Fat grafting, or fat transfer, is a procedure during which fat is taken from one part of the body, such as the abdomen or thighs, using liposuction and then injected into the face to add volume.
A new study found that fat grafting results for the under eye area last at least three years, according to Reuters.
“It’s becoming a very common procedure and a way to naturally rejuvenate especially the lower eyelid area,” said study author Dr. Cory Yeh, a plastic surgeon from Laguna Woods, California.
“The vast majority of patients are seeing results up to three years,” Yeh said. “The question is always, are we going to be seeing results past that point?”
The study, published in Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, tracked photos of 99 people who had the fat-transfer procedure between 2004 and 2008.
The patients, who were between 35 and 71 years old and mostly women, had photos of their eye area taken every few months for up to four years following the surgery. Other members of the study team rated how much improvement, if any, they saw in patients’ faces from their pre-surgery photos.
In pictures taken within the first year after the surgery, 5 percent of patients showed no improvement, 51 percent had mild improvement and 44 percent had marked improvement. For two to three years post-surgery, 14 percent of patients had no improvement, 68 percent had mild improvement and 18 percent had marked improvement. However, the researchers only had data on 22 patients that far out.
Researchers said the findings matched their expectations.
“We know that the person’s going to continue to age, and that they’re going to continue to lose volume” under the eyes, Yeh said. “I would have been shocked if we’d said, ‘No, everybody remains perfect.'”
The current study did not look at any results from patients who got injections, another option for adding volume under the eye. While fat grafting offers longer-lasting results and less maintenance, it does have a higher cost and a higher risk of complications compared to injectables, such as Restylane.