while transferring enough fat to optimize the opportunity for an outstanding result) to create a youthful, yet natural looking result.

Fat Transfer Injections Pittsburgh

How does the facial fat transfer procedure work?

On the day of surgery, general anesthesia or IV sedation will be administered. Fat is then harvested from the buttocks, thighs or belly using liposuction (where fat tends to accumulate). Next, cells are separated and cleansed and the usable fat cells are injected into sunken areas of the face in need of volume.

The length of the procedure varies depending on how much fat needs to be removed and from where. Common side effects after treatment include bruising and swelling, which typically lasts a couple of days. It is important to note that transferred fat should not migrate or detach onto other areas. Once injected, fat should remain stable.

If there is any uneasiness after the procedure, an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol may be recommended and sometimes a narcotic pain medication. Facial fat transfer injections can be performed at Sewickley Valley Hospital, St. Clair Hospital or West Penn Hospital. Other surgeries that may be performed in conjunction with a fat transfer procedure include a facelift, eyelid lift or chin augmentation.

Paul Leong MD FACS

The Facial Specialist

Dr. Leong completed his medical degree at the Yale University School of Medicine. He then dedicated the next seven years honing his skills specifically in head, face, and neck surgery at the University of Pittsburgh—a university consistently ranked among the top five otolaryngology programs in the country. Dr. Leong continued to develop his surgical skills through a fellowship in Advanced Oncologic Surgery of the Head and Neck at the Pittsburgh Medical Center. This was followed by yet another fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Oregon Health Sciences University.

What is the cost of fat transfer injections in Pittsburgh?

Pricing for fat transfer injections varies widely across the United States based on the physician’s experience as well as their geographic location. Cost of fat transfer injections in Pittsburgh ranges from $3,000 to $9,000. Pricing for fat transfer injections is also dependent upon the area and how much fat is being transferred. Dr. Leong will discuss cost in detail during your one on one consultation.

What are the financing options for a fat transfer injection?

The cost of facial fat transfer injections depends on the size and location of the area(s) needing volume. Please call our office at 412-693-6475 to get an approximate quote of what this procedure might cost you. We conveniently accept cash, CareCredit, checks, and all major credit cards. Since fat transfer injections are considered cosmetic, they are typically not covered by insurance.

Contact Sistine Plastic Surgery

For more information on fat transfer injections or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Leong to talk more about your options, please contact Sistine Facial Plastic Surgery today.

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