1801 Inwood Rd, Dallas, TX 75390 | (214) 645-2353

Fat Grafting

Fat Grafting


Fat grafting, also called fat transfer or autologous fat transfer, is a technique that uses your body’s own fat to restore volume in another part of the body where there is a deficiency in soft tissue volume due to aging, surgery or a medical condition. Liposuction is used to harvest the fat through small, easily concealed incisions. Fat grafting can be used for a number of cosmetic and reconstructive problems. Some of the common uses of fat grafting include:

Cosmetic Purposes Include:

  • Treating signs of aging including deflated cheeks and lips
  • Augmenting breast volume
  • Buttock Augmentation

Reconstructive Purposes for Fat Grafting Include

  • Facial asymmetry due to hemifacial microsomia
  • Facial asymmetry due to Parry Romberg Syndrome
  • Contour irregularities due to Linear Scleroderma
  • Improving skin changes in radiated tissues
  • Improving breast contour in implant based breast reconstruction

Dr. Derderian’s Goal for Fat Grafting (Fat Transfer)

Fat grafting has a wide range of applications. For many conditions fat grafting may be considered as a permanent or long-lasting filler to restore volume. Whether your condition requires a cosmetic or reconstructive application for fat grafting, Dr. Derderian’s goal for your treatment is to provide a long-lasting solution to address your concerns with a natural and aesthetically pleasing result.

Am I a Candidate for Fat Grafting (Fat Transfer or Autologous Fat Transfer?

Ideal candidates for fat grafting are healthy and do not smoke. Frequent reasons to seek fat grafting include:

  • Facial asymmetry
  • Age-related deflation of the soft tissues of the face including the temples, cheeks, lips and nasolabial folds
  • Parry Romberg Syndrome – contour irregularity of the temples, cheeks, lips, chin and jawline
  • Linear Scleroderma – Contour irregularities of the forehead, brow, orbit and scalp
  • Radiation related skin changes – woody hard skin; contracture; ulceration
  • Breast deflation after implant removal
  • Breast contour irregularity after surgery
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Buttock Augmentation

What Happens at Consultation?

It is important that you arrive at your consultation with specific goals for what improvements you want for your appearance and have realistic expectations for what can be achieved with fat grafting. Dr. Derderian will perform a detailed history and examination with special attention paid the skin and subcutaneous tissues in the area of your concern in addition to areas of potential donor sites. Common donor sites include the abdomen, flanks, hips, buttock and thighs. He will discuss your specific goals in detail at your consultation and will develop a surgical plan tailored to your anatomy and goals.

How is the Surgery Performed?

Fat is harvested using standard liposuction techniques. Small incisions of about a quarter inch size are used for the liposuction cannulas. The fat is washed with saline to ensure only healthy fat is used. Specialized blunt injection cannulas are used to place small amounts of fat into the recipient tissues. This is a precise process and it is important that only small amounts are placed. The amount of fat that can be placed in a single treatment depends on the thickness of the recipient tissues. Depending on how much volume is needed to achieve your treatment goals a series of injection treatments may be needed. For small volumes a single treatment can be successful. For larger volumes 3-4 treatments are needed. These may be separated by 4-6 months.

The recovery from fat grafting is well tolerated. Usually the amount of fat harvested is much less than what is removed during liposuction for contouring purposes. Patients use prescribed pain medicine for 1-3 days. Antibiotics are taken for 1 week to protect against infection while the grafted tissue is developing a blood supply. There is swelling after the procedure, but this is sufficiently resolved after 7-10 days to go back to school or work. Patients can return to full activity after 2 weeks.

When is the Final Result Appreciable?

Improvements in volume and contour are immediately appreciated after fat grafting. What is difficult to determine is how much of the transferred fat will survive. Estimates on graft survival depend on the thickness and health of the tissues at the recipient site. On average, about 50% of the transferred fat will survive. It takes about 4-6 months for the edema to resolve sufficiently to assess if enough graft has taken to achieve the treatment goal.

What is the Cost of Fat Grafting (Fat Transfer)?

The cost of fat grafting depends on the nature of the problems. For reconstructive purposes it is typically covered by insurance. Cosmetic applications are not covered by insurance.

The costs for surgery include:
  • Anesthesia fees – cover the anesthesiologist, their staff and medications
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs – covers the operating room, staff and equipment
  • Surgeon’s fee

Why Choose Dr. Derderian?

Dr. Derderian trained in plastic surgery at New York University and after completing his residency Dr. Derderian did a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He had extensive training in fat grafting during his training. He joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in Dallas in 2011. Dr. Derderian is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a recognized expert in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Derderian frequently performs fat grafting in his practice in Dallas, and performs basic science and clinical research related to fat grafting.

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