Facial Fat Transfer

Dr. Cook and our entire team are well-known for their artistic and natural approach to facial fillers.

Why Dr. John Q. Cook Is the Right Facial Plastic  Surgeon for You


Dr. Cook has over 20 years of experience with facial fat transfer. This procedure is the foundation of his technique with facial fillers, and guides the decision of whether fat transfer or fillers is the best choice for the patient.


Dr. Cook’s fat transfer surgery incorporates cutting-edge techniques such as Nanofat and AquaGold delivery for comprehensive rejuvenation.


Dr. Cook provides an individualized analysis of each person’s face in order to understand the natural balance of each face.


Dr. Cook is committed to naturalistic principles of facial rejuvenation. He has carefully studied facial aesthetics for most of his life and was one of the first surgeons in the Midwest to realize the value of combining facial fat transfer with facial lifting surgery.

Education and Credentials

Awards and Recognition


See the difference experience makes. Scroll through before and afters in the photo carousel of fat transfer patients treated by Dr. Cook and his team.

Facial Fat Transfer

Get More Youthful Contours and Proportions with Facial Volume Enhancement from Dr. John Cook in Chicago and Winnetka

There are several aspects of a youthful-looking face we can attribute to volume: pleasantly rounded cheeks, full lips, and structural support that keeps facial skin and other tissues from sagging down into jowls. People often begin to lose their natural facial fat their late 30s, and the process accelerates with each passing decade. This coincides with a slowdown in collagen production, leading to less of the molecule in the skin. As a result, the upper cheeks, temples, lips, chin, and other facial areas begin to look gaunt, thin, and hollow. By countering these changes with facial fat transfer at his Chicago-area practice, Dr. John Cook can restore the missing volume, giving the face youthful contours once more.

Dr. Cook was one of the first plastic surgeons in the Midwest to carry out facial fat transfer to restore facial volume, both as an independent procedure and as part of facial rejuvenation surgery. Since he first began using the technique, he has carried out facial fat transfer in several thousand patients. Although the majority of Dr. Cook’s facial fat transfer patients choose the procedure to correct the loss of facial fullness that occurs with aging, there are also situations where a patient is lacking in facial volume due to an underdevelopment of the facial bones—particularly in the cheeks or chin. In these cases, facial fat transfer or dermal fillers can be used to build up the soft tissues overlying the areas of weak bone structure. Another possibility is the use of cheek and chin implants, which are placed directly on the areas where the bone structure is lacking.

What Is Facial Fat Transfer?

Facial fat transfer is truly a transplant operation that involves moving living tissue from one area of the body to another. Success depends on the same primary factor as that of a heart or kidney transplant: survival of the transplanted tissue in its new location.

To obtain survival of the greatest percentage of transferred fat cells, two key facial fat transfer rules must be followed: First, the fat cells must be harvested with an extremely gentle technique from an area where there are plenty to collect. Standard liposuction equipment cannot be used to harvest fat cells, since the technique subjects the cells to excessive pressure and causes disruption of the delicate cell membrane.

The second facial fat transfer rule is that cells must be transferred gently, precisely, and in tiny channels. This provides the cells with the best chance of obtaining a blood supply in the face, without which they will not survive.

Dr. Cook has performed several thousand facial fat transfer procedures and is able to obtain 30 to 40 percent survival rate of the transferred fat cells for the significant majority of patients. Once the cells are in place with a good blood supply, prospects for their long-term survival after facial fat transfer are excellent. As with the fat cells that are already there, some thinning out with the passage of time is to be expected. After all, fat atrophy is a key component of the facial aging process.

Recovery from facial fat transfer is easy for most patients. Our patients tell us that they are pleasantly surprised by how little pain there is after facial fat transfer surgery. There will be considerable swelling and bruising in the zones of fat transfer, so that most patients will prefer to take at least a week off from social interactions or work that involves client contact. We provide each patient with specific guidelines based on the extent of their facial fat transfer surgery and the person’s individual needs.

Autologous Fat Transfer: A Missing Link in Facial Rejuvenation

A Featured Medical Report: American Health Front

Facial Fat Transfer Variations

Several different strategies exist for facial fat transfer. Many patients accept an over correction in order to obtain the maximum long-term benefit from a single procedure. Others prefer a sequence of small-volume fat transfers so that they can return to work more quickly. Still others will return for additional fat transfer one to two years after their first facial fat transfer procedure in order to enhance the power of the correction. As with all of our procedures, we provide each patient with highly individualized attention, so that we can design a treatment plan that is best for his or her needs.

If you would like more information about facial fat transfer and what it can do for you, one of Whole Beauty® Institute’s team members will be happy to discuss the surgery and recovery process with you. They can also show you examples of patients who have benefited from facial fat transfer, so that you can determine whether the results are in line with your personal vision.

Contact Whole Beauty® Institute to arrange a consultation for facial fat transfer in Chicago or Winnetka. Call 312-751-2112 or send a message online.

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Why Choose the Chicago Area’s Whole Beauty® Institute for Facial Fat Transfer?

Dr. Cook and the team at the Whole Beauty® Institute are leaders in the field of facial fat transfer. Our approach to facial volume derives from Dr. Cook’s two decades of experience with facial fat transfer. Almost 20 years ago, Dr. Cook saw the potential of fat transfer to restore the volume loss that often accompanies facial aging.

The entire Whole Beauty® Institute team follows the approach that Dr. Cook uses when he carries out facial fat transfer procedures. This includes the frequent use of blunt cannulas, a multi-layered restoration of volume, and a deep understanding of the anatomy of the area.

What Is Dr. Cook's Approach to Facial Fat Transfer?

Autologous fat transfer is one of the most popular procedures in my practice. I obtain living fat cells from a region of excess, such as the abdomen, and transfer the cells to a region that needs filling out, such as the cheek or lip. When I began working with fat transfer more than 20 years ago, the procedure was not well known in the Midwest. I am happy to see more surgeons using the wonderful technique in the last few years.

The techniques that I have developed for facial fat transfer allow me to address one of the fundamental aspects of facial aging: a loss of fullness in the cheeks, lips, and other key areas that help to create an attractive, youthful face. As we age and the natural fat cells begin to disappear, the soft, full curves of these zones become hollow and fragmented. Think for a moment of the way the cheek and lower eyelid blend imperceptibly in a healthy 18 year old. The cheek is certainly not hollow. Instead, it has a wonderful firmness and fullness. When we look at such a cheek, we think of health and vitality.

Unfortunately, as we age, the upper cheek fat thins out. The lower eyelid appears to bulge because the fat that so beautifully camouflaged it is gone. If surgeons address this critical, expressive area by mindlessly removing fat from the lower eyelids, they will only make the area more hollow and fragmented. Unfortunately, this is the standard approach to eyelid rejuvenation: an aggressive destruction of the fat that supports the eye and an attempt to pull the skin tight, which often reduces the eye’s expressive quality.

I am not suggesting that there is never a place for diminishing the fullness of fat in heavy lower eyelids. There are patients who can benefit from a judicious resculpting or repositioning of this fat. For most patients, however, the key issue is to restore fullness to the overlying cheek. Remember that the fat of the lower eyelids has always been there! It just loses its camouflage as we age and the overlying fat of the upper cheek thins out.

Facial fat transfer is a critical component of my facelift technique, but it can also be carried out as an independent procedure. It is particularly useful for patients who are not yet ready for significant face surgery, but who have noticed signs of aging in the upper cheek or around the mouth and in the lips. Some patients prefer to undergo facial fat transfer under a light anesthesia, so that they have no recollection of the procedure, while others select local anesthesia. We can help you determine the approach that is appropriate for you during a facial fat transfer consultation at one of our Chicago-area centers.

With facial fat transfer, the results are highly dependent upon the surgeon’s technique and artistic judgment. I feel that the visual concepts I have derived from careful study of Renaissance painting, as well as years of study of the facial aging process, allows me to form an image that guides me in the creation of form for each facial fat transfer patient.

Facial Fat Transfer for Lip Enhancement

Lip augmentation with fat transfer is a popular procedure at our Chicago centers, since it can provide natural-looking results and it utilizes your own natural tissue. Lip enhancement with fat is usually combined with fat transfer to other facial zones. Results from lip augmentation with facial fat transfer typically last longer than results from other injectable treatments.

The beautiful curves of sensuous lips are complex, so any correction requires a sophisticated visual aesthetic. When lips are overdone, the resulting excessively puffy look does the patient a disservice. When lip enhancement is carried out with an eye for the patient’s unique natural form, the beautiful curves and contours are brought into pleasing harmony with the rest of the face. The entire team at the Whole Beauty® Institute adheres to Dr. Cook’s principles of natural lip enhancement. This is true whether the material we use is your own fat or filler.

With facial fat transfer, we can emphasize the natural high points of the upper and lower lips, rather than creating lips of uniform thickness, which looks unnatural and silly. The zones around the red part of the lips can be highlighted in a sophisticated way.

Alternatives to Facial Fat Transfer: Implants and Fillers

Beyond facial fat transfer, if you would like your chin to have more definition, implants from Dr. Cook can make a world of difference.

Chin implants not only provide a more contoured chin, they also help the entire aesthetic of the face by bringing facial features into better balance and harmony. The procedure begins with a small incision placed discreetly on the underside of the chin. Dr. Cook will place the implant, made of a silicone elastomer material, directly in front of the jawbone, and then close the incision. The procedure generally takes about an hour, and recovery time is minimal. Chin implants can often be placed in tandem with a rhinoplasty, which can further improve facial proportions.

Cheek implants can add more contour and definition to your face, creating better balance among facial features and providing aesthetic improvement to people who have weak cheek structure or whose cheek definition has been affected by the aging process. Implants also serve to smooth out wrinkles and generally add volume to the face. Cheek implants come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and types. They are generally made of silicone elastomer and can be easily removed. Cheek augmentation can be performed in conjunction with other aesthetic options, such as facial fat transfer lip augmentation, chin implants, facelift, eyelid surgery, or a brow lift. If cheek augmentation is being performed on its own, Dr. John Q. Cook will begin by making a small incision inside the mouth. He will then fit the implant inside the cheek tissue and close the incision. Any residual scarring is virtually invisible.

In recent years, a variety of injectable fillers have become available for restoring facial volume at a variety of levels. The workhorse for deep volume restoration is Voluma®, while thinner fillers, such as Restylane® and Juvederm®, can be used closer to the surface of the skin. Our patients benefit from the fact that Dr. Cook has applied the principles of facial fat transfer to treatments that involve volume restoration with injectable fillers.

If you would like to have a consultation regarding facial fat transfer in the Chicago area, or if you have questions for our team, please call 312-751-2112 or contact us online.

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Facial Fat Transfer

Facial Fat Transfer

Restore Your Facial Volume Naturally with Your Own Fat The facial aging process may begin to reveal itself in men and women as early as the late twenties and early thirties.  One of the first signs of facial aging is a subtle loss of volume in areas such as the upper...

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Our Office Locations

Our locations in the Gold Coast of Chicago and Winnetka in the North Shore reflect our commitment to convenient and discrete concierge-level service.

The Whole Beauty® Institute location led by Dr. John Q. Cook in Chicago's Gold Coast

Chicago Office

737 North Michigan Ave., Suite 760 Chicago IL 60611 (312) 751-2112 Entrance at 151 E. Chicago Avenue

The Whole Beauty® Institute location led by Dr. John Q. Cook in Winnetka of the North Shore

Winnetka Office

118 Green Bay Road Winnetka IL 60093  (847) 446-7562
Located directly across from Indian Hill Metra Station