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Fat Transfer for Permanent Lip Enlargement?

Is it possible to enlarge or augment the lips permanently though fat transfer? Some people have mentioned that once the fat cells die, the will lips look horrible. Is this the reason why a lot of people don't undergo fat transfer on the lips? Does this procedure also leave bad scarring and lumps?

Doctor Answers 13

Fat Transfer is a live graft

Fat Transfer is a live graft. It requires;

1- lots of live cells

2-small pearls of fat for maximal in growth of blood supply. If fat does not get blood supply in a timely manner it will die. The larger a pearl is, the less blood will supply the inner part of the pearl. Large liposuction cannulas make very big pearls that almost always die.

3- relatively immobile area to reestablish blood supply.

The Viafill system gets lots of live cells, in small, non-lumpy pearls where it has to be, but the lip moves a lot, making it less than ideal spot for fat transfer. Fat transfer is better for cheeks, under eyes, temples, necks, hands, breasts and buttocks.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

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Fat transfer for lips can yield good results, if done by an experienced surgeon

Fat injections or fat transfer can be done to enlarge the lips. Excelent results are possible when the technique works well. Because about 50-60 % of the fat cells die after transplantation, the doctor overcorrects the lips during transfer. This means that your lips will be larger than you want them for the first month or two.

The technique for fat injection is very well defined and must be followed carefully. If the procedure is done by an expert at this technique, lumps and bumps should not happen.

Lumps and bumps indicate that the fat has not been injected uniformly along the entire lip.

I suggest you consult a doctor who is very experienced and expert at this technique.

I usually recommend filler injectiond with Restylane, Juvederm or Perlane first to see if you like the effect. Fillers will dissolve if you dont like the effect

Fat transfer does not guarantee a long-lasting effect

Fat injections are very effective for many patients in the cheeks and other areas of the face, but it does not tend to have much longevity in the lips, in my experience. There are different techniques of injecting fat into the lips and very tiny amounts injected into the lip muscle might produce a longer effect but there usually is a lot of swelling for several weeks after such a procedure. The lasting of effect is not guaranteed and is very inconsistent.

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

Fat transfer for lip enlargement

It is definitely possible to enhance the lips with fat transfer. I believe its always a good idea to start with temporary fillers like juvederm to make sure you like that look. Fillers are temporary, but when the effect of them is desired fat can be used as a more permanent solution. Fat is injected carefully into the lips as a graft--meaning it has to "take" in the area its placed. But once it does, it remains there permanently. Fat injected into the lips does have a higher resorption rate because the lips are always moving and may require multiple sessions until the desired effect is reached. If large clumps of fat are injected, they can die and leave nodules that usually are removed. Some scarring is always involved with injection of any material. This procedure is becoming more common as people search for a more permanent way to enhance their lips. Be sure to find a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in fat grafting to answer your questions and guide your decision making process.

Fat Lips from Fat Hips

It is possible to enlarge and augment lips permanently through fat transfer. Not all fat lives, probably less than 50% in the lips.. In my experience the fat that does not survive has not resulted in any disfigurement, just a patient that wishes her lips were bigger. I have not seen bad scarring or lumps. It is not uncommon therefore in my practice to have to re-inject lips with fat until patients are satisfied. I think that is why it might not be as popular because it is less predictable, despite being successful and long lasting.

There is a significant learning curve and my biggest suggestion I can give you is to use a board certified Plastic Surgeon skilled in the art of fat transfer. Just because a doctor wears a white coat doesn't make them an expert.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Fat transfer to the lips is possible...

Fat transfer to the lips is possible but usually not long lasting.  When done correctly you can achieve great results, temporarily making the lips look larger and also natural at the same time.  If you are not comfortable with fat injections to the lips there are other options such as Juvederm or silicone that can be performed, resulting in a nice enhancement.  Be sure to discuss all the options with your surgeon. 

Fat transfer for lip enhancement

It is possible to inject fat into the lift for augmentation and enhancement. Keep in mind that the lip is a very sensitive structure and a small amount of volume goes a very long way. Remember that whenever fat is injected into another part of the body, approximately 20% of it will melt away. Unfortunately, controlling which 20% will melt away. For this reason, fat is injected into the lip may produce and unpredictable or uneven result. Although fat grafted into the lip is an effective filler, also consider other options such as hyaluronic acid fillers.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Fat Transfer is a good procedure


Yes, it is possible to achieve permanent lip fullness by fat transfer. I have not seen bad scarring or effects of dead cells in my patients or among patients done elsewhere.

There are other reasons more people do not undergo fat transfer. In the last few years, injectable fillers such as hyaluronic acid products (HA, Juvaderm and Restylane) have been popular, affordable, and do not require a surgical procedure or donor site. With these products there is less swelling and less need to over-correct. You should be aware that the only FDA approved use for them is the nasolabial groove, but experienced physicians commonly use HA fillers in other areas.

I do advise patients that a single fat transfer treatment session may not give as much fullness as they wish. A second treatment, months later may be useful. We cannot guarantee permanence, but some patients achieve it.

I think fat transfer is an excellent choice in experienced hands, after careful discussion with the patient, particularly when you are having other procedures under anesthesia (facial or body procedures).

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Fat transfer or grafting is very effective for lip augmentation


Fat transfer or fat grafting is very effective for lip augmentation. With older techniques, there was a risk of the fat cells dying or clumping and forming lumps. However, with the newer centrifugation and micro-injection techniques, the results are much more predictable.

During the procedure, we harvest the fat cells from your abdomen or thigh. We then process the cells in a centrifuge to help isolate or concentrate the cells. We then use a very small canulla to inject the cells in to your tissues. The techniques can be used to augment anywhere that needs more volume such as your cheeks, your lips, you jaw line, etc.. I hope you find this helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Fat transfer for lip augmentation

Fat transfer is a commonly performed procedure for the lips. In highly trained hands, the procedure is reliable but the permanance of the graft material may be low, leading the fat to dissipate, sometimes unevenly. If the fat does not leave symmetrically, the inconsistent takes in the fat can lead to an uneven appearance postoperatively.

Some doctors would prefer non-traumatized fascial fat grafts (LiveFill) for lip augmentation.

These differ from fat injections in that the grafts, taken from the patient's own tissues, are completely untraumatized, unlike fat injections which are aspirated through a negative pressure syringe and then injected through a needle.

The net result in our studies has been greater permanence in LiveFill lip augmentation patients than with fat injection.

Because the graft material has a high survival rate, we do not exaggerate the amount we inject. This translates to less swelling experienced by the patient.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 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.