Understanding the Before and After of Fat Transfer

Raja Mohan Plastic Surgeon | Facial Plastic Surgery Irving, TX

Dr. Mohan is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he majored in mathematics. MIT is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the United States. He became interested in plastic surgery in his final year of undergraduate studies and performed a prestigious research fellowship at... more

A fat transfer takes fat from areas where you have extra fat - such as the thighs - and injects it into areas that lack volume. Some of the most common sites for fat transfer are the hands, breasts, buttocks, and face. Fat transfer is a safe, effective, and long-lasting procedure that produces results that look natural. Each year, thousands of Americans have fat transfer and are happy with the results.

Where To Consider Having Fat Transfer

Many people decide to have fat transfer as a way to improve their appearance in these ways:


Your plastic surgeon can provide excellent results with fat transfers into facial crease such as smile lines, laugh lines, and crow’s feet. Also, they can fill in hollow areas in the cheeks, face, and lips. Fat transfer also can be used to:

  • Fill in lines between the nose and mouth
  • Reduce forehead wrinkles
  • Correct skin depressions and acne scars

Breast Augmentation

Would you like a modest increase in your bust size? You could be an excellent fat transfer candidate. However, you need to have a good breast shape and skin tone for fat transfer to work. If your breasts droop, have loose skin, or want much larger breasts, you’ll need breast implants as well as fat transfer.

Breast Implants Plus Fat Transfer

If your surgeon needs to improve your breast shape, fat transfer can help. But if you want a much larger breast size, breast implants and fat transfer can be the ideal solution. The fat can be used to smooth out any dimples or abnormalities around the implants for a smooth contour and shape.

Breast Augmentation Plus Fat Transfer

Did you have breast cancer or a biopsy? Fat transfer can fill in these issues. It also is useful for total breast reconstruction after mastectomy. To get enough breast volume, you may need several fat transfer procedures.

Hand Rejuvenation

The hands are one of the first areas to show age. Fat transfer to the back of the hands can help to: 

  • Add volume
  • Improve and smooth out wrinkled areas
  • Enhance skin quality
  • Hide visible vessels and tendons


If you want fuller, rounder buttocks, fat transfer and a Brazilian butt lift could be a great option. Fat transfer allows you to have better curves in the rear without implants. Liposuction may be used to collect the fat from adjacent tissue that is injected into the buttocks.

If you’re in good health and have realistic expectations, you could be an ideal candidate for any of these fat transfer procedures.

How A Fat Transfer Works

Fat transfer can be done under local or general anesthesia, depending on the number of areas you want to be treated.

During the first part of the process, fat is gently suctioned out from the thighs or belly through tiny incisions. The fat is then strained and purified, and prepared for reinjection. The purified fat from your body is then injected into the target areas.

Sometimes, your surgeon will overfill some of your treatment areas during the injection. This is because some fat will die and be reabsorbed by the body. Overfilling ensures that the final results will have enough volume to satisfy your expectations.

Fat Transfer Candidates

Fat transfer is growing in popularity and can produce impressive results. It’s not for everyone, however. Ideal candidates for this procedure:

  • Want to add natural, subtle volume to one or more body areas or make their face more youthful.
  • Need to be in good overall health.
  • Must have enough fat available for the transfer procedure. For example, you need more fat in the buttocks or thighs to be transferred to the chest compared to the face.
  • Need to have areas to harvest fat from; previous liposuction procedures can make scar tissue that complicates fat harvesting.
  • Have realistic expectations for the fat transfer procedure.

Fat Transfer Recovery

Recovery from fat transfer procedures is usually minimal; the only incisions you have are from liposuction. Fat injection into the treatment areas is minimally invasive. Most people can get back to work and regular activities after a few days. However, patients may want to take a week off for their recovery, as you can experience swelling, bruising, and mild pain.

Results will become apparent over a few months as swelling retreats and the transplanted fat establishes itself in the new areas.

How Long Do Fat Transfer Results Last?

Once fat cells are suctioned out from a fatty region, they are eliminated permanently if you maintain your weight. The fat cells transferred to a new location will stay there and thrive because they are from your own body.

You’ll need to keep living a healthy lifestyle to maintain the results, but results can last many years. It’s essential to follow up with your surgeon every few weeks during recovery to ensure everything is progressing smoothly.

Fat transfer is opening impressive frontiers for patients and plastic surgeons worldwide. It’s incredible to think that your fat tissue can be used to improve and enhance other parts of the body - safely and naturally.