Fat Transfer (face)

Conveniently located to serve the areas of Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert and Scottsdale, AZ

Fat Transfer (face)

Facial fat transfer is a rejuvenating cosmetic procedure in which a patient’s body fat used to enhance their facial features. A fat transfer, or fat grafting, uses autologous fat, that is, fat from the patient’s own body. Autologous fat is considered a safe, effective material because it is biocompatible, and provides long-lasting results.(1)

Perhaps you’re faced with some of the inevitable signs of aging–wrinkles around the nose and mouth; forehead lines; or sunken-in cheeks. Time and gravity can cause shifts and reductions in the many fat pads that give our faces contour. A facial fat transfer can restore volume and diminish the appearance of lines and creases, taking years off of your visage so that you look like the best version of yourself, and can enjoy a refreshed appearance.

Dr. Robert G. Bonillas, MD and the team of Scottsdale Plastics have helped numerous patients to rejuvenate their facial contours and boost self-esteem! If you are ready to learn more about facial fat transfer and how it can help you to reach your aesthetic goals, contact us today at our Scottsdale office at (480) 245-6380 or through our online contact form. 

Before and After Photos

About Fat Transfer

Our face undergoes many changes as a result of growing older. Creasing and marionette lines, nasolabial folds, and hollowed tear troughs are common results of facial tissues that droop due to gravity. We may also experience the thinning of the skin on our face; volume loss; and reduced bone density.(1)

A facelift can help to correct signs of aging, but for those who seek a less invasive solution, facial fat grafting offers a minimally invasive option with long-lasting results! To achieve your desired results, Dr. Bonillas will study the structure of your face and how its features relate to one another.(1)

This will help him determine what areas of the face can benefit from additional volume, how this can add lift to the surrounding areas, and benefit the overall appearance of the face. He’ll identify the donor and transfer sites, the amount of fat required, and the optimal injection techniques.(1)

Facial Fat Transfer In 3 Steps

1) Harvesting

Your doctor will administer light liposuction to the harvest sites and gather viable fat cells from a fatty region such as the flanks, abdomen, or thighs. The doctor injects tumescent solution into the harvest site and allows it to sit for about 15 minutes. After this time, an incision will be made and a cannula inserted to retrieve fat cells using a gentle back-and-forth motion. Gentle movement keeps blood loss and trauma to a minimum so the fat cells survive the extraction and have a higher likelihood of “taking” to the recipient areas of the face.

2) Processing

Once harvested, the solution will contain more than just the needed fat cells. It may also contain dead or damaged fat cells, blood, and tumescent fluid. These components will need to be removed. Injecting any one of these components into a patient’s face along with fat cells can negatively impact the fat cells’ ability to graft. The fat can be purified through sedimentation, centrifugation, or washing and filtering. These methods leave only the fat cells and separate out the other materials also present in the solution. The fat cells are then placed into syringes in preparation for fat transfer.

3) Fat Transfer(2)

Once the purified fat is transferred to syringes, the fat can be injected into the areas requiring additional volume. Dr. Bonillas will inject the fat in small even amounts into the various layers of existing fatty tissue in the face.


Benefits of facial fat transfer include:

  • Soft, natural-looking, long-lasting results
  • Little to no recovery downtime
  • Minimally-invasive procedure
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Reduces wrinkles, folds, and scars
  • Simultaneous increase in facial volume and contouring
  • Easily complements additional cosmetic procedures (e.g. brow lift, face lift, upper eyelid lift)


You may be a good candidate for fat transfer if:

  • You are in good health.
  • Your lips have thinned over time.
  • You have enough fat to harvest for transfer.
  • You are not an excessive drinker or smoker.
  • You comprehend the full risks of the procedure.
  • You carry realistic expectations of the procedure.
  • You will follow all pre- and post-operative guidelines.
  • You have hollowed regions on the face such as cheeks, around the temples, or underneath the eyes.

You may not be a good candidate for this procedure if you have a history of fat reasborption after fat transfer.(1) If you have reabsorbed fat from a previous procedure at least once, you are likely to reabsorb fat again from another procedure. 

Personal Consultation

Dr. Bonillas is a board-certified plastic surgeon with a passion for helping people achieve their aesthetic goals. Facial fat transfer can help enhance a patient’s appearance, reversing some of the effects of aging. In your consultation, we will discuss the improvements that you’d like to make, and your options. We will discuss areas that may need treatment, and review before and after pictures so that you can anticipate the results of this procedure. If you are ready to take the next step toward a smoother, fuller, more supple facial appearance, contact us today at our Scottsdale office at (480) 245-6380, or through our online contact form.


You should follow preparation guidelines closely to achieve the best results possible from your procedure. To prepare for facial fat transfer, you should:

  • Schedule the necessary time to stay at home to recover
  • Four weeks prior, quit smoking and using nicotine products
  • Two weeks prior, avoid blood-thinning medications, vitamins, and supplements–such as Motrin, Advil, ibuprofen, green tea, Vitamin A & E, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo biloba, and garlic.
  • Request medical records and labs for clearance to undergo the procedure
  • Inform your doctor of a cold, illness, or infection–you may need to reschedule
  • Ask a person you trust to drive you home after the procedure.


Your face may feel tight and tender to touch in the first several days after surgery. You’ll also be recovering from the liposuction, and swelling and bruising in these areas is to be expected. Dr. Bonillas will prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort you experience in the first few days. Take this time to rest and heal. Your incisions will not require sutures and heal on their own.  You may return to light activity within the first few days after surgery but avoid heavy exercise for the next few weeks. The length of your recovery will depend on the amount of fat that was removed, and it can take several months to completely recover from liposuction. In the meantime, the transferred fat will be undergoing the cellular processes that will allow it to make a new healthy home in the treated areas of your face. 


Patients can expect to see their final results after about six months. By this time any lingering swelling will have resolved, and any transferred fat that has not been reabsorbed by the body will have successfully grafted in place. 

Cost of Facial Fat Transfer in Scottsdale

The cost of a facial fat transfer will vary among patients. The cost will depend heavily on a number of factors such as facility fees, anesthesia, the number of areas treated, and length of the procedure. Furthermore, facial fat transfer is considered a cosmetic elective procedure. So it likely will not be covered by an insurance provider. We will be glad to share an approximate quote and review possible financing options in a personalized consultation.


  1. Vasavada A, Raggio BS. Autologous Fat Grafting For Facial Rejuvenation. [Updated 2022 Sep 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557860/.
  2. Shauly O, Gould DJ, Ghavami A. Fat Grafting: Basic Science, Techniques, and Patient Management. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2022;10(3):e3987. Published 2022 Mar 18. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000003987