Back to top

Fat Transfer Procedure: An Overview

An increasingly popular procedure is the fat transfer. Houston top-tier plastic surgeon and fat transfer specialist Dr. Leo Lapuerta has over two decades of experience delivering results for individuals seeking this procedure. The transfer serves two main functions: it removes excess fat from a problem area on the patient’s body while simultaneously restoring lost volume to a different area. This technique is lauded for its ability to be both efficient and effective — with outstanding results and little potential of major scarring or multiple surgeries.

  • Review from A.B.
  • Source: Rate MDs
  • May 30, 2019
I had visited other Drs, but none provided as much time and knowledge to sit with me as Dr LaPuerta and his staff did. His care and attention throughout the process is genuinely commendable. I have always felt that I've been more than just a patient. I have recommended him to others and will continue to do so.

What is a Fat Transfer?

A fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure which helps add definition to areas of the body. 

Also known as fat grafting, this procedure uses fat from the patient’s own body to “plump up” other body parts such as the buttocks or lips. Fat transfers have lasting results, and most patients love the fact that fat can be taken from a problematic area and transferred to another.

This procedure is often performed on the breasts and buttocks to increase size. Patients are generally able to go up one cup size in the breasts, providing natural-looking results. Doctors recommend it for breast reconstruction after illness or injury, but it can be used in other situations where the patient wants fuller breasts using an option that isn’t saline or silicone

During an initial consultation, Dr. Lapuerta will discuss benefits and answer questions so potential patients can know exactly what to expect if pursuing this procedure.

Fat Transfer Surgical Technique

Every body is different, and every fat transfer procedure will be individualized to the patient, based on the patient’s specific body proportions and medical history. The consultation is key for evaluating a patient’s current body fat proportions and identifying the most suitable and desirable donor sites for fat removal. 

So what is the actual fat transfer surgical technique? During surgery, fat is removed from the donor site using a thin tube called a cannula. The fat will then be purified using a centrifuge, which is a device that spins the fat at a high speed in order to remove any impurities. The fat is then placed in a syringe and augmented into the transfer site. While this happens, Dr. Lapuerta will massage the area; this ensures that the fat settles were needed to create a satisfactory shape and contour. Multiple injections are usually needed.

Fat Transfer to the Breast

A fat transfer to the breast, also known as a fat transfer breast augmentation, takes fat from other parts of the body and then injects it into the patient’s breasts. The surgeon will identify a part of the body, such as the thighs, that has excess fat. They will use liposuction to remove the excess fat, and then inject that fat into the patient’s breasts.  A fat transfer breast augmentation is a great option for women looking for a small, natural-looking increase in the size of their breasts. Patients looking for considerably larger breasts or who want to change the shape of their breasts should opt for breast implants or a breast lift.

Fat Transfer to the Breasts

A fat transfer to the breast is also known as a fat transfer breast augmentation. For this procedure, Dr. Lapuerta uses liposuction to remove excess fat, and then injects that fat into the patient’s breasts. A fat transfer breast augmentation is a great option for women looking for a small, natural-looking increase in the size of their breasts. However, those looking for considerably larger breasts or who want to change the shape might find that breast implants or a breast lift are a better option.

Fat Transfer to the Buttocks

In terms of technique, a fat transfer to the buttocks is very similar to a fat transfer to the breast. For this procedure, fat is taken from a fuller body area, and then injected into the buttocks, resulting in more volume and a more shapely appearance. If patients are looking to dramatically reshape the appearance of their buttocks, however, they should opt for a Brazilian butt lift.

What to Expect During a Fat Transfer Surgery

A fat transfer is considered an outpatient procedure. At Look Younger, our on-site accredited surgical facility and operating room are equipped for Dr. Lapuerta to provide the fat transfer surgery. Houston, TX patients will find our office operations are central, convenient, and on-schedule — meaning patients can expect a stress-free, positive experience from booking to recovery. 

Here’s what to expect during the procedure itself. In the majority of cases, especially where larger injection areas are concerned, general anesthesia will be used to minimize the patient’s discomfort. For smaller areas, such as the lips, Dr. Lapuerta uses a local anesthetic. Depending on the complexity of the treatment plan, a fat transfer can take between one and four hours to complete.

After the procedure, the fat removal areas and injection sites may be swollen and red, but this will subside in a short time. The recovery process is short and relatively free of any discomfort, with some patients able to return to work the day after the surgery. Patients can resume exercising one to three weeks following the surgery, depending on the specifics of the procedure.

Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation Recovery

The first few days you’ll be on limited activity after the surgery. You’ll need to have someone drive you home, and you’ll experience swelling and bruising. The swelling and bruising will gradually go down over the next four weeks. During this time, you’ll still have restrictions on activity.

After the first six weeks, much of the transferred fat will have stabilized in the breasts. The doctor will recommend wearing a compression garment over the area of the body that had liposuction. You will need to wear a sports bra to keep breasts in place. While you’ll be back to normal activity within a couple of months, the final results won’t be seen until up to six months after surgery.

How Long Does Fat Transfer Last in Breasts?

Technically, the results from a fat transfer breast augmentation are permanent. The breast size can remain the same throughout your life. However, just like with your natural breasts, the shape and size can change with weight gain or loss.

Are There Risks to Fat Transfer Breast Augmentation?

Just like with any medical procedure, risks do exist with fat transfer. Some risks include

  • Bleeding
  • Variation in breast sensation
  • Skin wrinkling
  • Formation of tight scar tissue
  • Hematoma
  • Risks with anesthesia

More serious risks include the possibility of cysts developing, fat cells dying, infections, and the potential for fat cells to migrate to other areas of the body. It’s important to talk to your doctor about these risks before deciding to continue with the procedure.

Fat Transfer Cost

Depending on the patient, a fat transfer procedure will vary greatly in terms of cost. The surgery could run as low as $8,000, as high as $11,000, or anywhere in between. The reason for the large price range is because a fat transfer involves two procedures: liposuction and the actual fat grafting/transfer process. Until it is known how much fat is going to be removed from how many body parts, and where the transfers will take place, it is difficult to name an accurate quote

Breast Fat Transfer Cost

Depending on the patient, a fat transfer procedure will vary greatly in terms of cost. The surgery could run as low as $8,000, as high as $11,000, or anywhere in between. The reason for the large price range is because a fat transfer involves two procedures: liposuction and the actual fat grafting/transfer process. Until it is known how much fat is going to be removed from how many body parts, and where the transfers will take place, it is difficult to name an accurate quote.

Schedule a Free Consultation

The best way to get an accurate cost estimate is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lapuerta for your fat transfer. Houston patients have been coming to him for decades as the expert in this procedure. Together, you’ll be able to come up with a treatment plan which suits you and your unique needs. 

Schedule your consultation by contacting us today online or by calling 713-340-0990.

PLAN YOUR PROCEDURE

  • Recovery Time
  • 2-3 Weeks
  • Average Procedure Time
  • 4-6 Hours
  • Post-op Follow-up
  • 1 Week
  • Procedure Recovery Location
  • Outpatient

Fat Transfer FAQs

How Long Does a Fat Transfer Last?
When performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, a fat transfer can result in an enhanced appearance that can last for years. While some of the fat will still eventually be reabsorbed back into the body, Dr. Lapuerta understands the proper mechanism behind creating a result that will last. There are new modern techniques available to help lengthen the life of the transferred fat cells. Platelet Rich Plasma is an example of this. When added to the transferred fat, it can increase the cell survival. This is a therapy that is still being studied.
Is a Fat Transfer a One-time Surgery?
A fat transfer typically results in long-lasting fullness. However, because a portion of the transferred fat will be reabsorbed into the body over time, some of the results may diminish. The good news is that this is a procedure that can be performed again very easily, resulting in additional body contouring and enhancement.
Is a Fat Transfer Safe?
Generally, this is considered a safe procedure. As with all surgeries, however, there are some risks and side effects to consider before having a fat transfer. Houston patients can discuss all questions and concerns related to these effects with Dr. Lapuerta during a comprehensive consultation.
Does a Fat Transfer Hurt?
As this procedure is done under an anaesthetic, potential fat transfer patients should expect not to feel much pain during their treatment. It is normal to feel some soreness following the procedure.
What Are Some Similar Procedures to a Fat Transfer?
While fat transfers produce great results for many patients, there are other alternatives that some may consider. Luckily, the market for injectables is wide and diverse. An injection, such as Botox®, may produce the results that some patient’s desire, especially for wrinkle correction. For patients desiring volume, there are countless filler products that offer many different choices and options. Some fillers, including collagen and hyaluronic acid, offer temporary outcomes, while the heaviest of fillers, PMMA, offer lasting results.
Leo Lapuerta Plastic Surgery