Fat transfer is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure. It uses your fat to enhance your lips, breasts, butt or other body parts. Fat transfer can provide a plumper, more youthful look and repair scars. Plastic surgeons also perform fat transfer for reconstructive surgery.
Fat transfer surgeries take fat from one part of your body and inject it into another area to help shape your appearance. A plastic surgeon can remove excess fat from any area. Usually, they remove fat from your:
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Yes, fat transfer is also known as:
After removing excess fat from your belly, hips or thighs, a plastic surgeon can transfer it to several areas. For example, you can have a:
Fat transfer can add natural-looking volume to different parts of your body and create a more youthful appearance. Specifically, fat transfer can:
Fat transfer isn’t a weight-loss procedure, so you won’t see a drastic change in the area where your surgeon removes the fat. The goal of fat transfer is to remove enough fat cells to plump up the desired area.
You’re a good candidate for fat transfer if you:
When performed by a trained, experienced plastic surgeon, fat transfer is effective at giving you a natural-looking, youthful look.
Results from fat transfer are permanent. However, not all fat cells survive the procedure, so you may not achieve the volume you want. It takes about six months for the injected fat cells to develop a new blood supply and to see final results.
The number of sessions depends on the size of the treated area and your desired volume. Enhancing lips usually takes one session. Enhancing breasts or a butt may require multiple fat transfer surgeries.
Fat transfer surgery is safe. It’s important to work with a plastic surgeon who has extensive experience performing fat transfer because it requires a high degree of skill. As with any cosmetic surgery, risks are possible.
You’ll receive specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure, such as:
Before fat transfer surgery, you typically receive local anesthesia. You’re awake during the procedure but don’t feel any pain.
You might receive general anesthesia, where you are asleep during the procedure, if:
Fat transfer surgery can take anywhere from an hour to more than four hours. Timing depends on your specific case. For example, lip fat transfer takes about an hour. Breast fat transfer can take between three and four hours.
During fat transfer surgery, your plastic surgeon:
After fat transfer surgery, it’s common to experience side effects in both the donor area and treated area. These side effects may include:
You may need to wear a compression garment to help with healing and get the best results.
Fat transfer has various benefits because you’re using your tissue versus an implant:
Other fat transfer benefits include:
Risks of fat transfer may include:
Your recovery time depends on the location of the fat transfer. It can take up to several weeks for some side effects, such as swelling, to subside.
Some people can return to work and regular activities after a week, while others need two weeks or more. Talk to your plastic surgeon about recovery and what to expect for your specific fat transfer procedure.
After a fat transfer procedure, call your plastic surgeon immediately if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Fat transfer is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that creates natural-looking, youthful results. During fat transfer, a plastic surgeon takes excess fat from one area of your body and injects it into your desired area. You can add volume to your face, butt, breasts or other body parts. Talk to your plastic surgeon about whether fat transfer is right for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/18/2022.
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