Approx. 50% of Fat Survives when Fat Grafting but What's the Time Frame for This to Happen?

The reason I'd like to know is because I had fat grafted to an indent after lipo to my flanks/lower back and I hate what I see. The fat grafted was not placed to the indent instead right above and I'd like to know if that fat "dies" within a certain period of time? Or if it remains 50% or less in that area? Does it disappear eventually? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 5

Fate of Grafted (transferred) Fat

The survival of fat grafts and the ability to confirm fat survival depends on multiple factors: - The suction (Vacuum) applied to avulse and remove the fat from the donor site, if excessive, can kill the fat cells - deprived from its blood supply, the fat undergoes trauma outside the body and chilling it can reduce its metabolism and nned for oxygen thereby prolonging its survival outside the body - gentle centrifuging of the fat can remove blood and dead cells allowing the surgeon to inject pure fat and more carefully assess the true volume of fat transfer but centrifuging at high G forces will kill fat cells resulting in a higher percentage of fat transfer survival - The amount of blood vessels in the grafted area and the presence of either scarring or bacteria would greatly affect the ability of the tissue to support and encourage fat graft survival Finally, - all fat transfer is associated with swelling caused by the surgical introduction and placement of the fat grafts. In is agreed that the fat that is present at 3-4 month after the transfer represents successful fat transferts. But as long as the swelling persists it is impossible to separate graft "take" from post-surgical swelling. Only once the swelling has resolved can we asses the true extent of fat take and post surgical swelling can last over 3 months. Dr. Peter Ajdea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Injected Fat Result Will Take At Least 3 Months To See

The survival of fat grafts after injection can be quite variable in terms of ultimate survival and retention. However, the process to get to the final result seems to be fairly consistent. My observation has been that what you see at about three months after the procedure is what will be retained on a long-term basis. This will obviously depend on how much fat was injected. Smaller amounts will show sooner how much fat will stay versus larger volume fat grafts will take longer to see the final results due to a more protracted absorption phase.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Misplaced Fat Transfer

Hi Vegas,

The fat that is present 5 to 6 months after fat transfer should be your permanent living fat.  At that time you should consult with a fat transfer physician with better eye sight than you first.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fat grafting survival is established several months after surgery

Its reasonable to assume that the volume that remains 4-5 months after fat grafting surgery will be stable over time. In regions that are in constant motion (around the mouth, for example)- the survival of fat grafts is less predictable. Touch-up injections are sometimes needed to establish good symmetry and an acceptable result.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Fat injections as a filler

Fat injections are grafts of your own fat tissue. There are many variables that make it an inconsistent treatment with some procedures in some patients doing better than others. Not all the fat lives and with subsequent treatments you add to those cells that are living in their new environment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 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.