Facial Skin and Fat Grafting

Dr. Furze is an expert in performing both reconstructive and cosmetic grafts to match the unique needs per individual patient case of lost facial skin.

What is Skin Grafting?

Facial skin grafting is a type of surgery that is performed to replace facial skin that has been lost due to injury, illness, or burns. During the surgery, healthy skin is removed from a different part of the body and then transplanted to replace the missing or damaged skin. Facial skin grafts may be required after a number of events. The most common reasons why someone may need a facial skin graft include:

  • Removal of a cancerous tumor and the healthy skin around it
  • Severe burns or burns covered a large portion of the face
  • Skin infections that have resulted in open wounds
  • Trauma or accident that has caused an open wound to persist


Types of Skin Grafts

If you require a facial skin graft, Dr. Alexis D. Furze will determine which of the two types of skin grafts will best suit your needs.

Full-thickness Grafts

The type of skin graft most often used to replace missing facial skin is a full-thickness graft. In order to perform a full-thickness skin graft, Dr. Furze removes the top two layers of skin (the epidermis and the dermis) along with the underlying muscles and blood vessels that support the skin. This technique allows the transplanted skin to grow with the face as the patient gets older and helps the skin blend better with surrounding tissue.

Split-level Thickness Grafts

A split-level thickness graft involves the removal of only the top two layers of the skin. These grafts often have a shiny, smooth appearance and are less likely to have the same appearance as surrounding skin. They don’t grow as well with surrounding skin, so additional grafts may be needed as the patients gets older. Split-level grafts are typically used to cover large areas.

Skin Grafting Procedure & Recovery

Skin grafts are performed at the hospital under general anesthesia. Dr. Furze begins the procedure by removing healthy skin from the selected donor site, which is usually an area of the body that is concealed by clothing. After the healthy skin is removed, Dr. Furze carefully places it over the transplant area, taking care to align the skin to achieve the most natural result possible. Then he will suture the skin in place and cover it with a surgical dressing. Patients who receive a full-thickness graft will stay in the hospital for 1 – 2 weeks, while those receiving a split-thickness graft can often leave after 3 or 4 days. During this time, Dr. Furze will closely monitor the patient to ensure that blood vessels are developing in the graft and connecting to the skin. If this doesn’t occur, another graft may be required. Pain medications are given during the hospital stay and may be required for some time after the patient has been discharged. The donor site typically heals within 2 – 3 weeks and the graft site heals within 4 weeks. During this time it is important to protect both sites and avoid any activities that could injure the areas. Dr. Furze provides his facial skin graft patients with specific instructions to follow to help them they heal adequately and comfortably.

What is Fat Grafting?

Like skin grafting, fat grafting involves removing fat from one part of the body and transplanting it to another area. Fat grafting has had a recent growth in popularity for its use in cosmetic surgery, where it can be used to replace lost volume on the face. Some of the most popular uses of facial fat grafting are:

  • Add volume to parts of the face that are sunken in, such as under the eyes or the cheeks
  • Soften the appearance of deep creases, such as nasolabial folds and marionette lines
  • Increase fullness in the lips

Fat Grafting Procedure & Recovery

Depending on the extent of fat grafting required, Dr. Furze will perform the surgery at his office or at a hospital. First Dr. Furze will administer anesthesia before using liposuction to remove fat from the selected donor area. After the fat has been removed, Dr. Furze will use a purification process to prepare the fat for transplantation. Finally, the fat cells will be injected into the donor site using a needle or cannula. Dr. Furze utilizes a number of specialized techniques while placing the fat cells to ensure a natural result.

Most patients are able to go home on the same day as their fat grafting procedure. There will be a significant amount of swelling and bruising, so many people prefer to stay at home for the first week following surgery. Within two weeks of surgery, the majority of swelling and bruising have dissipated and any lingering effects can be covered with makeup. While the effects of fat grafting are immediate, the full results of the procedure cannot be appreciated until all swelling as dissipated, which typically occurs within 6 weeks.

Facial Skin & Fat Grafting Consultation in Orange County

Dr. Furze is a double-board certified surgeon who is an expert in facial skin and fat grafting. He is equally skilled at performing reconstructive and cosmetic grafts, and works closely with each patient to meet his or her unique needs, while ensuring the most natural result. If you are interested in skin or fat grafting, we encourage you to contact our Newport Beach office today.

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