What Happens During a Fat Grafting Procedure?

Fat grafting is the transfer of fat from a donor area to another area in the body. Its main goal is to improve the placement area. The procedure is mainly used in cosmetic medicine to improve the appearance of the face, hands, and feet. It is also useful in the augmentation of breasts, buttocks, and hips.

woman in tan bodysuit

Since the material injected into the targeted area is your fat, the results tend to last longer than fillers. Fat grafting involves extracting fat from a donor area, processing it, and placing it where it is needed.

Extraction of Fat

First, the surgeon selects a site for fat extraction and then administers anesthesia depending on the amount of fat needed. The surgeon will use general anesthesia for cases needing large volumes. However, a local anesthetic is enough for small volumes.

Fat extraction is via liposuction. The manual technique involves inserting thin, hollow cannulas under the skin to extract the fat to give the best results. This is as opposed to laser or ultrasonic techniques, which may destroy the fat cells.

Processing of Fat

Once the surgeon accumulates enough fat from the donor area, they will harvest it. They use decantation and centrifugation to separate the adipose fat cells from excess fluid, debris, and dead cells. As an alternative, they can use the sterile saline solution to wash the fat. They then transfer the fat into small syringes for injection into the placement area.


This is where the surgeon injects the fat into the area that needs improvement. They perform this task carefully, injecting small droplets in and out of the subcutaneous tissue until they get the desired results. This allows for sufficient blood supply to the deposited fat, keeping the tissue alive. Then they massage the area to contour it. However, some surgeons choose to rely on the placement technique.

Advantages of Fat Grafting

The advantages of fat grafting are numerous, and they apply to the medical field as a whole. However, in its application to the face, breasts, buttocks, hips, hands, and feet, the advantages include:

  • Restoration of youthful appearance

  • Removal of scars

  • Adds volume to create higher cheekbones

  • It improves the texture and appearance of the skin

  • Corrects breast asymmetry

  • Adds volume to the hips. This helps achieve a more feminine profile

  • Provides padding for bony feet

Beyond Plastic Surgery

In recent times, fat grafts have increasingly captivated plastic surgeons. This is not only because of their natural aesthetic properties but also their regenerative capabilities. Fat grafts have a high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells. These cells contribute to the regenerative properties of the grafts, healing wounds and scars. They also have therapeutic benefits and the ability to repair breast tissue damaged by radiation treatment.

These findings mean a lot to the medical community. Doctors have started to understand the process better in the recent past and will continue to find out more in the future. However, it is evident that fat grafting and its properties will continue to gain more prominence in regenerative medicine.

For more information on everything that happens during fat grafting, contact Aesthetic Surgical Associates at our office in Metairie, Louisiana. You can call (504) 226-8200 today to book an appointment.