Your Guide to Fat Grafting

What is Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting, also referred to as fat transfer or fat injections, is a body contouring procedure used to transfer fat from one area of the body to another. The procedure involves extracting adipose fat tissue and injecting it into other areas of your body that may be lacking volume, including your face, hands, breasts, or buttocks. Fat grafting can also be combined with other cosmetic procedures, including liposuction, breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, and facelift surgery to achieve more comprehensive results. 

Am I a Candidate for Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting is for men and women who want to add natural volume to specific areas of their bodies. Ideal candidates for fat grafting are also in good health, do not smoke, have realistic expectations for surgery, and have enough donor fat available for harvesting. Fat grafting is not a substitute for diet and exercise. If you plan to gain or lose weight, it is best to achieve your goals before undergoing the procedure. 

Common Areas of Fat Grafting

Common focus areas for fat grafting include:

Face (10cc – 100cc, total)

Facial fat grafting adds volume to hollowed-out or wrinkled areas on the face, including below the eye and the nasolabial folds. It also helps repair scars, add volume to the cheeks, and improve the texture and appearance of the skin. 

Breast (25cc – 400cc, each breast)

Fat grafting to the breast increases the breast size by one or two cup sizes and corrects breast asymmetry. It can also repair radiation tissue damage, treat breast implant capsular contractures, and help correct scar deformities from a lumpectomy or breast reduction. 

Hips (100cc – 300cc, each side)

Hip fat grafting helps sculpt your hip and thigh area, providing you with a contoured silhouette. If your hips and buttocks are narrow and lack contour, this procedure helps add volume to your hips to achieve a better waist-to-hip ratio. 

Buttocks (200cc – 1300cc+, each cheek)

Fat grafting to the buttocks, also known as a Brazilian Butt-Lift (BBL), is an alternative to silicone buttock implants. It provides more natural-looking results while creating more roundness in the backside. It can also help address certain issues, such as sagging, that occur with age.

Hands (5cc, per extremity)

Fat grafting to the hands helps reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. It restores volume and smoothness to aging hands, improving the quality of your skin over time. 

What to Expect During a Fat Grafting Consultation

During your fat grafting consultation, Dr. Spiro will talk to you about your surgical goals and give you the opportunity to ask any questions about the procedure. He will also:

  • Go over your medical history, drug allergies, and previous surgeries
  • Evaluate your overall health, pre-existing conditions, and elasticity of your skin
  • Take photographs and use computer imaging to show the improvements you can expect
  • Show you before and after photos of cases similar to yours
  • Discuss your surgical options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss the outcomes of the surgery and associated risk and complications
  • Discuss the type of anesthesia that will be used in the procedure
  • Go over financing options

How Much Does Fat Grafting Cost?

The cost for a fat grafting procedure can fluctuate based on a variety of factors:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital fees
  • Surgeon’s fee
  • The area being treated
  • The number of areas that require liposuction
  • The amount of fat collected and transferred
  • The number of procedures performed to achieve the desired results

During your initial consultation, Dr. Spiro will give you a price quote that is specific to your needs and surgical goals. As not all cosmetic procedures are covered by insurance, Dr. Spiro has affordable financing options to help you pay for your surgery.

How Do I Prepare for Fat Grafting?

Dr. Spiro will provide you with a comprehensive list of preoperative instructions to help you prepare for surgery. Preoperative instructions may include:

  • Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications and vitamin supplements that may increase bleeding for three weeks
  • Quit smoking at least six weeks before your procedure to prevent scarring and poor wound healing
  • Drink plenty of water before and after the procedure to stay hydrated
  • Make arrangements for someone to drive you home after surgery

What Happens During a Fat Grafting Procedure?

Fat grafting is a three-step procedure that yields exceptional, natural-looking results. Here are the three steps Dr. Spiro will perform during the procedure: 


During your consultation, Dr. Spiro selects a donor site on your body for fat removal, which is generally the abdomen or flanks. He injects local anesthesia into the area and creates small incisions for fat removal. Using a thin tube with a syringe, Dr. Spiro performs liposuction to carefully extract the fat.


Once enough fat is gathered from the donor area, Dr. Spiro will process the fat to prepare the cells for transfer to small syringes that will be used to inject the fat. Purification may also require the use of a centrifuge to spin the fat or a filtration process to remove any impurities before injection. 

Transfer and Placement

Dr. Spiro inserts a needle into the incision point of the area receiving the graft. The fat injection needle is generally passed in and out of the area to be augmented several times. Each time the needle is withdrawn, a line of fatty tissue is deposited in natural tissue planes, which is repeated until the desired correction and appropriate contour has been achieved. Once the procedure is complete, Dr. Spiro will place a dressing over the grafted area.  

Fat Grafting Recovery Time

Fat grafting is a relatively low-risk procedure and patients are usually able to return to work within two to five days following surgery. You may experience bruising, swelling, and discomfort in the week after surgery, which are all common side effects of a fat transfer. Dr. Spiro will provide you with postoperative instructions on how to care for your surgical site, what medications to take, and when to schedule a follow-up appointment. Since no significant incisions are needed to perform fat grafting, you will be left with no scarring and your desired physical results. 

How Long Does Fat Grafting Last?

The results of fat grafting will vary from person to person. The survival of the fat and the duration of your results partly depends on the technique used to obtain the fat, the process of purification after the fat is collected, and how the fat is transferred. Fat survives best when it is placed in areas with abundant blood supply. In general, improvements with fat grafting are permanent with around 50-70% of the fat transferred remaining, while the body absorbs 30-50%. Patients should be able to see the full results within six months after their procedure. 

Fat Grafting Before and After

Please take a look at our fat grafting before and after gallery to see our patients’ natural transformations after recovery. 

Schedule a Fat Grafting Consultation with Dr. Spiro

Dr. Spiro and his team are highly skilled in performing fat transfer to several areas of the body. When you choose Spiro Plastic Surgery, we will work closely with you to address your specific needs and surgical goals. Contact us to learn more about our body contouring procedures or schedule a fat grafting consultation today!


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Graphite/Pencil Hybrid-Painting by Dr. Scott Spiro