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Have you ever wished you could take some excess fat from one part of your body and move it to another part? Perhaps you would like to take some fat from your tummy and move it to your face to fill wrinkles, or take some fat from your thighs and move it to your butt. While years ago this may have sounded like a fantasy, medical innovation has allowed our expert surgeons to offer fat transfer treatments today. Let’s look at everything you need to know about fat transfer.

How does fat transfer work?

Fat transfer allows us to take fat from a part of your body that you’d like to slim down, and put it in another part of your body where you’d like more volume and shape. The fat is first removed with liposuction, then processed to get it ready to transfer, and finally it is injected into another part of your body to create the shape you desire. The entire procedure can be done in one session.

How fat transfer works: taking the fat out

We use gentle liposuction technology like VASER® to remove fat for fat transfer. This is not the traditional, aggressive liposuction technique that used to be popular. Instead, our technology uses ultrasound to gently loosen the fat, so we can remove it using very thin tubes and small incisions. We are able to carefully dislodge the fat that we have chosen to remove, which results in less bleeding, bruising, and discomfort. This careful liposuction is also beneficial because it preserves the health of the fat, allowing us to transfer it to another area of your body.

How fat transfer works: putting the fat in

After the fat is removed, we prepare to inject it into the part of your body you have chosen. Popular areas of the body for fat transfer include the buttocks, breasts, hands, and face. We carefully inject the fat to create the volume and contours you are hoping for. Knowing that some of the fat will get reabsorbed, we transfer some additional fat so your final results are the ones you are aiming for.


What are the benefits of natural fat transfer?

Natural fat transfer is a great option for people because of several reasons:

  1. Since the fat we transfer is from your own body, there is a significantly reduced chance of allergy or reaction, which are possible (although rare) when synthetic fillers are used.
  2. You get two procedures in one: slimming or toning of one area at the same time as increasing volume and improving the shape of another
  3. Fat transfer is less invasive than some of the other body contouring options

Who is a candidate for fat transfer?

Candidates for natural fat transfer are those who not only want to add volume to part of their body like their face or buttocks, but also have excess fat that can be used as donor fat. It is important that fat transfer candidates do not have circulation issues, and are in overall good health. Fat transfer candidates should have realistic expectations: for instance, if you want a 2-cup increase in breast size, fat transfer is not a good option for you.

What part of the body are best for fat transfer?

As part of understanding everything you need to know about fat transfer, let’s look at the common places people use this procedure to enhance.

  • Buttocks: a brazilian butt lift is a procedure in which we enhance the shape of your buttocks using fat transfer. This has become quite popular in the last few years, and can improve your entire body shape and silhouette.
  • Face: while you may not initially think of your face as a common location for fat transfer, this is actually a popular option. Why would someone want fat added to their face? Because fat transfer allows us to very carefully inject your own fat into areas of your face that have become more sunken or hollow with age. Added fat to these areas can give a more bright, youthful look to women and men. We can also improve acne scars or wrinkles.
  • Hands: our hands are often a place where we see the signs of aging, because as you lose fat in your hands you may find that your veins and bone structure are more visible. Adding fat to the top of your hands allows us to recontour them, giving a more smooth look.
  • Breasts: a natural breast augmentation refers to an increase in breast size that is performed using fat transfer.

What is the recovery like after fat transfer?

Recovery after fat transfer depends on how much fat you have removed, what areas we take the fat from, and where the fat is transferred to. Someone who has a small amount of fat taken from one area and injected into their face, will generally have a shorter recovery than someone who has multiple areas of liposuction and a brazilian butt lift (fat transfer into the buttocks). Our fat transfer patients can go home the same day as their procedure, but will need to have a friend or family member to drive them. You’ll have some bruising and swelling which will be most pronounced during the first week to 10 days. After that initial period, the bruising should be gone and swelling will diminish. You may have some level of swelling for weeks before you can see your final results.

Depending on what areas of the body we treat, we may ask you to wear compression garments during your fat transfer recovery. It is important to follow our specific recovery instructions for the fat transfer procedure you have. For example, if you have fat transferred to your buttocks we will ask you to avoid sitting on your butt while the fat settles. These recovery instructions will help ensure positive and lasting results.

Are the results permanent with fat transfer?

Fat transfer results are often long lasting and can be permanent. It’s important to understand, however, that after the initial fat transfer, a percentage of the cells will be absorbed by your body. Because of our experience, we know how much fat will likely get absorbed and we account for that when we perform the initial transfer. Your fat transfer site may look “overfilled” at first, but this will change as the swelling subsides and some of the fat is reabsorbed by your body.

If you are looking to learn everything you need to know about fat transfer, and still have questions, please get in touch with us. We are happy to talk to you about the ability to remove fat from one area of your body and add it to another using fat transfer. Our expert team can teach you about how fat transfer works, and can customize your procedure to help you achieve your cosmetic goals.

Are you ready to take the first step?

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 Your safety is our top priority.

To our valued patients,

I hope that you and your families have stayed healthy and well during this difficult time. We want to thank all of the essential workers that provided us with critical services during this period and also to all of you that remained at home preventing the further spread of the virus.

As we re-open our facilities our priority remains the safety and well being of our patients and staff. To that end, we have implemented a number of important safety measures at all of our facilities.

  1. All patients, staff, and caregivers will be screened via a questionnaire and temperature for Covid-19 symptoms at the front entrance.
  2. Only those individuals that pass the screening will be allowed into the facility.
  3. Patients can only bring 1 other person with them to the appointment.
  4. All patients (and caregivers) need to wear a mask while in the facility. Please bring a cloth or other mask with you to the appointment.
  5. Physical distancing will be in effect in the office waiting room and throughout the office.
  6. Once the physical distance capacity has been reached in the waiting room, patients will be asked to wait in their vehicles and will be called to come in at their appointment time.
  7. All surfaces in the office will be cleaned and disinfected at least on an hourly basis.
  8. All patient rooms will be cleaned and disinfected after each patient use.
  9. Caregivers waiting for patients after surgery will be asked to not wait in the facility.
  10. All staff will be wearing PPE in accordance with CDC guidelines.

We understand that these continue to be uncertain and difficult times however we remain committed to your health, well being, safety, and ensuring you the best outcome possible.

All Athenix locations are now open. However, as we continue to practice physical distancing, we are still available for virtual consultations at any of our locations. You can reach us by calling 888-276-1535 or email [email protected] to get scheduled.

We thank you for your continued support and trust in Athenix and look forward to seeing you soon.


Gavin M. Dry, M.D. Chief Medical Officer