Fat Grafting    How does it work?

Plastic Surgeons have used the fat transfer procedure in cosmetic surgery for decades. In fact many patients who decide to have a facelift incorporate fat transfer to give added volume to the cheek area. 

Fat transfer involves two procedures all carried out under local anaesthesia. There may be a little bruising which subsides over a week or so and can be covered with makeup. There is little to no down time, and you can get back to your daily activities quickly. It is a long term solution to volume loss unlike dermal fillers which dissolve within 12-18 months.

The two procedures for Fat transfer involve: 

1.Micro lipo of fat: The surgeon removes a small amount of the patient's own fat tissue—usually from the stomach, back or thighs using liposuction or micro lipo through a small micro cannula. The fat is firmer and stronger in these areas. The harvested fat is then centrifuged and the stem cells are separated.

2.Injection of fat and stem cells: They are then injected in the area that requires volume for a more rejuvenated look. Our Plastic surgeons will then transfer the fat cells to the area where they want more volume through a micro-droplet technique. The droplets are so tiny that they don't damage surrounding tissue or nerves.

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  • Over 90 years of collective experience
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Fat Grafting - Key Information

Procedure length

60m to 75m


General anaesthesia or sedation

Hospital stay

Day care

Up & mobile

Same day

Sleeping position

On your back for around 2 weeks


1 week

Sexual activity

1 week

Back to work

1 week


2 to 3 weeks

What is a fat transfer?

A fat transfer is a cosmetic procedure that removes unwanted fat cells from one area of the body and deposits them into another area of the face. After the extraction process, the surgical team injects the fat cells into areas of the face where more volume is necessary to achieve the right look.

Fat transfer or lipofilling is often used to replace dermal fillers and is a more permanent way to add volume and rejuvenate the face. Facial fat transfer can achieve a more natural look. 

How long does the fat transfer procedure take?

The time required for a fat transfer can vary, depending on the number of treated areas. Typically one to two hours performing mico liposuction and injecting the cells into the face.

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What can a fat transfer achieve?

Fat transfer is a highly effective way to contour the face and body.

Common areas for fat transfer treatment include:

Under-eye hollows

Fat transfer is highly effective in treating under-eye hollows. Before starting the procedure, the surgeon injects a local anaesthetic into the area around the eyes to prevent any discomfort during the operation.

Naso-labial folds

Naso-labial folds are another area that often benefits from fat transfer. These are the lines that run from either side of the nose to the outer part of the mouth. The surgeon injects fat cells into this area to soften these lines.

Cheeks, malar cheek augmentation

Adding dermal filler can create unnatural results. Fat transfer can achieve a natural-looking result. Also, because the surgeon extracts the fat cells from the patient's own body, there is no risk of rejection.

Naso labial or nose to mouth lines

Fat transfer can be administered to the naso labial area where men and wmen often use dermal fillers. This is a great alternative and long lasting. 


Fat transfer to the temples is a successful treatment. The fat transfer can be administered deep close to the temporalis muscle.

Chin augmentation 

Fat transfer to the chin can help correct a receding or flat chin. Your plastic surgeon injects fat cells, adding more volume and enhancing the jawline.


Fat transer is successful for acne scars. 

If you are looking for a non surgical option fat transfer is an effective way to achieve the look you want without resorting to surgeries or other types of cosmetic enhancement.

If you're considering fat transfer, book a consultation today to learn how we can help you achieve the natural look you want and bringing you confidence.

Who's a suitable candidate for this procedure?

There is no ideal age. If you are interested in enhancing or creating more volume in specific areas of the face then facial fat grafting could be for you. The procedure can treat sunken cheeks, deep-set eyes, nasolabial folds or nose to mouthlines and the chin. We see patients in their 30's, 40's, 50s, 60s and 70s.

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What are the different types of Fat Grafting?

There are two different types of fat grafting:


Microdroplets are small volumes of adipose tissue harvested from one area of the patient's body. During surgery, the surgeon uses a unique instrument to inject them into the facial area where volume is needed.


Fractions are small pieces of harvested adipose tissue. This type of fat grafting can involve anywhere from tiny to significant amounts of fatty tissue. This procedure requires anaesthesia because fractional fat grafting can involve so little tissue.

Can I store my fat for future use?

At Kensington Medical we are delighted to offer this advanced service. Fat can also be stored for many more years so that you can use it later on. This means that if in two years for example you would like more volume or a refresh we can arrange for your stored fat to be used by our plastic surgeons. 

What other treatments can complement a fat transfer?

Fat transfer can complement other treatments.  Patients who have surgery, such as a facelift or eyelid lift, often have fat transfer to give more volume to the cheek area.

Frequently asked questions

While any surgery can result in risks—such as bruising, infection and scarring, fat transfer is relatively low risk. The surgeon harvests fat cells from the patient's body. This means their immune system won't reject or attack them. However, if there's too much fat transferred into one area, it could look unnatural. Our skilled plastic surgeons have years of experience and know exactly how much fat is necessary to remove in order to achieve the look you want.

Fat transfer results in tiny incisions, so the resulting scars will be invisible to the naked eye.

There is minimal downtime following facial fat grafting, and most patients can return to work within a few days. There will be some swelling and bruising, but these effects will subside over the next week to 10 days. Patients should avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for two weeks.

It can take up to two weeks for the swelling, bruising and recovery from surgery to subside. You will see a lifted appearance in the area being treated with added volume. It may take several months for your body to absorb the transferred fat cells fully. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, results can last a number of years.

The cost can vary depending on the area and number of areas being treated. Fat grafting or fat transfer prices start from £2,750.  The best option is to speak to our plastic surgeon who can explain in detail about the treatment and discuss what you want to achieve. 

The fat transfer cost includes:

  1. The micro liposuction procedure to extract the fat generally from the abdoman or thigh area
  2. The cleaning of the fat and separation out of the fat and stem cells
  3. The reinjection of the fat and stem cells into the area you want to add volume.

We are seeing many people deciding on this option because it lasts many many years instead of dermal fillers which only last 12-18 months. 

Our plastic surgeon will give you more specific advice on preparing for this treatment. We advise to stop smoking and avoid blood thinners before your surgery. You'll also need to avoid taking pain medication that contains aspirin or ibuprofen in the weeks leading up to your surgery. You will be given full advise on how best to prepare.

Fat Grafting - Fat Transfer Surgeons

Related Reading

The next step to a refreshed you

The Kensington Medical team provides thorough information about fat transfer so that you can makean informed decision. During the consultation with your experienced plastic surgeon you will discuss what you want to achieve, what happens during and after the treatment, the risks and downtime needed. If you have a special event or date in mind, we will work our way back to ensure you are fully recovered and looking your best. 

Our goal is to restore your confidence and make you feel refreshed.

Medically reviewed by Mr David Gateley MA, FRCS, FRCS (Plast), GMC number 2939470 on 26 April, 2024.