Non-surgical procedures, such as Muscle Relaxing Injections, Dermal Fillers, and fat grafting (also known as lipofilling), are becoming a popular alternative to going under the knife. Dr Nerina Wilkinson refers to fat as “liquid gold” because it’s so versatile and can be used to naturally replace volumes that have been lost in the face, breasts, and buttocks.

Structural Fat Grafting

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Cosmetic Surgery
  4. /
  5. Facial
  6. /
  7. Structural Fat Grafting

Non-surgical procedures, such as Muscle Relaxing Injections, Dermal Fillers, and fat grafting (also known as lipofilling), are becoming a popular alternative to going under the knife. Dr Nerina Wilkinson refers to fat as “liquid gold” because it’s so versatile and can be used to naturally replace volumes that have been lost in the face, breasts, and buttocks.

Facial fat grafting or lipofilling has been known to organically improve and rejuvenate the contours with a very natural-looking effect. What’s more, there’s no need for concern about being injected with foreign substances.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Fat Grafting?

Facial lipofilling or fat grafting is a procedure which uses your own body fat to enhance and replace the volume of the face which we lose because of the aging process. 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.  By placing fat in the upper part of the face you are creating an uplift effect. Fat grafting can be done on its own, or in conjunction with other facial surgery procedures such as a Facelift, Blepharoplasty or Laser resurfacing. If you’re considering Lipofilling or Facial Fat Grafting, this information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how it’s performed, and what results you can expect. It can’t answer all your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask Dr Wilkinson about anything you don’t understand.

How Does Fat Transfer Work?

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.

The best and softest fat is found in the knees or inner thighs, so this is preferable for fat being injected into the face. A 2 – 3mm blunt cannula is used to harvest the fat which is then processed in a centrifuge to remove any excess fluid.

The fat is then carefully and precisely injected into the areas of the face (or body) that need it. We know that all the fat injected will not survive the process and therefore Dr Wilkinson over corrects any deficiencies to compensate for the fat which will be re-absorbed by the body.

Who Is The Best Candidate Fat Grafting or Lipofilling?

If you feel as though your face could look a little plumper because maturing has started to take a toll on your skin, fat grafting (also known as lipofilling) is definitely an option for you. Alternatively, fat can also be used in other areas of the body, such as the hands, neck, buttocks, and breasts.

If you see Dr Nerina Wilkinson for a consultation for dermal fillers or muscle relaxing injections, for example, she may recommend this procedure as an alternative that would better suit your needs if you require more extensive volume replacement and rejuvenation of the face.

How Long Do Fat Transfer Results Last?

Fat grafting results are permanent although a small percentage of the injected fat will be reabsorbed during the first few months. Dr Wilkinson therefore “over grafts” to avoid this effecting the desired results. Depending on your desired results, some patients require “touch up” procedures to maintain optimal results.

How Long Is The Recovery After Facial Fat Grafting?

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 sun block 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. 

How Do I Choose The Best Fat Transfer Procedure For Me?

To see if this is the best cosmetic surgery procedure for you, always start with a professional consultation with 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! 



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.




DR Nerina Wilkinson has pioneered one of the most natural sought after “scarless facelifting” techniques.
View Treatment

EYELight360™ Blepharoplasty

Dr Nerina Wilkinson has a special interest in a holistic 3 dimensional approach to restoration of the eyes.
View Treatment

Ear Surgery

If you feel as though your ears are oversized, too small, or even protrude out too much consider otoplasty.
View Treatment

Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery, also known as an eyelid tuck or blepharoplasty, is a simple procedure that I commonly recommend to both...
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

Neck Improvement Surgery

More often than not, neck lifts are performed in conjunction with face lifts. They can, when suitable, also be performed on their own.
View Treatment

Stem Cell Facelift

Stem cells are nature’s way of causing internal repair of tissue, when these cells divide, each new one that’s created...
View Treatment

The Cosmetic Surgery Team

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.

“Dearest Nerina, if you were not a plastic surgeon , I am sure you would be a sculptor. I love my newly sculpted breasts and face. The additional bonus was also my thinner knees where you removed the fat from. Love my body.”

Book Your Treatment Experience