Is Fat Transfer Permanent?

I lost of the fat in my uppper cheeks. Not quite sure how or why it happened but it was after my Rhinoplasty. I want a permanent solution to fix this. I am considering fat transfer but I keep hearing different stories as to whether it is permanent or not. Is there proof that it is permanent or not?

Doctor Answers 14

Longevity of Fat Transfer

I work as an aesthetic facial plastics surgical tech and I have seen many procedures and many situations. I feel Fat Transfer is the best option to go with because the outcome can offer many results that the traditional incision procedures does not. For instance, as described on our web site volumizing will eliminate the extra skin and fill any unwanted wrinkles and lines. If you go with the traditional face lift all that is accomplished is tightening. When we age we experience muscle and bone loss loosing volume. The youthful appearance is much contributed by the volume.  Fat transfer brings back the volume taking off over ten years or more. The procedure is a lot less invasive and the only cutting and sutures are limited to 2-3 centimeters where the fat was harvested. To answer your question, the longevity really depends on the quality of the fat that is being harvested. We have areas on our bodies that are harder to lose the fat such as the hips, love handles, stomach, or even under the arms.  Fat from these areas will improve the survival rate. We have seen fat survive 10-16 years.

Kindest regards



Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Fat Transfer

Some of it may be permanent.  The key words here are “some” and “may.”   You are correct in that many dispute whether the transferred fat is permanent.  This is an area where a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon can offer some advice.  I recommend you get a Sculptura consult and evaluate that product with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.  This works well, and lasts roughly 2 years, and may be a very good fat alternative.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Is fat tranfer permanent?

Great question. Think of micro fat transplantation as a way of putting living cells in one area of your body to another, similar to a skin graft. Once the fat cells get new blood supply in their new location they become a living entity.   As one ages, however, we tend to lose volume in our face and so it is not uncommon to require additional procedure later on to make up for these losses.

Christian A. Prada, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 259 reviews

Fat transfer: permanent of not


As you can see there are different opinions among surgeons on the matter.  Technically any part of your body whether its a skin graft, an organ, or fat that is moved from one are to another and establishes blood supply should be permanent.  Once you do a skin graft the skin graft is permanent and does not have to be repeated.  With fat grafting we must understand that as we age the volume of fat in our body changes and this happens to both the fat that was grafted as well as the remaining fat in our body.  This is also the case if we gain or loose weight.

So the answer to you question is yes fat grafting is permanent but you may want more down the road as the aging process continues.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Fat transfer is permanent.

30 years ago I got tired of surgeons saying it was not permanent. I had a patient that let me inject one hand with fat and we waited 2 years. You could see the difference across the room. The problem is creating symmetry and one must over inject at first since about 50% will be absorbed.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Fat transfer

Fat transfer is a permanent solution however a portion of the fat that is grafted intially is lost. To simplify between 20  to 50% of what is placed is lost. The residual is permanent.

Jay M. Pensler, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Fat Grafting

The survial of a fat graft is highly dependent on technique. From where the fat is harvested, which intruments are used in the harvest, the amount of time the fat is exposed to air, and how the fat is processed prior to transfer is crucial. It's the difference between a long lasting smooth contour, and either a short lived graft or worse, the creation of a firm nodule. I have been performing fat grafting fow many years, and have found the need for revisions rare.

Richard Ellenbogen, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Fat Transfer Certainly Can be Permanent

Fat transfer is the grafting of fat.  All grafts, if they take, are permanent.  Since fat cells are fragile and susceptible to death from lack of oxygen, the grafting is technically difficult and unforgiving.  When fat grafting began to become popular again some 10 years ago, there was a wide range of techniques and experience with individuals performing the surgery, and so results varied widely.  Modern micro-fat grafting techniques performed by experienced surgeons today can provide grafting that survives and is permanent.  Be sure to look into the experience of your surgeon and their success rate with the surgery.

Mario Loomis, MD
Middletown Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Frustratingly not long lasting.

Especially at the top of the cheeks, I personally think it is very hard for fat transfer to compete with expert use of hyaluronic acid fillers like Juevederm and Restylane.  This products are not permanent either.  However, they do not require surgery and weeks ( or months) of facial swelling to achieve very satisfactory results.  There is not permanent. Choose wisely.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Fat transfer

Fat transfer is technique dependant. and you should expect some where between 60-80% take of the graft.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.