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Fat transfer (injection)

A dermal filler treatment that utilizes fat removed from one part of a patient's body and injected elsewhere.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: May 18, 2020

Yes, those unwanted adipose deposits on your stomach and rear end can be put to good use - plumping up your cheeks and filling up facial lines with autologous fat injections. (Autologous means that it comes from your own body.)

Is it too good to be true? It's not often that the raw materials for a cosmetic procedure are readily available, inexpensive, and guaranteed to be accepted by the body without an allergic response. This is the beauty of autologous fat injections, in which your own fat is taken from one area of the body and injected into another to create a plumping effect.

Storing of fat for later injections is controversial at this point with proponents saying the fat is viable while opponents saying the fat is no longer alive. Stored fat nevertheless does not appear to be dangerous.

What It's Good For

Autologous fat injections can fill deep facial wrinkles and add volume to the lips, cheeks and just about any facial area. It has also been used to even breasts.

Recommended Uses
Name Description Cost
Acne scars Autologous fat transfers, a process by which a patient’s own fat is harvested and transferred to another part of the body, is an accepted treatment for filling shallow atrophic acne scars. ...more Fat transfers cost $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the amount of fat transferred.
Dark circles under eyes Fat transfers can be a good method of filling a hollowed-out undereye area. The fat that is transferred can be permanent, if up-to-date methods of preparing the fat are used and if the...more Fat transfer can cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
Eye bags Fat transfer is a good option for the delicate undereye area. Fat is harvested from areas of the body where it is ample (usually the stomach or buttocks) and then transferred to the area...more For facial autologous fat injections, the cost usually falls between $1,500 and $4,000.
Nasolabial folds (smile lines) Fat transfers are a good and long-lived method for filling nasolabial folds. The results tend to be long-lasting – but they are unpredictable. Some patients see their fat transfers...more Fat transfers cost about $1,500 or more per treatment.
Sunken eyes A skillful fat transfer is another option for filling the tear trough. Fat transfer involves a separate operation in which the fat is harvested from a part of the body with unneeded fat...more Fat transfers around the eye can cost between $2,000 and $7,000.
Thinning lips Fat transfer for lips can be an excellent solution for permanent or semi-permanent lip plumping. Recent advances in fat grafting means that more fat will “take” permanently. (In the past,...more For facial autologous fat injections, the cost usually falls between $1,500 and $4,000.
Wrinkles Fat injections offer a long-lasting method for filling in certain deep wrinkles, like nasolabial folds. Fat transfers remove fat from a fuller body part, like the belly or buttocks, and...more Fat transfers cost about $1,500 per treatment.

Who it works for: Unless you're extremely thin, it's likely that you have excess fat stored somewhere on your body. The fat used for the injections can be extracted from most areas of the body, though the abdomen, thigh, and buttocks are the preferred harvest sites - besides typically housing excess fatty tissue, these body parts can hide scars well, making them ideal areas for fat harvesting.

Recommended age range: Almost 80% of individuals who received fat transplants in 2009 were between the ages of 35 and 65.

When will I see results?: Your skin will be immediately plumper than it was before your fat transfer injections. They may even be fuller than anticipated for the first few days.

"Overfilling" is common, which means that extra fat will be injected in order to account for a certain amount of fat that will be immediately reabsorbed by the body. Compare it to overwatering a plant before going on vacation, knowing that some of the water will evaporate and be ineffective. This will make the area look lumpy, puffy, or bruised after the injection before it deflates to the ideal level of plumpness.

How long it lasts: As the weeks go on, the treated area will begin to deflate as the fat continues to be reabsorbed into the body. Over the course of three to 12 months, a percentage of the original volume will have disappeared. Some say about half will stay. The remaining fat will stay permanently.

Key benefits of fat transfer (injection): What's better to fill up your wrinkles and creases than your own fat? And there is absolutely no risk of rejection.

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