Fat transfer to the face

Facial fat transfer is a minimally invasive plastic surgery procedure that uses patient’s own fat, most commonly taken from the hips, thighs and abdomen to add or restore volume to specific areas of the face.

Fat is practically used as a natural filler when restoring volume to the cheeks, the temples, plump thin lips or smoothens deep nasolabial folds and marionette lines. However, it can also be spread in a thin layer throughout the face to regenerate the whole face.

It is an outpatient procedure during which Dr Pagkalos uses VASER® Hi-Def liposuction to extract fat cells from the donor area and subsequently, after enriching them with stem cells, injects them to the recipient site.

Both the atraumatic VASER® Hi-Def liposuction and the gentle filtering secure that fat cells are in the best state possible, healthy and strong before being transferred to the face.

Fat transfer, Stem cells and Nano-fat

Dr Pagkalos always enriches fat tissue with Adipose-Delivered-Stem Cells (ADSCs) from patient’s own adipose tissue. Stem cells vastly improve the outcomes of facial fat transfer through two different actions:

​a. Stems cells significantly increase fat cell survival

One of the most common challenges plastic surgeons have to face when doing a lipotransfer is predicting the amount of the fat tissue that will eventually survive. This is very important, especially when it comes to the face, where it is vital to have a balanced, anatomically proportional and aesthetically pleasing look. ADSCs significantly improve fat tissue survival achieving long term results of lipotransfer to the face. By adding stem cells to the fat tissue, Dr Pagkalos secures the longevity of the results and the preservation of his artistic work to the face.

b. Stem cells act as a powerful tissue regenerator, repairing tissue damage accumulated with age and sun exposure

Countless studies published in medical journals have outlined the stem cells’ tremendous potential in tissue regeneration. ADSCs are multipotent cells that, once activated, secret a cascade of regenerative agents such as cytokines, chemokines, mRNAs, microRNAs, IL-6 and TGF-B. Tissue repair immediately begins and skin elasticity and skin quality gradually restore over a period of one-month post-OP.

Nano-fat is a recent addition to collagen growth stimulation agents. When fat is further processed, filtered and refined, it becomes nano-fat that can rejuvenate thin, crepey skin, and/or improve difficult areas such as the tear troughs and the skin of the upper lip. Since fat cells are ruptured during the process, nano-fat does not contain any intact fat cells and it is solely used to improve the quality, tone and texture of the skin.

Which areas of the face can fat transfer treat?

Common sites for fat rejuvenation of the face include:

  • Temples

  • Forehead

  • Glabella

  • Hollow upper eyelids

  • Tear troughs

  • Cheeks

  • Nasolabial folds

  • Marionette lines

  • Lips

  • Chin

  • Jawline


  • Fat grafting allows for a large volume facial augmentation. When substantial quantity is needed, it is easy to harvest and transfer large volumes of fat. On the other hand, the fillers alternative in such cases would not be cost effective. 

  • Harvesting unwanted fat from other parts of patient’s body through VASER® Hi-Def liposuction adds the benefit of simultaneous body contouring.  

  • Fat grafting is the longest-lasting treatment option to reverse volume loss and smoothen facial wrinkles and folds. The fat that survives after approximately 3-4 months post-OP is considered permanent. 

  • Since the procedure uses patients’ own fat and not synthetic derma fillers, the chance of an allergic reaction ceases to exist. 

  • Fat tissue is a good source of stem cells that can be used to enhance the rejuvenation results. 

  • Facial fat transfer can be combined with a facelift to further improve aesthetic outcomes. 

  • Facial fat transfer enjoys high rates of patient satisfaction, with a 84% worth-it score in RealSelf.com 


  • The procedure takes considerably longer time than simply injecting derma fillers.

  • There are limitations associated with fat tissue survival. 

  • The final result can be difficult to reverse. 

  • There is a downtime, with recovery taking at least a week and involving swelling, bruising and soreness. 

  • Depending on the extend of the procedure and patient’s medical history, sedation or even general anesthesia may be recommended. 

As in all cosmetic procedures, the outcome vastly depends on plastic surgeon’s artistic eye. The restrictions, when it comes to reversing the final results, opt for an even more thorough aesthetic approach.

Dr Pagkalos always makes sure that his patients look fresher, younger and restful, without anyone could tell that they have had a plastic surgery procedure.