Fat Transfer

Overview of Fat Grafting:

In general fat grafting, also known as fat transfer, is a surgical procedure where a person’s own fat is harvested from one area of the body via liposuction and transferred to another area of the body. The goal of the procedure is to augment or enhance the desired area of the body. Fat grafting is reliably used to cosmetically change the appearance of the face, breast, buttocks, hips, hands, and feet. Fat grafting also has therapeutic benefits related to the healing of wounds, scars, and damage repair following radiation to the breast.


The process of fat grafting has been around since 1893 when German Plastic Surgeon, Gustav Neuber transferred adipose tissue from the forearm to fill a scar in the face. This was the first-time fat transfer was used to correct an aesthetic irregularity. Over the decades fat transfer has been refined into a procedure which utilizes liposuction and metal cannulas to deliver the fat.

The Process:

There are three major steps involving the process of fat transfer.

  1. Extracting the fat from a donor site through the process of liposuction. Common donor sites include the abdomen, buttocks, and posterior thigh. Fat is typically harvested from the subcutaneous layer and collected for processing later.
  2. Decanting the lipoaspirate and processing it to harvest just the fat. Once the fat and other debris has been collected, the desired fat needs to be separated out. This can be done through gravity separation or decantation.
  3. Injecting the fat into the desired area. A small incision corresponding to the diameter of the cannula being used is created at the site of fat transfer to inject the newly harvested fat cells. A cannula is inserted, and fat is then injected into a new site of the body to augment or enhance the area.

Areas of Fat Grafting:

There are common areas of the body where fat grafting is performed. Different volumes of fat are required depending on the area. This volume is measured in cubic centimeter (cc).

Face: 10-100 cc

  • Helps restore a youthful appearance by filling out hollowed areas below the eyes, in the temples, cheeks and nasolabial folds
  • Repairs scars

Breast: 25-400cc, each breast

  • Can be used in conjunction with breast augmentation to enhance cleavage
  • Corrects breast asymmetry
  • Increases breast size

Buttocks: 200-1300cc, each side

  • Augments buttocks size
  • Creates the appearance of a more lifted, perkier buttocks

Hips: 100-300 cc, each side

  • Increases volume to change the appearance and profile to create a more desired waist to hip ratio

Hands/Feet: 5-10cc, per extremity

  • Rejuvenates a more youthful appearance to the hands
  • Can provide a soft padding for bony feet


Typically, 25-50% of the volume injected will be retained at 6 months post procedure but this varies from patient to patient. Some experience a greater retention rate and when combined with other procedures such as a face lift or breast augmentation, the results can be exceptional! The amount of fat retention is due to fat cell survival during the grafting process. It is important to note that areas of thin skin such as around the eyes may result in lumpiness formation as well as nodule formation in areas such as the breasts. All risks, questions and concerns should be addressed to your surgeon at the time of your consultation.

Fat transfer is an excellent option for autologous enhancement to reach your aesthetic goals! If you are looking to complement your body with a fat grafting procedure, consider booking a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kim. Please contact our clinic at 312-694-0879 or through the request form in the header.