Difference Between Fat Grafting and Fat Injection?

Is "fat graphing" the same procedure as a "fat injection"? I am contemplating a face and neck lift and the surgeon recommended a "fat injection," where he would take a few tsp. of fat from stomach and inject it into face. (he also indicated that the transferred fat may not last).


Doctor Answers 13

Composite fat grafting and fat injection have important differences

A composite fat graft utilizes a pieces of fat which is harvested from another body area and placed into a defect-the fat is transferred intact.

Fat injection uses fat that has been removed by liposuction, treated, and injected as an emulsification consisting of fat cells.

Both procedures work and are accepted techniques.

However, in my experience, the injected fat cells, I presume because many are injured during processing and injection and because the injection is a blind procedure, often appear lumpy, and often need to be repeated. I find the composite graft can be more accurately placed and the survival of the graft more easily predicted.

There is no difference between fat grafting and fat injection

These are just words to describe the same thing.  unfortunately, sometimes we get too many marketing words out there that really mean very little.

Samuel Lam, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews


Essentially, the terms refer to the same thing. Usually these days, fat is removed by liposuction, cleaned, and prepared to graft into a recipient area. The most common technique to do that is with special needles and syringes. So the fat is injected as a "graft". The graft refers to the fact that the fat cells are moved to another area without thier blood supply in tact, and must wait for a new blood supply to develop and sustain them.

This is also the problem with fat grafts. It is unpredictible how much of the fat will survive, though most or at least a good proportion will die and resorb, making re-treatments frequently needed.


Fat grafting is the same thing as fat injection

Fat grafting is the same thing as fat injection.  Grafting is a term used in plastic surgery when tissue is taken from one place and transferred to another and then it is allowed to heal in place.  The healing depends on the ability of this transferred tissue to survive long enough until new blood vessels are formed to provide blood supply, oxygen, and nutrients to this transferred or grafted tissue.
Fat injection is a more descriptive term for the same thing, as the fat is actually injected into the target areas, in the process of fat grafting.
Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 298 reviews

The procedure are the same

Only the terminology is different;  the procedure is the same. Not all fat lives in the new environment, some may and some will be dissolved by your body. There is no guarantee as to how much fat will remain and often it is done as a series of several sessions even after a facelift.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

The difference between fat grafting and fat injection.

This is a minor semantic and technical distinction.

Fat injection is a method of fat grafting.

Let me explain. Fat grafting literally means taling fat from one part of your body and transplanting it to a new location. The transferred fat (the "graft") needs to survive in it's new location and this process is referred to as the "take" of the graft.

The transferred fat can be achieved using:

  1. injection
  2. pearl grafting (cutting into small pearl sized pieces)
  3. lumbrical grafts (cutting the fat into cigar shaped pieces)
  4. dermal fat grafts (combining the fat with protions of the skin - dermis)

Surgeons may disagree on the best methods of grafting as well as the methods of processing the fat prior to transfer.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Difference between fat grafting and fat injection?

No difference.

In Medicine, a graft is the the transplanting of a portion of bone marrow fat, skin or bone from one area to another. The vast majority of fat harvested elsewhere is placed in the recipient area by injecting in. It is usually placed in small tunnels where is is more apt to be nourished and survive the harvest and grafting. Less commonly small pieces of fat are placed directly without injection.

In your case the fat transfer / grafting will most likely be by injection.

I hope this was helpful.

Peter A Aldea, MD, FACS

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Fat grafting and transfer are the same, very commonly used with facial surgery

Fat grafting is the same as fat injection. As the mechanism of aging involve loss of facial volume,fat injection is becoming a common practice with or without face lift surgery.

Some of the injected fat could be absorbed,however with good surgical technique the majority will survive.The key in fat grafting is to avoid injecting too much or too superficial. Best of luck !

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Fat Transfer

Fat grafting and fat transfer and fat injections are all the same thing. Some fat is removed from desired areas and then treated and injected into the areas that need the volume.

It can be permanent and it will be, but not all the injected fat stays. Different surgeons will quote you different percentages of how much stays. The bottom line is that you may need repeat injection to get the desired long term result that you may be looking for.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.