Autologous Fat Grafting for Nasolabial Fold

Noticeable depressions in the nasolabial folds are one of the first signs of aging. The nasolabial folds are the located on each the side of the face, surrounding the nose and mouth. As they begin to deepen, the appearance of the face begins to looks aged. Fillers can be used to flatten out these areas and have been used for this purpose for some time. Autologous fat grafting is a newer procedure but one that is equally effective and when done correctly, is longer lasting. Fat grafting is used on this part of the face more than any other.

Autologous fat grafting, also known as fat transplantation and autologous structural fat grafting, involves the transfer of a person’s fat from one part of the body to another. When this is used for nasolabial folds, the fat is injected into the face, directly into the folds. The results are less pronounced folds and a more youthful appearance.

Both men and women undergo autologous fat grafting for nasolabial folds. Anyone who has deep folds and who want a more refreshed and youthful look, are good candidates if they are in good health and have noticeable nasolabial folds that they want flattened or filled out. This procedure is mostly for older individuals.

Those in their mid-thirties and older may find fat grafting for nasolabial folds to be a aesthetically beneficial procedure. It is generally around this time that the folds begin to deepen. Individuals on the younger end of this spectrum won’t need a lot of fat injected. Such an individual may be better served having an artificial filler, such as Juvederm or Restylane, injected into the folds.  These are considered a better option for superficial depressions. Deeper, wider folds are better treated with fat grafting.

This procedure has the potential to be very successful. It can fill out the nasobial folds so that they are no longer deep and depressed. This can aesthetically turn back the clock. A person will often look years younger after undergoing fat grafting, that is if it is done correctly. The right amount of fat must be injected and it must be contoured correctly so that the results are symmetrical and natural looking.

Autologous fat grafting for the nasolabial folds isn’t the only way to improve the appearance of this part of the face. Some people will have these folds excised. There are enough risks associated with excision that many doctors will discourage it. The resulting scar and the fact that the results are unpredictable are two of the most notable. Fillers are generally the most often used and recommended way to improve the appearance of deep nasolabial folds, though fat grafting is increasingly being recommended.

Though treating nasolabial folds with fat grafting is relatively new, it has proven to be very effective. After it has been utilized a number of times, the results can become permanent. It is thus, an option worth considering, especially for those looking for long-term, natural-looking results.


Step 1: Prepare the patient- Anesthesia and sedation is administered to the patient.

Step 2: Harvest the fat- The fat is harvested from the lower half of the body, for example, the lower part of the stomach, the thighs, hips and inside of the knees.

Step 3: Process the fat- The fat will be placed in a centrifuged where the fat cells are separated and removed.

Step 4: Inject the fat- The doctor will inject the processed fat into the nasolabial folds and contour it so that it appears symmetrical and natural looking.

Read more details about PRP for fat transfers.


After the procedure, a person may experience some pain, bruising and swelling. The pain should subside pretty quickly. However, the inflammation may last for a few weeks. Prescription pain medication may be prescribed for the first few days. After that time, an over-the-counter pain medication will be sufficient. Some surgeons will suggest that a person sleep on two pillows for 7 to 14 days and refrain from contact sports for 6 to 8 weeks. The blood pressure should be kept relatively low for at least 3 weeks so as not to cause internal bleeding at the procedure site.


The cost of autologous fat grafting for nasolabial folds will vary. However, persons can expect to pay between $1500 and $4000.


There are complications and risks commonly associated with autologous fat grafting for nasolabial folds. The fat may reabsorb into the body. If a significant amount of it does than the results won’t be that noticeable and it may be necessary to either have the procedure re-done or to try something else. Calcification of the fat is another possible complication. When the fat does calcify, it will harden and lumps may develop.  Fat embolism, though rare, is a very serious complication. It can cause stroke, heart attack and even death.

Questions to ask your doctor

1.How much experience do you have administering autologous fat grafting for nasolabial folds.

2. Do you think this is procedure is sufficient for my nasolabial fold depressions?

3.What is the likelihood that the fat will reabsorb into my body and how much is likely to absorb?

4. Do you provide free re-touches if a lot of re-absorption occurs?

5. May I please see some before and after photos?