What is fat implantation or fat transfer?

Fat Transfer (aka fat implantation, fat transplantation, autologous fat transfer) is a procedure wherein fat is removed from one area of the body via the method of liposuction, then, after been processed, it is deposited in another area, where we wish to add bulk. In practice, therefore, we employ it as a filling material which we obtain from our own organism via liposculpture.

This method has been known for decades yet, it was first used more than 100 years ago. However, for quite a long time it was not a particularly widely used method. Over the last few years, however, thanks to the evolution and improvement of the techniques used to obtain and deposit fat, this method had dynamically returned to the centre stage.


Fat offers the advantage of being a material provided in plenty by the organism, which can be employed as a filling material. Its quantity is usually more than sufficient. The essential problem with using fat in the past has been its high degree of absorbability. This meant that of the fat that was initially deposited, a very large fraction would go on to be absorbed by the organism, allowing for only very temporary results. However, thanks to the improvement of the techniques used to obtain and process the fat, today the percentage of fat that remains permanently is rather large.

There are several possible cases in which one might employ fat as a filling material. Generally, it may be applied to any part of the body where bulk is needed. For example, typical scenarios wherein fat may need to be used involve adjusting the shape of the face (cheekbones, cheeks, jaw, chin, etc.), as well as breast and buttock augmentations, filling areas where there are noticeable dimples or dents, etc.


Fat can be obtained from any part of the body. The areas that are considered ideal are the stomach and the inner thighs. This is because these areas are rich in stem cells.

There are several theories concerning the type of fat cells that is bestable to survive in the new position. Some believe that fat cells that have been obtained and deposited will “survive” and give the desired volume, while others consider that stem cells which have been harvested and developed into fat cells after being implanted, have a better chance of “surviving”.

Contemporary cannulas are less harmful, allowing for a greater percentage of fat to survive. Once the fat has been obtained, a processing technique may be performed, which in most cases is a centrifugation. There are, however, several other ways of processing, which a practitioner may choose to employ based on his own experience. After the fat has been processed, it is deposited in syringes and implanted in the desired area. Of course, the final result will not become apparent immediately; we must wait for the edema to recede and also for the fat that is not goning to “survive”, to be absorbed.

fat transfer - fat implantation


Fat transfer may be performed as an individual procedure, or may be combined with liposuction. In such cases we call it: liposculpture.


Over the last few years, the use of this technique in breast augmentation has become more and more wide-spread. In some cases however an expander may be applied on order to create rich blood supply which will help the fat to survive in larger quantity. Many doctors do not consider this step necessary. Afterwards, the fat is implanted, from which a large fraction will “survive”. This procedure can be repeated more times than one, depending on the desired breast size.


The use of fat transplantation on the buttocks can in several cases be used in place of silicone implants. That is, of course, when the amount of required volume is not particularly large.


Something equivalent tends to take place when adjusting the shape of the face, or correcting its flaws. Fat can be implanted on any area of the face, in order to replace lost bulk or to generally improve the shape. Due to the passage of time, particularly in the aged, facial fat tends to atrophy. Fat transplantation can improve and return the face to an “earlier age” condition.


The procedure of autologous fat transfer can on most occasions be performed with local anaesthesia and does not require hospitalization. Of course, if fat implantation is performed on the face, it is likely that some edema (swelling) or ecchymosis (bruising) may appear. In such cases, the patient may need to take a rest from his/her social or professional activities.

In general, it is not a painful procedure and in most cases requires no hospitalization. In addition, it can be performed as a minor surgical procedure within the clinic itself.


The greatest advantage this methods offers, is that it requires a material which is provided by the organism itself, and as such, results in no adverse reactions. Additionally, it is a material that can be obtained in very large quantities to cover for any need. A particularly significant advantage of fat implantation is that its material is costless. The cost of autogenous fat transfer is practically equal to the cost of the surgical procedure altogether, without extra charge for the material.

The results, particularly for the face, tend to be very impressive.