I'm confused. Is fat grafting permanent or not?

i went to three drs. each told me a different story:, one that he rare.y needs touch ups in hispractice and that fat grafting is permanent. another dr said that it can last between a few months and 3 years. One wants to harvest it from my thighs, the other from my belly.... what s the story?

Doctor Answers 4

Fat transferred fat is permanent

Fat transfer to the face, breast or buttock is permanent however a certain percentage of the fat cells will die within the first few months after surgery. This can be as high as 50%, therefore, some patients will desire a second procedure to add more fat. If you mix the fat with growth factors derived from the patient's own serum (platelet enriched plasma) you can increase the amount of fat which survives.

Best wishes,


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 380 reviews

Fat grafting results based on 35 year experience.

1. It lasts forever after the initial absorption of about 50%
2. What you see at 3 months is what you get
3. In the wrong hands it produces irregularities and often requires touch ups especially in the face.
4. I have primarily used the abdomen where most people have "extra" fat
5. If you gain 20lbs. the transferred fat can increase in size!

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

Fat grafting

In general, we believe that the fat that is injected will take a few weeks to a couple of months to stablize. In the first couple of months after fat grafting, we believe that 40-60% [in most patients] of the fat will remain viable, as the rest atrophies away.
Once this fat stabilizes, it is in fact permenant. However, in the facial region, aging will continue to occur and facial fat atrophy will continue.
One way to explain this is the following:  in a hypothetical situation, if you had fat grafting done to only the right side of your face, but not to the left side, your right side will always have more volume than the left side, but will continue to age and have fat atrophy.

As far as thigh vs belly fat as the donor site, there has been no definitive study suggesting one is better than the other. What I generally ask my patients is the following:  which body region do you have the toughest time losing fat from, and that is the region that I'll harvest fat from. In ladies its often inner knees and outer thighs, in males its generally around the belly.

Hope this helps clear things up a bit.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Fat Graphting

Fat grafting is very unpredictable.  It could stay for years or can be re-absorbed in months.  There are places on the body and face that I have found that fat does like to stay longer.  Discuss the "typical" time your surgeon estimates the fat will stay in that specific area you are transferring the fat to.  Where you would like the fat removed is up to you.  There is no time guarantee on fat transfer.      

Jan Zemplenyi, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 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.