Fat Transfer

Fat transfer is the process of taking fat from parts of a patient’s body and injecting that removed fat into another part of the body. This is done with the help of liposuction. The goal is to help improve the area where the fat is transferred from and to including areas such as the face, breasts, hands, feet, hips, and buttocks.

The Procedure

The procedure is a three step process and begins with extracting adipose fat by liposuction, the fat is then processed/cleaned, and lastly the purified fat is re-injecting it into another area that needs improvement.

In the first step, liposuction is performed through multiple small incisions from the donor site using a controlled motion to loosen the excess fat below the skin and is suctioned out. Over time the areas where the fat was removed from will form new contours.

The fat then gets processed with decanting and centrifugation to separate out debris, excess fluid, and dead cells leaving only the viable fat tissues. Another method of cleaning the fat includes washing it with a sterile saline solution.

After it has been purified, the fat is re-injected in small amounts through the patient's tissue in multiple sites around the recipient area. The amount of fat injected varies according to the patient's specific goals and the area of the body where the fat is being injected.

Incisions may be closed using sutures, or left open to drain any remaining fluid. Drains may also be inserted to catch any remaining fluid or blood that exits the body, and prevent fluid build up. Sterile dressings will now be applied to to protect all incision sites.


Any surgical procedure requires some downtime, and fat transfer is no different. Many patients take approximately one week off from work to recover, and in some cases until bandages have been removed. Patients may also wear an elastic compression garment to minimize swelling and to compress  the liposuction/ fat transfer areas into their new contours of the body. Swelling may take several months to alleviate. Pain and bruising after the procedure is normal and will dissipate after a few weeks. Results may not be visible for approximately one year after surgery, although initial results may be visible.



James J. Chao MD FACS

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