Facial Fat Fitness: A New Paradigm to Understand Facial Aging and Aesthetics

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2021 Feb;45(1):151-163. doi: 10.1007/s00266-020-01933-6. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


Traditionally, facial adipose tissue has been perceived and treated as a homogenous volume-occupying subcutaneous depot. However, recent research from across disciplines is converging to reveal a far more anatomically organized and functionally dynamic role of facial adipose tissue. In this narrative review, we will discuss new insights into adipocyte function and facial adipose anatomy that have far-reaching implications for the practice of aesthetic facial plastic surgery. These concepts are synthesized into a "facial fat fitness" model which can be used to explain clinical observations in facial aging and aesthetic surgery. Fat fitness relates to the quality of facial adipose tissue, as opposed to quantity, and describes whether adipose tissue is in a predominantly healthy hyperplastic or unhealthy hypertrophic state. Fat fitness is modulated by lifestyle factors, and may be impacted positively or negatively by facial aesthetic treatments. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE IV: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266 .

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Adipose tissue; Aesthetic; Aging; Face; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Esthetics
  • Face / surgery
  • Humans
  • Skin Aging*
  • Surgery, Plastic*