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Fat Transfer - Fat Grafting

Fat is harvested from an area where there are excess fat cells, and injected into areas that need enhancement.

What is Fat Transfer (Fat Grafting)?

The surgical transfer of fat from one part of the body to another is often referred to as fat grafting. It is a procedure used to remove fat from one area of the body where there is an excess amount of fat, to another part of the body to balance or enhance features, such as the breasts or face.

Fat transfer is not a particularly complex procedure and has been widely practiced for many years. Like any surgery, there are associated risks. You would need to consult Dr Filipe Padilha to assess the viability and effectiveness of the procedure in your individual case.

Why not dermal fillers?

The possibility of allergic reaction is diminished. You are replacing fat cells from your own body and not introducing any foreign substances.

Results are natural, safe and long lasting.

Fat transfer is more expensive than using dermal fillers but lasts longer.

Facial fat transfer

Fat transfer is particularly effective to balance facial features. Small amounts of fat are injected into the identified areas.

The procedure is very effective to enhance the cheeks, lower eyelids or any other areas of the face that may have lost volume due to normal aging.

Breast enlargement

Larger amounts of fat are needed for breast augmentation and in some cases a tissue expansion system is needed before the fat transfer procedure.

A combination of breast implants and fat transfer can be used to soften the appearance of breast implants.

Fat transfer for breast augmentation is best used in patients that require a small increase in breast size.

Buttock enhancement

Modest changes in the size of the buttocks can be effectively achieved with fat transfer.

The three stages of the Fat Transfer procedure

After you have discussed you’re the desired outcome of fat transfer with Dr Filipe, a plan with desired outcomes will be developed.  When you are ready to undertake the surgery, the following procedures will be conducted.

Fat removal

Liposuction is used to remove the unwanted fat from selected areas to gather viable fat cells for the area to be improved.

Liposuction requires small incisions to be made to the area where the fat is to be removed. A thin tube is inserted into the incision and the fat cells are sucked out and the small incisions closed.

The fat is spun to separate the fat cells from other fluids, washed and purified so that it can be injected into the selected areas for improvement.

Fat Injection

The viable fat cells are injected in small amounts into the areas identified for improvement. This procedure most often does not require any suturing but depends non the volume and area being injected.

Depending on the volume of fat being grafted or transferred, the procedure can be completed in a couple of hours with little discomfort. In the event of a large amount of fat being tranferred, you may require more than one procedure.

The full effect of fat transfer surgery can take as long as 4 to 6 months to show the final effect. The reason for this being that swelling will go down and a certain amount of the injected fat will be absorbed by your body.


In most cases, no overnight hospital stay is required. We do recommend that you arrange with someone to drive you home after you have recovered. For best results, you should take a few weeks off work.

What to expect during recovery

Bruising: You will experience bruising in the affected areas for a few weeks.

Swelling: Swelling will fluctuate as your body recovers

Pain: The part of the body that the fat was harvested from could be painful for a few weeks.

After any surgery you may feel discomfort and pain and Dr Filipe and the support staff are always on hand to help you understand the recovery process.

How bad will the scarring be after fat transfer surgery?

The site where the fat was harvested from using liposuction will have small scars as a result of the incisions made to remove the fat. Dr Filipe will select hidden locations as far as possible. Your genetic predisposition to scarring will be discussed with you by the doctor.