Over the years as people age, a natural loss of volume under the skin occurs. Many will turn to facial derma fillers to help fill hollow areas on the face and create a smoother, younger appearance. For patients who may be allergic to collagen or other substances (such as hyaluronic acid), a facial fat transfer achieves the same face-smoothing results as injections without the risk of allergic reaction. Palo Alto facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Schendel, offers fat transfers with excellent results. He uses fat from the patient’s body to fill in sunken cheeks, smooth out wrinkles, augment lips, or fill in hollow areas under the eyes. A fat transfer is safe and effective and produces lasting results.
"Dr. Schendel is helping me feel like myself again after a tumor changed my life. - I am 28F and was diagnosed with a rare pituitary tumor resulting in a condition called acromegaly in 2015. Because of this condition my brow grew, the soft tissue in my face increased and the right side of my jaw grew asymmetrically which resulted in a quickly developed underbite. After surgically controlling the tumor by an SF neurosurgeon to ensure no more growth would occur, my husband and..."- B. / RealSelf / Apr 28, 2017
"Best decision I ever made! - Best decision I ever made was to have a mid-face lift with Dr. Schendel. He listened to my concerns and came up with a strategy that I would be pleased with. Dr. Schendel has a great bedside manner and put my fears to rest pre-surgery. He and his staff were very attentive post surgery as well. I look renewed and refreshed not "done". I no longer cringe when I look in the mirror. Thank you for giving me a decade+ back."- C. / RealSelf / Mar 24, 2017
"Dr. Schendal is a consummate professional with a warm caring disposition. He is held in very high regard by everyone I spoke to at Stanford Hospital. I had absolute confidence in him and my surgery held no surprises due to the care he took in explaining everything and setting realistic expectations. His post op care was just as good."- L.G. / Healthgrades / Oct 23, 2016
"Dr. Schendel is a great doctor. My family and I have been fortunate enough to be under Dr. Schendel's care for many years. He has been helping me look and feel beautiful since my 50th bday... many years ago. He and his staff are wonderful in every way. His office manager, Carol Oderio, and everyone in his office treat you with the greatest care and make sure everything is perfect:) Dr. Schendel is able to enhance your beauty in an amazing way, all while looking very natural."- J.H. / Yelp / Mar 14, 2016
"I've been getting Botox from Dr. Schendel for several years - and I still look forward to my appointments because he always manages to make me smile and laugh. The office is clean, easily located by the freeway, and the staff is courteous and always prompt."- C.R. / Yelp / Nov 01, 2015
During the consultation, the surgeon and patient will discuss what donor sites will be most suitable and desirable for fat removal. During surgery, fat is removed from the donor site using a cannula. The fat will then be purified using a centrifuge, which is a device that spins the fat at a high speed in order to remove any impurities. The fat will be placed in a syringe and augmented into the transfer site. The surgeon will simultaneously massage the area so that the fat settles where needed to create a satisfactory shape and contour. Multiple injections are usually needed.
A fat transfer is considered an outpatient procedure and is performed at an accredited surgical facility. In the majority of cases, especially where larger injection areas are concerned, general anesthesia will be used. For smaller areas, such as the lips, the surgeon will use a local anesthetic. After the procedure, the fat removal areas, as well as the injection sites may be swollen and red. This will subside in a short time. This procedure continues to be popular among patients because it offers little risk and little downtime, while delivering great results.
A fat transfer procedure will vary greatly in terms of cost, but the surgery could run as low as $3,000-$5,000, or as high as $5,000-$11,000. The reason for the expansive price range is because there are two procedures that have to be accounted — liposuction and the actual fat grafting/transfer process. The price is subjective until it is known how much fat is going to be removed from how many body parts and where the transfers will take place.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost
- $5,000 - $10,000
- Recovery Time
- 2-4 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 2 Weeks
- Procedure Recovery Location
Fat Transfer FAQs
When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, a fat transfer can result in an enhanced appearance that can last for years. While some of the fat will be reabsorbed back into the body, a skilled fat transfer expert will understand the proper mechanism behind creating a result that will last. There are new modern techniques available to help lengthen the life of the transferred fat cells. Plasma Rich Plasma is an example of this. When added to the transferred fat, it can increase the cell survival. This is a therapy that is still being studied.
A fat transfer typically results in long-lasting fullness. However, because a portion of the transferred fat will be reabsorbed into the body over time, some of the results may diminish. The good news is that this is a procedure that can be performed again very easily, resulting in additional body contouring and enhancement.
While fat transfers produce great results for many patients, there are other alternatives that some may consider. Luckily, the market for injectables is wide and diverse. An injection, such as BOTOX®, may produce the results some patient’s desire — especially where wrinkle correction is concerned. For patients desiring volume, there are countless filler products that offer many different choices and options. Some fillers, including collagen and hyaluronic acid, offer temporary outcomes, while the heaviest of fillers, PMMA, offer lasting results.