What is the Difference Between Intervals of Fat Injections?

I have been researching fat injections to the facial area and am confused why some doctors do it once, and why other doctors do it in intervals (of six weeks) of three to four times after the first injection. Can a doctor answer this?

Doctor Answers 3

Fat grafting in 4-6 week intervals

For fat to be successful it must be alive when extracted / liposuctioned from the donor area, remain alive during the time out of the body and stay alive after being placed in the face / buttocks (IE the RECIPIENT site). The manner the fat is placed in the recipient site would influence fat cell survival.

For the cells to live they have to be surrounded and supplied by nearby blood vessels. For this reason, the fat is best layered on in small superimposed rows of fat rather than in globs of fat which makes the center far from a nearby vessel. Since some fat will die regardless of how careful the technique is done, repeating it at 4-6 weeks or longer intervals allows for the swelling to go down and for the surgeon to estimate how much fat took and how much additional fat grafting may be needed to make up for the lost fat.

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Fat injection techniques and why they differ among surgeons.

This is somewhat a matter of opinion but the survival of fat cells ultimately depends on their blood supply at the recipent site.

To demonstrate with an overly simplified example. IF I were to place 1000 seeds in a single hole in the ground, the seeds at the center of the mass, would not recieve water and nutrients from the soil and would fail to grow or "take". Seeds generally survive better when placed in a row with space between each seed.

The same is true for fat cells, we attempt to place them in a linear fashion with normal tissue between each cell. The more sessions you perform the less you inject with each individual session and the more space you allow between the cells to allow survival.

I have not discussed harvesting and preparation of the fat which is also controversial and varies even more among surgeons

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

I only do fat grafting one time in 95% of patients

That is a fantastic question. I personally believe that doctors who put in fat multiple times may risk over time an overfilled face after 2 years because the fat is like a microparcel of tissue that gains blood supply after 6 months and starts to blend and shape upwards of two years. however, some doctors simply cannot get the fat to stick then they need multiple treatments. the best explanation perhaps is in the attached photo gallery of changes with fat transfer following ONE of my fat grafts and part of a lecture (video) that I gave last Thursday in St. Louis to explain my philosophy and why you should only need one fat transfer in the right hands.


sam lam

Sam Lam, MD, FACS
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 57 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.