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Fat transfer, also known as fat grafting or autologous fat transfer, is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing fat from one body area and transferring it to where more volume is desired. It can be used on the face, breasts, buttocks, and hands for scar revision, enhancement, and rejuvenation. Patients opt for fat grafting instead of dermal fillers or implants because it is a natural option. It uses the patient’s own fat cells, which reduces the risk of allergic reactions or rejection. Additionally, fat transfer can provide longer-lasting results than dermal fillers, as the transferred fat cells that survive can remain in the target area for many years.
In New York City, patients turn to board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Wallach for effective solutions to their cosmetic concerns. He has extensive experience and uses the latest techniques and technology to provide patients with the best possible results. Dr. Wallach offers customized treatment plans to address each patient’s unique needs and goals. Discover what you can achieve with a fat transfer. Call (212) 861-6400 or complete this form to get started. We look forward to meeting you!
- 1 About Fat Transfer
- 2 What are the Benefits of Fat Transfer?
- 3 Ideal Candidates for Fat Transfer
- 4 Personal Consultation
- 5 Preparation
- 6 The Procedure
- 7 Recovery After Fat Transfer
- 8 What are the Results of Fat Transfer?
- 9 What is the Cost of Fat Transfer in New York City?
- 10 References
About Fat Transfer
What could more volume do to improve the appearance of your face, body, or visible scarring? The answer to this question depends on each patient, but adding volume to certain areas can generally create a more youthful and refreshed appearance. As we age, the body undergoes various changes that can lead to a loss of volume and contributes to a tired, aged, or unhealthy appearance. Other factors that can contribute to a loss of volume with age include changes in hormonal levels, exposure to environmental factors such as sun damage and pollution, and the effects of gravity over time.
Volume Loss in the Face
The visible signs of facial aging are often due to a combination of factors such as:
- The effects of gravity
- Progressive loss of bone density
- Reduced tissue elasticity
- Changes in fat distribution
Volume loss can be particularly noticeable in areas such as the cheeks, temples, and under-eye hollows, where the skin is thin and the fat pads are prone to shrinkage. This can create a tired, aged appearance and make wrinkles and fine lines more prominent.
Volume Loss in the Body
Various factors can influence the volume in areas such as the breasts and buttocks. In some cases, genetic factors can play a role in determining the amount of volume present in these areas. For example, some women may have naturally smaller breasts or less prominent buttocks due to their genetic makeup.
However, volume loss can also occur due to other factors such as aging, weight loss, or pregnancy. As women age, the skin and soft tissues of the breasts and buttocks can lose elasticity, resulting in a loss of volume and sagging. Similarly, weight loss can cause volume loss in these and other body areas.
During pregnancy, the breasts and buttocks may increase in size and volume due to hormonal changes and weight gain. However, after giving birth and breastfeeding, many women experience a loss of volume and sagging in these areas, which can significantly impact their body image and confidence.
Fortunately, fat transfer is a safe and effective way to add volume and improve the shape and contour of the body’s breasts, buttocks, and other areas. By using the patient’s own tissue, fat transfer provides a natural and long-lasting solution to enhance the body’s curves and achieve a more proportional and balanced appearance; this can help women feel more confident and comfortable in their skin or when looking in the mirror, regardless of their genetic makeup or past experiences.
What are the Benefits of Fat Transfer?
Autologous grafting is a highly effective treatment method for soft tissue augmentation and volume replacement, and has minimal risks. Fat transfer is minimally invasive, requiring only small incisions and injections, which result in minimal scarring and discomfort. It can also improve the texture and quality of the skin!
When fat is harvested from one part of the body and injected into another, it contains stem cells and growth factors that stimulate collagen production and promote tissue regeneration.  Collagen is a protein abundant in the skin and responsible for providing structure, elasticity, and firmness. The transferred fat’s stem cells and growth factors can lead to a smoother, firmer, youthful appearance.
Fat transfer offers additional benefits for patients in Manhattan, including:
- A customizable & versatile procedure
- Reduced risk of complications
- Natural-looking results
- Long-term maintenance
- Slimming & contouring of the donor site
- Natural & safe
- Minimal downtime
The initial cost of fat transfer may be higher than dermal fillers, but the longer-lasting results can ultimately make it a more cost-effective option.
Ideal Candidates for Fat Transfer
Fat transfer is ideal for people who want to improve the appearance of their face, breasts, buttocks, or other body areas by adding volume or contour. However, the procedure requires patients to have enough excess fat in areas of their body such as the abdomen, hips, or thighs. These “donor” areas providing fat that is transferred to the desired area, and as a result, the donor site will be slimmed and contoured.
Patients with good skin elasticity are ideal candidates for fat transfer because the skin needs to stretch and accommodate the additional volume without becoming loose or saggy. Furthermore, because this is a surgical procedure, it requires that the patient is in good overall health; this includes:
- Having a healthy body weight
- Being a non-smoker
- Having no underlying medical conditions that might interfere with a successful recovery
Finally, ideal candidates for fat transfer are those who have realistic expectations about what the procedure can achieve.
During the initial consultation, Dr. Wallach will evaluate the patient’s medical history, skin quality, and overall health to determine if they are a good candidate for fat transfer. He will also discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure and answer any questions the patient may have. In addition, Dr. Wallach may also ask the patient about their aesthetic goals and expectations from the procedure to help him create a personalized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs.
To schedule your consultation with Dr. Wallach, call (212) 861-6400 or complete this form.
If the patient is deemed a good candidate for fat transfer, they’ll be provided with detailed pre-operative instructions, which may include:
- Avoiding certain medications
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding sun exposure
Before having autologous fat transfer surgery, it is important for patients to be healthy. This helps the new tissue get the support it needs to grow properly. 
Following Dr. Wallach’s instructions will ensure a safe and comfortable procedure and recovery. We are here to answer your questions! Call (212) 861-6400 with concerns.
Some studies have found that the best place to harvest fat for transfer is the deep layer of subcutaneous fat because it has the most mature fat cells and the least amount of unwanted material.  Common places to take fat include the belly, butt, and back of the thigh. Dr. Wallach will determine the location of ideal donor fat during your consultation.
The fat is removed from the donor site using a specialized suction device, processed, and purified. It is then carefully injected into the desired area, creating more youthful and natural volume.
Fat Transfer for the Face
Dr. Wallach will use local anesthesia to numb the area before making small incisions around the targeted area of the patient’s face. Typically sites include the:
- Nasolabial folds
- Marionette lines
- Sunken eyes
The purified fat is carefully injected into the face using a small needle. Dr. Wallach pays close attention to the patient’s natural facial contours to ensure smooth and natural-looking results. The procedure can take anywhere from one hour or more, depending on the size of the treatment area and the amount of fat being transferred.
Fat Transfer for the Body
Autologous fat transfer for the breasts, buttocks (Brazilian Butt Lift), hands, and more can be performed under local or general anesthesia. Dr. Wallach will make small incisions in the area, and the purified fat will be carefully injected.
When it comes to breast augmentation using fat transfer, the procedure is typically performed on patients who desire a modest increase in breast size or want to improve breast shape and symmetry. For the Brazilian Butt Lift, fat transfer is used to enhance the size and shape of the buttocks. It can also restore lost volume, mask visible veins and tendons, and create more youthful-looking hands.
In addition to these areas, fat transfer can also be used to improve the appearance of scars, particularly those that are depressed or indented.
Dr. Wallach will transfer around 30% more fat than the patient desires because of natural resorption during healing.  He will strategically inject the fat in multiple layers to ensure a smooth and natural-looking result.
Recovery After Fat Transfer
Recovery after fat transfer varies depending on the area of the body that was treated and the amount of fat that was transferred. Patients generally expect swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the treated area for the first few days after the procedure. Pain medication may be prescribed to help manage any discomfort.
It is important to avoid strenuous activities and exercise for at least two to three weeks after the procedure to allow the body time to heal. Patients should also avoid putting pressure on the treated area, such as sitting directly on the buttocks after a Brazilian Butt Lift.
Following the procedure, patients will have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Wallach to monitor their progress and ensure they are healing properly. Patients should also follow all post-operative instructions, including taking prescribed medications, wearing compression garments if needed, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
What are the Results of Fat Transfer?
The results of fat transfer can be very natural-looking and long-lasting. In areas where fat has been transferred, patients can expect a noticeable volume increase and improved contouring. For example, fat transfer can improve the appearance of sunken cheeks or under-eye hollows in the face, while fat transfer can add volume and enhance the shape of the breasts or buttocks.
One of the benefits of fat transfer is that it can also have a slimming effect on the donor area where the fat was harvested. For example, patients who have fat transferred from their abdomen or thighs may notice a smoother, more contoured appearance in those areas.
As mentioned, while some of the transferred fat may be naturally reabsorbed by the body over time, most fat that successfully integrates with the surrounding tissue will remain in place long-term; this means that patients can enjoy the results of their fat transfer procedure for many years to come.
What is the Cost of Fat Transfer in New York City?
Dr. Wallach will provide patients with a cost estimate during the consultation procedure. Schedule your appointment today! Call (212) 861-6400 or send us an online message.
- Tan S, Rozen W, Ng Z, Zhan W. Role of adipose-derived stem cells in fat grafting and reconstructive surgery. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2016;9(3):152. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2077.191672
- Shauly O, Gould DJ, Ghavami A. Fat Grafting: Basic Science, Techniques, and Patient Management. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open. 2022;10(3):e3987. https://doi.org/10.1097/gox.0000000000003987
- Sommer B, Sattler G. Current Concepts of Fat Graft Survival: Histology of Aspirated Adipose Tissue and Review of the Literature. Dermatologic Surgery. 2000;26(12):1159-1166. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1524-4725.2000.00278.x
- Al Sufyani, Mohammed A. MD*; Al Hargan, Abdullah H. MD*; Al Shammari, Nayf A.†; Al Sufyani, Mohannad A.†. Autologous Fat Transfer for Breast Augmentation: A Review. Dermatologic Surgery 42(11):p 1235-1242, November 2016. | DOI: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000791