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Fat Transfer


When an individual loses weight or moves through the normal aging process, they may lose shape and fullness in certain body parts where volume once existed. One way to restore lost volume is through a cosmetic treatment known as a fat transfer. This process removes fat from one or more areas of the body and transfers it into a specific place that needs additional volume. Fat transfer procedures can be performed on widespread areas, such as the buttocks, or on small areas, such as the lips and cheeks. Autologous fat transfers are commonly chosen when an individual wants a natural enhancement instead of relying on the use of implants or fillers. In Houston, TX, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion uses the most advanced grafting techniques for performing fat transfers.


Men and women who desire more volume in areas of the body that appear depleted of natural fullness may be ideal candidates for the fat grafting (transfer) procedure. This treatment is desirable because it provides an autologous way to produce results by moving the patient's own fatty tissue. With this method, there is less risk or concern for rejection. Patients at SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery considering this procedure should be at a specific target weight and have fat that is available to extract for the transfer.

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During a fat transfer, you will be put under the appropriate kind of anesthesia. The type of sedation or anesthesia will depend on how much fat tissue is being removed, including the area where it will be placed. A form of liposuction is performed first using a small, specialized cannula to delicately extract the fat so it can be separated and purified. After prepping the injection site, the fat will be transferred into the area of concern. This injection is completed in layers until the desired outcome has been attained. For larger areas, numerous injections will be used and placed layer by layer.


After a fat transfer, you will go through a healing phase. Remember, there are two different areas of the body affected by this treatment: the fat removal site and the injection site. The recovery process can take longer if a larger area of the body was addressed. As an example, a fat transfer for lip enhancement will typically only need several days to heal whereas a transfer to a larger section, such as the breasts, can take weeks or even longer. Each area will appear swollen and red, but the outcomes can be noticed almost immediately. An added bonus is that the area which involved fat removal will look slimmer. This procedure yields lasting outcomes, but there will always be some fat that reabsorbs back into the body. In some patients, an additional transfer may be necessary later on to achieve the desired volume increase. There is almost no scarring that is noticeable with this treatment, as the fat itself is injected with tubes which are the size of needles.


How much does a fat transfer cost?

The cost of a fat transfer will vary greatly based on a number of factors. In fat transfers to the breasts, a larger amount of fat is required so surgical liposuction is used, which means a lengthier process is incorporated for fat purification and then graft it where needed. Smaller fat transfers, like those to the face and hands, require less time and fat. The amount of volume required to achieve your needs and goals will be discussed in your initial consultation with Dr. Couvillion, along with estimates of cost and the payment methods we accept.

Where can I have fat transferred?

A fat transfer can be performed on most areas of your body or face where you want volume. A few of the most popular areas are the butt (typically called the Brazilian butt lift), face, breasts, and hands. Fat grafting might be performed with breast reconstruction or augmentation with implants to correct irregularities. Volume loss caused by aging in the hands and face may also be improved with fat grafting, especially to add shape to your lips or in the hollow under your eyes. Tell Dr. Couvillion in your initial consultation about where you want to make improvements so he can develop your personal fat transfer treatment plan.

How long will the results of a fat transfer last?

A fat transfer offers results that can be long-lasting with proper care. Dr. Couvillion employs methods to graft fat which attempt to limit reabsorption. Once fat is transferred to an area, it acts just like the the rest of the fat from the area it was harvested.  This means that if you lose or gain a large amount of weight, your results may be effected. If you would like to touch up or enhance your appearance after a while, another fat transfer can be discussed.

Are there any alternative treatments to a fat transfer?

Based on where you want to add fat, you may have an alternate option to a fat graft. In your breasts, an implant can be considered rather than a fat transfer. In your hands and face, SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery offers many dermal fillers for volume and skin rejuvenation. Dr. Couvillion will explain all of your choices in your consultation so that you can get the results that will meet your concerns and goals.

What if I don't have enough fat for a transfer?

During your consultation with Dr. Couvillion, he will discuss the amount of fat that is required to meet your goals. You might not have enough excess fat to transfer; however, this is usually only a problem if you want a large volume of fat transferred or you have a very low body fat percentage. Fat may be taken from several areas if needed. Dr. Couvillion will explain all of your choices in your consultation appointment.


If you desire more voluptuous lips or want to smooth out facial lines, this procedure may be a great option. In addition, a fat transfer is a long-term option for augmenting the breasts. This treatment offers many options for cosmetic enhancement and can help you to achieve the look you want using your own tissue. We welcome you to contact our office in Houston, TX to make your consultation with Dr. Couvillion.

When it comes to aesthetic plastic surgery, it's important to choose a dedicated surgeon who is committed to your desired surgical goals. To meet with our double board-certified plastic surgeon, Ryan Couvillion, MD and his team, call our office at 713-850-0240.