One of Dr. Nerina Wilkinson’s top procedures, delivering a scar-less facelift that rejuvenates and regenerates the facial tissues to achieve the most natural results.

Facial Fat Grafting (Lipofilling) Procedures South Africa

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Cosmetic Surgery
  4. /
  5. Facial
  6. /
  7. Facial Fat Grafting (Lipofilling) Procedures South Africa

Lipofilling is used to improve facial features and provide a rejuvenated uplifted effect

Lipofilling can improve features that make you look older and more tired than you feel. It is good for the lines around the eyes, sunken cheeks, lines between the nose and mouth (nasolabial folds), forehead wrinkles, skin furrows or depressions, plumping out hands and earlobes.

What is a fat grafting procedure?

Facial fat grafting, also known as lipofilling, is a procedure that uses your own body fat to enhance and replace the volume of the face which we lose because of the ageing process. 

Find out more about our approach to fractional laser treatments, or book a consultation with Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates.

Learn More

Frequently asked questions about facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedures

Our approach to facial fat (lipofilling) procedure

Dr Nerina Wilkinson has a set standard of individualised care and expertise which is reflected by the entire team. Our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and continuously delivers outstanding results by using state of the art medical devices and products and sparing no expense to create a safe and luxurious environment where all your skincare concerns can be addressed.

We are passionate about educating our clients on safe, results-driven treatments and we design each client’s Skincare Treatment Plan individually to deliver optimal results. To achieve this, we start with a computerised VISIA Skin Analysis that objectively measures and maps your skin followed by a detailed consultation with your Skincare Specialist during which specific concerns are highlighted and discussed.

Each facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedure is completely bespoke and formulated around each individual’s concern and desired results. Book an appointment to consult with Dr. Nerina Wilkinson.

Who is the ideal candidate for facial fat grafting/lipofilling treatments?

The best candidates are those who fully understand the procedure and have realistic expectations about the results.

Facial Lipofilling can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it won’t necessarily change your looks to match your ideal or cause other people to treat you differently.

Before you decide to have this procedure, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your surgeon.

The best candidates are men and women who are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in their expectations.

As with any surgical procedure, it is best to discuss your specific medical history and needs with your doctor. Book an appointment to consult with Dr. Nerina Wilkinson.

How are facial fat grafting procedures performed?

This procedure replaces the volume using a 360′ approach to create youthful, soft contours that lift and illuminate the whole face. A syringe is used to suction the subcutaneous fat from the donor site. The fat is purified using specialised techniques to create lipografts and nano fat.

A multi-plane technique precisely transplants the fat and stem cells to the face at different levels and layers to improve facial contours and create an uplifting effect. First the bone in the mid-face, then muscles and mid structures, and finally the nano fat is layered very superficially under the skin harnessing the potential of the rich stem cells to improve the quality of the skin.

This can cause excessive swelling in the first 7 to 10 days and then settles quickly. Although most patients only need one procedure as we continue to age and lose volume in the face another session may be required at a later stage.

How long do lipofilling procedures take to perform?

Lipofilling usually takes 1 to 2 hours, depending on the extent of the procedure. Fat will be harvested from an area of the body with the fattiest deposits – abdomen, flanks, inner thighs or knees.

How many lipofilling procedures are required to see results?

How long does it take to see results from facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedures?

Patients should see final results after about six months, though improvement should start to become apparent just a few days after surgery.

How long do results from facial fat grafting procedures last?

Surgeons often slightly overfill the targeted area because it is normal for a certain percentage of cells not to survive. After about six months, the fat cells remaining should be enduringly established and last a lifetime. Most patients only need one procedure as we continue to age and lose volume in the face another session may be required at a later stage.

Facial fat grafting (lipofilling): Before and After

Before a fat grafting procedure

Schedule and complete any pre-operative tests requested by Dr Wilkinson. STOP SMOKING – nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin and causes delays in wound healing.

Stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatories, herbal medicine, diet pills, etc. (2 weeks before surgery).

Ensure that you have arranged everything you will need for your recovery e.g. meals, pillows, straws, ice, books etc.

Arrange for someone to drop you off at the clinic and collect you after discharge.
You may not drive for 24 hours after receiving oral sedation.

Schedule a pre-operative consultation with Dr Wilkinson 2 weeks before surgery.

Day of procedure/during procedure

Lipofilling is performed under conscious oral sedation. You will be totally relaxed and drowsy throughout the procedure but have the benefit of not having the side effects associated with general anaesthetic.

Your surgery will be performed at Dr Wilkinson’s clinic, and you will be required to stay at the practice for +/- 1 hour after the procedure.

After fat grafting procedure

After surgery, you may experience some discomfort from the area where the fat was harvested but most of your discomfort can be controlled by the medication prescribed by your doctor.
If you feel any severe pain, inform the clinic staff immediately.

You can expect some swelling and bruising afterwards, which differs from patient to patient. It depends on the extent of the procedure as well as the individual’s tendency to bruise.

NO smoking after surgery as smoking may compromise wound healing. Dr Wilkinson will instruct you to keep your head elevated for several days, and to use cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising.

You will be required to stay approximately 1 hour after the procedure and see Dr Wilkinson post-operatively for a check up as well as after +/- 2 – 4 days for a wound check, after 3 weeks and at 6 weeks for a surgical follow-up.

Failure to adhere to these instructions may lead to complications and jeopardize the results of your surgery.

How long is the recovery period for facial fat grafting procedures (lipofilling) treatments?

Most people feel ready to go out in public (and back to work) in a week to 10 days after their facial fat transfer surgery. By then, depending on your rate of healing and your doctor’s instructions, you’ll probably be able to wear make-up to hide the bruising that remains.

You may be sensitive to sunlight, wind, and other irritants for several weeks, so you should wear sunglasses and sunblock when you go out. Dr Wilkinson will advise you to keep your activities to a minimum for 5 to 7 days and to avoid more strenuous activities for about 3 weeks after your fat grafting procedure. It’s especially important to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, including bending, lifting, and rigorous sports.

Your new look

Healing is a gradual process and it may take time for you to appreciate the subtle changes in your appearance after lipofilling. Your satisfaction with lipofilling is likely to be greater if you understand the procedure thoroughly and if your expectations are realistic. The important thing is how you feel about it. If you’ve met your goals, then your surgery is a success.

How do I ensure that a facial fat grafting (lipofilling) is the right procedure for me?

To see if this is the best cosmetic surgery procedure for you, always start with a professional consultation with a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon for an in-depth analysis of your facial features and to reach a good understanding of your skincare concerns and goals.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson’s unique and comprehensive surgical consultation is available for you to discuss and analyse your concerns and goals and for her (together with her team of specialists) to provide bespoke advice. Schedule your facial cosmetic surgery consultation today!

What does a facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedure cost in South Africa?

The cost of the facial fat grafting/ stem cell procedure depends on the surgical time, but can be estimated at +/- R 20 000 – R 35 000. The extent of the surgery will only be determined once you have seen Dr Wilkinson for a full assessment/consultation.

Additional costs to expect:

  • Consultation fee: R 1 800
  • Medication required for surgery: +/- R 800 – R 1 500
  • Additional overnight at our facility, other than recommended by us: +/- R 7 000
  • Other investigations advised by Dr Wilkinson

(Please note that these fees are only estimates and can change once you have seen the doctor for your first assessment.)

Are facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedures safe?

Fractional laser is normally safe when performed by a qualified Plastic Surgeon/Aesthetic Doctor. Nevertheless, as with any surgery or aesthetic procedure, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding and/or infection. You can reduce your risks by closely following Dr Wilkinson’s advice both before and after your procedure.

What are the possible risks and complications associated with facial fat grafting treatments?

Your health and lifestyle should always be assessed in conjunction with your expectations before undergoing a fractional laser treatment.

Facial Lipofilling is normally safe when performed by a qualified Plastic Surgeon. Nevertheless, as with any procedure, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding and/or infection.

The minor complications that occasionally follow Lipofilling include:

Persistent discolouration (bruising) and a slight asymmetry in healing. occasional numbness of the skin can occur but usually resolves within a few weeks but in some cases, may be permanent.

Dr. Nerina Wilkinson can provide more insight into any additional side effects, and address any concerns you may have regarding eyelid surgery. Contact us to find out more.

Where are facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedures performed in Cape Town?

Facial fat grafting procedures are usually performed in private cosmetic clinics and other medical clinics that have a focus on aesthetic surgery.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates is a private, high end, a luxurious clinic located in the prestigious V & A Waterfront in Cape Town where Dr Wilkinson founded the House of Aesthetic Couture and Skin Science. Your surgery will be performed at Dr Wilkinson’s clinic, and you will be required to stay at the practice for +/- 1 hour after the procedure.

What type of anaesthesia is used when performing facial fat grafting (lipofilling) procedures?

Lipofilling is performed under conscious oral sedation. You will be totally relaxed and drowsy throughout the procedure but have the benefit of not having the side effects associated with general anaesthetic.



When you meet with Dr Nerina Wilkinson, she examines the area that concerns you. She’ll look at how much fat she can harvest as well as the quality of skin and tissue in the desired area.

During this time, it’s important for you to be honest with her about your expectations, medical history, and whether you’re taking any medication. Then, she’ll discuss your options with you and advise what she think the best decision would be for you to make.

Once you’ve had your questions answered, and are confident that this is in fact what you want, we will agree on a date to have the procedure done.

On the day of your surgery, you’ll be booked into the day clinic to have the procedure.

The process of structural fat grafting involves two steps:

  • Harvesting  – A small amount of fat is removed from other areas of your body that you both agreed to target. Then, the fat is refined and concentrated by removing the oil, water, and blood.
  • Injecting – The fat is then transferred to the area you’re looking to rejuvenate via several injections into the skin. While doing this, she carefully sculpts the face, hands, breasts, buttocks, or other areas that’s being targeted.

While you recuperate, it’s best to keep the area out of direct sunlight as this can damage the now sensitive skin. During your recovery period, you can expect to see some bruising and swelling but, this should subside within two weeks after the procedure.

Patients don’t have to worry about weeks of bed rest as you can resume your regular routine within a matter of hours. The full details of your recovery will be discussed with you during your consultation so you can prepare accordingly. However, it’s helpful for you to read up on the subject as well, so you can be fully prepared.

Dr Nerina Wilkinson has over 20 years of experience in the field of plastic surgery, and fully understand her patients, their needs and their emotions leading up to surgical / aesthetic procedures, which allows her to provide world class advice and care. Additionally, her staff are exceedingly well trained and experienced and equipped to provide you with incredible pre and post-operative care.

Contact us today to book a consultation or to find out more about the process behind fat grafting and its benefits.


Similar to Facial Fat Grafting

Stem Cell Facelift

Utilising special fat grafting techniques to smooth out the texture and fine lines of the facial skin allowing for a more youthful appearance. Completely scarless and incision-free procedure.
View Treatment


Facelifts, also known as rhytidectomy surgery, are one of the many solutions men and women consider to combat the signs of ageing.
View Treatment


Combining sophisticated techniques to microscuplt the proportions of the face to restore youth and refine the facial profile, allowing light to naturally reflect from the skin.
View Treatment


The Cosmetic Surgery Team

Dr Nerina Wilkinson - experienced cosmetic surgeon in Cape Town

About Dr Nerina Wilkinson FCS (Plast SA)

Known as Cape towns facial rejuvenation expert, Dr Wilkinson is a leading facial and breast Plastic Surgeon with over 20 years experience in aesthetics. She uses her (micro precision) surgical experience and detailed knowledge to deliver on the signature natural look.

She specialises in Facial & Breast Rejuvenation & Restoration

What sets her apart is her in-depth surgical precision and knowledge combined with delicate artistic eye. Her philosophy is using art and science to deliver on the signature natural look.

Our Patients'


“Every day I look in the mirror, I can’t believe that this new skin in mine! I reached a point in my life where I thought that I would have to live with the consequences of the severe sun damage I have caused myself through years of surfing. Not only have you given me new skin Nerina, you have actually given me a new life.”

L.S, CO2 Laser Resurfacing Treatment

“My grateful thanks to you all for everything you do for me, and I mean that from the heart of my bottom!”

Skin Science Treatments

“Dr Wilkinson’s team of doctors and highly experienced practitioners show such kindness and attention to detail and are not in a hurry to spend my money on unnecessary treatments, but sincerely want what they feel is best for my personal needs to improve my skin’s appearance as best they can.”

Skin Science Treatments

Book Your Treatment Experience