Will Removing Fat Graft by Excision Activate Stem Cells in the Remaining Graft?

causing the remaining fat graft nodules to grow? I was overfilled a very long time ago. Everytime I get some of the lumps cut out-within 18 months or so the remaining lumps are bigger and distorted. I have not gainned weight. What could be causing this? This type of correction seems to never end. Something is either regenerating or turning on growth factors? Anyone else observe or experience this?

Doctor Answers 7

Growing fat graft nodules

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I have not seen growing fat grafts in my office after partial excision and I can not provide you with a scientific expalanation.  This creates questions about the type of fat transfererd. Was there a coincidental lipoma that was moved to the recipient site? It might be helpful to submit to a dermatopatholoigst the next specimen that is removed for analysis.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Something doesn't add up in your fat transfer experience.

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I have seen fat grafts increase size when the patient gains weight or gains percentage body fat.  But assuming those issues are stable, there is only one type on injection that I have known to constantly grow back, even when removed.  That's silicone.  I am not saying you had silicone injection, but the story is more consistent with that than anything else.  Hope this helps.

Ritu Chopra, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Stem cell growth in fat transplants

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The reality of the issue is we just don't have enough experience to know for certain what happens long term with fat  transfer. Clinical experience would suggest that what you are describing  just doesn't happen. However, every person is different as are their fat cells. It would be very important that you speak with someone, a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in fat transfer, to try to understand what is going on with you.  Has anyone ever biopsied the fat that has been removed? It might be helpful to have that piece of information, especially in the light of this repeated recurrence. I hope this information is useful. Jon Sattler,
MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Glendora, CA.

Jon Sattler, MD
Glendora Plastic Surgeon

Fat Graft Removal

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It is ironic that when we started doing fat grafting successfully in the 1980's, we were consistenly told by other physicians that these grafts don't survive. Although there is a lot we don't know about stem cells, I've never seen a patient where fullness after fat augmentation could not be corrected.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Fat transfer complications

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Dear Michhy,

The problem seems a little odd and I would agree with the previous surgeon that you should be examined.  You might benefit from a second opinion, steroid injections, and/or direct excisions.  Fat doesn't regrow once it has been removed.  Also, although stem cells are touted in the media and the internet, it is still just a theory and has not been proven that stem cells are transferred along with the fat.  All we know is that it does produce natural, permanent, and beautiful results.


Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Removing fat graft

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I have not heard of this problem of remaining fat increasing in size after removing a portion of it. I would imagine that you would have temporary swelling in the area, but certainly nothing that would occur over the course of 18 months.

Fat graft removal.

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In 35 years of fat grafting I have never seen a patient where the fat could not be removed. I would need to examine this to see why you are having this trouble, but this is not a stem cell problem.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.