Structural Fat Grafting

Structural Fat Grafting


A telltale sign of aging is thinning of the face.  The loss of subcutaneous fat has significant effects on your appearance: the eyes look sunken, the cheeks appear hollow, wrinkles form, and the facial skin droops and falls. Replenishing the face with volume restores a youthful, vibrant, rejuvenated appearance.  In structural fat grafting (also known as fat transfer, fat injections, or fat augmentation), your own body fat is used to fill in the hollows under your eyes, lift your cheeks, soften wrinkles, and smooth out the facial folds. Fat may also be placed into hands and other body defects to provide a youthful, fuller contour.   Structural fat grafting has the advantages of being completely natural, permanent, and without risk of allergic reactions.

Dr. Chung has extensive expertise in various fat grafting techniques.  She routinely uses fat grafting in conjunction with other surgical and skin procedures to provide her patients with comprehensive facial rejuvenation. Dr. Chung has performed countless fat grafting procedures on her patients from all over the Boston area, including Brookline, Wellesley, Newton, Needham, Andover, North Andover, Waltham, Salem, Peabody, and Lynnfield.

Am I a good candidate for structural fat grafting?

If you have volume loss in your face with adequate fat reserves elsewhere in your body, you may be a good candidate for structural fat grafting.

What happens during the initial consultation for fat grafting?

Proper structural fat grafting requires an artistic eye as well as surgical skill, and it all begins at the first visit.  During your initial consultation, Dr. Chung will closely examine your facial features and areas of volume loss. With her discerning eye, Dr. Chung will exam the contours of your face and make recommendations on how to give you a rejuvenated and refreshed appearance. She will also examine your body to assess if there is enough body fat to harvest and transfer. As with all facial plastic surgery procedures, good candidates for fat injections include men and women who are healthy with realistic expectations. Dr. Chung is committed to meeting your individual goals and providing you with the best, most natural-appearing results.

What happens during the fat grafting procedure?

Fat grafting may be performed as a stand alone procedure or in combination with other anti-aging procedures such as a facelift, eyelid blepharoplasty, or skin resurfacing. Structural fat grafting is typically performed in the office under local anesthesia.  The procedure takes approximately one to two hours, depending on the extent of fat grafting.

Before the procedure, Dr. Chung will review your facial photos as well as the goals of the procedure(s). She will mark your face, as well as other site(s) on the body from which fat will be taken  Fat is usually harvested from the abdomen or thighs under local anesthesia.  Unlike liposuction, where fat cells are removed with power suction which destroys most of the living cells, the harvest for fat grafting is performed gently.  Using a delicate aspiration technique, the fat cells are removed, gently washed, and prepared for transfer according to a specific scientific protocol.  The micro droplets of fat cells are then injected into the predetermined areas of the face through a tiny opening in the skin.

Complementary procedures

You may also choose to have other anti-aging procedures performed at the same time as your structural fat grafting.  Mini facelifts, neck lifts, and skin resurfacing procedures are commonly combined with fat transfer to provide a unified, comprehensive facial rejuvenation.

What is the recovery like?

After the procedure, there will be some swelling and bruising at both the donor and treatment sites. The amount and length of swelling depend on the areas treated as well as the amount of fat injected. Typically the puffiness and swelling subsides after a few weeks; most patients are able to return to work, wear makeup, and exercise after a week.

What will I look like?

The majority of the swelling will dissipate after a few weeks, and there will be continued improvement for several months. The incisions will be barely visible and you will have a wonderful refreshed and uplifted appearance to your face. With fat grafting, you will experience firsthand how an improved look will inspire an improved outlook.


“A thin face is an old face, so you want to keep it plump.”

Charla Krupp