Difference Between Fat Transfer Procedures?

What is the difference between fat grafting, structual fat grafting, transconjunctival open composite fat grafting, and fat injections? Which is more effective and longest lasting for fullness around the eyes? This all gets very confusing at times.

Doctor Answers (4)

Fat grafting and fat injection are very different procedures

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Fat grafting is the surgical placement of a piece of fat or combination dermis and fat under direct vision to correct a defect. The fat is surgically harvested from a site where there is excess fat such as the abdomen or hip.

Fat injection removes fat from an area with aspiration by syringe or liposuction. The fat cells are treated to prepare then for injection through a syringe and the fat is injected.

Fat injection is a "blind procedure" meaning that the fat is injected beneath the skin and the surgeon has to estimate where exactly to place the fat.

In my opinion, open grafting allows more accurate correction of the defect and more fat cells survive a composite graft. The risk of needing second and third procedures and of developing lumps, in my experience at least, is less with composite fat grafts


Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Micro fat grafting, under eye hollows and blepharoplasty

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Dear Vickisue,

You ask a very good question! The answer is they all work- but the major factor is the surgeon and their experiences. I perform micro- fat grafting on the deep layer next to the bone for the hollow correction. 1/5 patients needs to add more fat at a minimum of 2 months after the first procedure. This may be combined with a full lower eyelid blepharoplasty which also may have the steps of removing the puffing fat via the transconjunctival route and supporting the lower eyelid with a canthopexy suture.

There are many claims of superiority, safety and excellence in results...... it is tough to determine sometimes which if the correct choice for you to make in the surgeon and the procedure. Take your time, do the research and speak/meet with patients who have had similar work.

With Warm Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Different names for different procedurs

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 I agree with Dr.Shafer to some degree. Fat grafting is a old technique with some new twist to it. The main issue is the surgeon who performs the grafting but not the name of the techniques. I been doing fat grafting for last 12 years and i believe it is a great tool is filling the tissue. 

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

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Fat grafting procedures

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Basically, those are just a bunch of names for the same thing. It all involves injecting fat through the skin, except the open grafting, which involves direct placement.

In all cases, they are taking your own fat and putting where you need or want it. Fat grafting is a very effective method for filling volume loss in the face.

Good luck with your procedure.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.