How permanent is a fat transfer to breasts and buttocks?

I am considering fat transplant to my breast and or a Brazilian But lift. What is the latest research on how much fat actually 'takes' in each of these areas and how permanent it is? Is one area better than the other? I don't have a lot of fat (5'4" and 120 lbs). Are your thinner patients happy with results after several years?

Doctor Answers 8

​Permanency of Fat Transfer to the Buttock

Depending on the harvesting and the injection technique, one can preserve up to 50% of the fat long-term after these procedures.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Not always

My experience shows about 70% of the patients will have permanent survival of the fat cells carefully grafted to the area under the skin of the breast and by the muscle. It is not recommended to inject throughout the breast. Smokers have such low survival they should not have fat grafting unless they quit for two months before and after the procedure.

The amounts that persist vary, and fat grafting to the breast is dependent on weight gain and loss. It also only adds about a half a cup size. Some surgeons are reporting higher gains with the use of the Brava system which adds significant cost and utilization. I would estimate about half of the fat grafted survives in the breast, which is lower than the face.

The buttock requires quite a lot of fat to see changes. Not everyone has that amount of fat to transfer. The amounts that survive seem to be 50% but initially there is swelling and other fluid, so to the patient it seems that only 25% stays. Thinner patients usually do not have enough fat to make fat grafting to the buttocks worthwhile either in cost, satisfaction, or amounts.

Benjamin Van Raalte, MD
Davenport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Fat grafting to the breasts

Dear Crissie, Fat grafting is a VERY hot topic in plastic surgery today and a great amount of research on the procedure is taking place currently. The latest research seems to support survival rates averaging around 60% in experimental animal models. So, about 60% of the fat that is transferred to your breasts or buttocks will survive. What happens to that surviving fat over years is probably very individualized based on the genetic composition of your fat. In other words, just as skin ages differently from person to person, so may fat. Suffice it to say that the fat that survives the initial procedure (I put that process at 6 months, not 6 wks as others have suggested) will likely be with you permanently, but will be subject to change over time based on your genetics and how your native fat in the breasts or buttocks ages. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

How permanent is a fat transfer to breasts and buttocks?

The fat cells that survive the transplantation are permanent, but it takes several weeks to know the degree of survival. Then, if you still want more volume, another fat transfer surgery can be done, if you have enough fat left.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

How permanent is fat transfer to the breasts and buttocks?

In 14 years experience of performing buttock augmentation using fat transfer I have found that in about 30 percent of the patients a second grafting is either desired or needed. Once the fat takes, which is evident after about 6 weeks, the fat generally stays and further fat transfer will not be necessary. I do not have long term follow-up patients coming back for more grafting because of fat absorption. Breast augmentation with fat transfer is realtively new with much smaller volumes being transferred and we need long term follow-up to have a clearer picture.

George Lefkovits, MD - Account Suspended
New York Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Permmanent fat transfer to the breast

The fat transferred to the breast will often result in a 50% resorption and a one half increase in cup size over time. We use fat grafting most often in a constricted breast as the graft will expand the skin envelope. A thin individual will have limited areas to harvest and an implant might be a better solution. Results with fat grafting are difficult to compare as the techniques are not standard and vary greatly, and some make claims that are doubtful.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


You should expect about 50-80 percent off what is put in regardless of the destination to survive, almost a third of patients will need multiple sessions

Ryan Neinstein, MD, FRCSC
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

How permanent is a fat transfer to breasts and buttocks?

There are individual variations, and the longevity depends on harvesting and transfer techniques. Probably between 50% and 70% long-term is reasonable. However, at the ht and wt you mentioned it is unlikely that you have enough fat to qualify for these procedures.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.