Fat transfer is a surgery that removes fat cells from one area of a patient’s body using liposuction and injects it into another body part. As a result, the surgery contours areas containing excess fat and adds volume to areas that need enhancement.
Our recommended plastic surgeons specialise in performing fat transfers on multiple parts of the body. Utilising the latest liposuction technologies and tailoring the procedure according to the characteristics and expectations of each patient, they have consistently produced results that look natural.
Surgery time1-4 hours
Hospital time2-6 hours
Full recovery6 weeks
Is Fat Transfer Worth It?
Fat transfer is a treatment that’s growing in popularity. Many patients are happy with their results and consider the treatment to be worthwhile as it provides them with several benefits:
- The liposuction treatment sculpts the body by removing excess pockets of fat that are resistant to dietary and exercise measures.
- It is a versatile treatment that can contour and enhance multiple areas of the body.
- Many patients prefer the organic method of repurposing their excess fat cells. By using fat cells as fillers, the surgeon can deliver natural-looking results that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than implants.
- A fat transfer produces permanent results.
- There is minimal scarring that results from a fat transfer procedure.
Types of Fat Transfer
Lipocube™ technology is often used to process harvested fat cells. The device emulsifies and breaks down the fat cells extracted from liposuction into three different sizes. As a result, surgeons can perform three types of fat transfers to enhance multiple areas of the face:
Nano fat particles are 400 to less than 600 nanometres in size. As the smallest fat particle, surgeons use nano fat grafts when treating small and superficial areas of the face and body. For example, nano fat injections are ideal for improving the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and stretch marks.
Micro fat particles are less than 1.2 mm in size. As the second-largest fat particle, surgeons use micro fat grafts for treating superficial yet relatively large areas of the face and body. For example, micro fat injections are ideal for enhancing the hands, tear troughs, and chin.
Milli / Macro
Macro or Milli fat particles are 2.4mm or less in size. As the largest fat particle, surgeons use macro fat grafts to treat large areas of the body that require a significant depth of fat to achieve the desired level of enhancement. For example, macro fat injections are ideal for enhancing the lips, nose, and forehead.
Common Fat Transfers
Having fuller and plump lips is a desirable aesthetic that many people want to attain. Therefore, a micro fat transfer to the lips is a popular treatment as it permanently enhances the lips. In contrast, if adding volume to the lips with dermal fillers, patients will need to repeat the treatment every 12-18 months to maintain results.
A fat transfer to the buttocks is commonly called a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL). The buttock is a feature that many people want to enhance to improve their lower body proportions. When performing a BBL, the surgeon augments and reshapes the buttocks according to your body proportions to provide your desired result. For example, some patients will want an evenly rounded bottom (commonly called a bubble butt), while others will want more volume at the lower region of the buttocks.
Many women choose to augment their breasts to improve their upper body proportions. Unlike implants, the surgeon produces a more modest and controlled enhancement to the breasts with fat injections. However, our recommended surgeons also specialise in combining fat transfers and implants, which allows them to produce a prominent breast augmentation while concealing any imperfections with fat transfers for natural-looking results.
How Much Does Fat Transfer Cost?
In general, the price of a fat transfer procedure in the UK starts from £5,290. The cost of the surgery varies according to how many areas require liposuction and how complicated the surgery is. You will receive the exact cost of your surgery during a consultation.
Fat Transfer Procedure
A fat transfer uses local or general anaesthesia and takes between 1-4 hours. First, the surgeon performs liposuction on targeted areas of the body, usually the abdomen. Afterwards, the fat is purified, processed, and prepared for injection. Finally, the surgeon injects the fat cells into areas that require enhancement. The surgeon injects more fat cells than needed for your desired enhancement because the body absorbs 30-50% of the injected fat cells over 3-6 months.
Most post-surgical side effects, which include swelling and bruising in the affected areas, gradually subside over two weeks. In general, most patients return to work within 10-14 days and resume more strenuous activities, including exercise, after four weeks.
Furthermore, while the results of your surgery are immediately visible, you will notice full results 4-6 months after the surgery. By this time, the residual swelling will have largely disappeared, and the fat cells not absorbed by your body will have permanently settled in the area, thus providing volume.
Fat Transfer vs. Implants
Fat transfers and implants serve the same cosmetic purpose, namely to provide volume to a certain area of the body. However, as summarised below, both procedures vary according to a range of factors:
|Results||Sculpts areas of the body containing excess fat and adds volume to certain areas of the body||Adds volume to certain areas of the body|
|Downtime||4-6 weeks||6 weeks|
|Price||Starts from £5,290||Depends on the area, but is usually more expensive than a fat transfer|
Fat Transfer and Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgery that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, and in some cases, tightens the abdominal muscles. It is a popular surgery, as many patients desire a flatter stomach and a stronger core to attain their ideal figure. Therefore, it’s common for patients to undergo a tummy tuck while enhancing other body parts. In particular, patients want to augment their breasts and contour their abdomen to attain an hourglass figure.
Fat Transfer and Liposuction
As mentioned, liposuction surgery is part of a fat transfer treatment. In most cases, surgeons perform liposuction on the abdomen, which is usually the most likely to contain excess fat. In some cases, surgeons may need to contour more than one area to extract enough fat cells. However, if you wish to contour more areas than required for the fat transfer procedure, it is possible to do so at an additional cost.
How long do the results of fat transfer last?
A fat transfer produces a permanent enhancement to the body. After the fat cells settle, which usually takes 4-6 months, the enhancement is permanent. However, your results may diminish due to the natural ageing process.
Can a fat transfer migrate?
No, fat cells do not migrate from one area of the body to another. When a surgeon transfers fat into a targeted body part, the fat cells are either absorbed by the body or connect to the blood supply and remain in the area permanently.
Does insurance cover a fat transfer?
Fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure and is therefore not usually covered by insurance. However, your insurance provider may cover the cost of the treatment if you need it for reconstruction purposes.
What’s the difference between a fat transfer and a fat graft?
Fat graft is another term for fat transfer. They are the same procedure.
Are you awake during a fat transfer?
You can receive a fat transfer under local or general anaesthesia. If you choose the former, you will be awake during the procedure. If you choose the latter, you will be unconscious during your fat transfer. The most appropriate option for you will depend on the complexity of the procedure.