Fat Grafting

Fat Grafting

Facial fat transfer

A liposuction technique is used to harvest the fat and prepare it for transfer. The fat is then injected into the desired portion of the face. When using a micro injection technique, extremely small parcels of fat are placed into multiple layers of the face. The procedure is most commonly performed under local anesthesia with a light oral sedation.

1Harvesting fat from patient’s abdomen which will be transferred to patient’s face.

Transferring harvested fat into injection syringes.

Syringes with harvested fat ready to be transferred using cell-friendly injectors.

Harvested fat being injected into patient’s cheeks by a facial plastic surgeon.


The most common facial locations for fat transfer include:

  • Filling in sunken areas beneath the eyes
  • Fleshing out the folds of skin that physicians know as nasolabial folds, the deep wrinkles next to the mouth often referred to as “laugh lines.”
  • Filling in forehead creases
  • Cheek Augmentation

Generally, 40-60% of the transferred fat persists permanently. However, the long-term efficacy of transferred fat has been documented in numerous studies results are extremely technique dependent.

Lip augmentation

Tiny, punch-like incisions are made at one corner of the patient’s mouth. The surgeon then takes one- to two-millimeter-thick strips of fat from the donor site and gently works them into the upper and lower lips for a plumping effect that is reported to be safer, softer and more natural than lip augmentation with popular injectable facial fillers like Restylane or filler materials like medical Gore-Tex or, e-PTFE (polytetrafluorethylene) as the material is known to doctors.

Buttocks augmentation via fat injections

Lipoinjection to buttock with upper and lower abdomen, upper back, bilateral hips, mons pubis, and bilateral inner thighs.

Many women, including transwomen, and a growing number of men want a curvier, rounder and shapelier rear end. While thin patients must opt for insertion of special buttocks implants to fill out their derrière, patients who can spare the fat can undergo fat injection in a surgical procedure known as gluteoplasty or Brazilian butt lift. Working through small incisions in each gluteal cheek, the surgeon places fat cells at dozens of levels through the patient’s rear. It’s an exacting procedure; placement of fat cells the size of teaspoon will perish because that many fat cells can’t find a blood supply. Most surgeons who perform the task say the perfect deposit of fat cells is about the size of a single pearl or a pea; the drops are placed in long rows. After the procedure, the patient must wear a compression garment for about six weeks and sleep on the stomach for about a week. In most cases, non-athletic activities and driving can be resumed in about five days.

Breast augmentation via fat grafting

Fat grafting to female breasts can be performed for cosmetic reasons, breast augmentation, to correct breast asymmetry, tuberous breast, a condition in which the adult breasts fail to develop in puberty and result in extremely small, narrow and sagging breasts, or to correct Polands Syndrome, a rare birth defect characterized by underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle (pectoralis) on one side of the body. It is used to reconstruct breast deformities due to mastectomy, a lumpectomy, a breast implant collapse.

Fat is then removed from one area of the body and meticulously injected it back as hundreds of tiny individual droplets in the breast site. These micro-fat transfer (autologous grafts) are harvested by gentle liposuction from the thighs, buttocks and stomach–wherever there is fat to spare. Even skinny patients do extremely well with this procedure.

Fat transfer to the hand

A wrinkled, bony hand with large veins, sun spots and deep grooves can reveal an advanced age even though the patient’s face, breasts or body have been surgically rejuvenated. Consequently, plastic, dermatological and cosmetic surgeons have developed techniques to make hands also look younger. A few practitioners use dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvederm but the longer lasting method seems to be fat transfer via injection which is reported to last for years.


The risks of fat transfer are minimal. There is a possible risk for swelling and soreness but they are not experienced by all patients.
Rare complications of fat transfer include: allergic reaction to the local anesthetic, permanent discoloration due to ruptured blood vessel at the treatment site, bleeding, calcification, distorted appearance as a result of over correction, formation of blood clot at the donor or treatment site, fat embolism when fat injection is mistakenly introduced into a blood vessel, infection and scarring.

Operating Time:

1 to 3 hours.


Local with sedation. Tumescent anesthesia made the procedure safer.


Usually outpatient. Extensive procedures may require short inpatient stay.
day. Back to work: 2 to 3 weeks. Exercise and sunbathing: 4 to 6 weeks or more. Fading and flattening of the little scars: 3 months to 2 years.

Duration of the Results:

Several years