Autologous fat transfer for facial rejuvenation: A systematic review on technique, efficacy, and satisfaction

Jan Willem Groen, Todor K. Krastev, Juliette Hommes, Janneke A. Wilschut, Marco J.P.F. Ritt, Rene R.J.W. Van Der Hulst

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Parallel to the steady decline in surgical aesthetic procedures to the face, dermal fillers seem to have gained a more prominent place in facial rejuvenation over the last couple of years. As a dermal, facial filler, autologous fat transfer (AFT) seems to have real potential because of the biocompatibility of adipose tissue besides being a procedure with few and primarily minor complications. This systematic review aims to evaluate the available evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of AFT for facial rejuvenation. Method: A systematic review after the Preferred-Reporting-Items-for-Systematic-Reviews-and-Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement was conducted. MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Library were searched up to December 2016, with no language restrictions imposed. Case series, cohort studies, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting on relevant outcomes were included. Results: Eighteen clinical articles were included, reporting on 3, 073 patients in total over a mean follow-up period of 13.9 months. Meta-analysis showed an overall complication rate of 6% (95% CI 3.0-14.0), with hematoma/ecchymosis (5%), fat necrosis/oil cysts (2%), and irregular fat distribution and scars (both 2%) being among the most reported. No major complications were reported, and the overall patient satisfaction rate was 81%. Conclusion: Although the evidence in this systematic review is still limited and plagued by heterogeneity between studies, AFT seems to be a promising method in facial rejuvenation with fewer complications than other fillers and high patient satisfaction rates. Further large-cohort, preferably multicenter, RCTs should substantiate these results through quantifiable volumetric assessment tools and validated patient questionnaires, while adhering to predetermined nomenclature in terms of complications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1606
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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