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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Fat Grafting: Why it’s popular

What’s the hype about Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting is an amazing innovation to the field of surgery that has been used since the 1990s by plastic surgeons.  Fat grafting allows plastic surgeons to improve the aesthetic appearance of various cosmetic procedures. There are so many applications where fat grafting can be beneficial. Some of these procedures include procedures of the face, breast, hands, feet, hips, and buttocks. In recent years, fat grafting has been found to be beneficial in treating wounds and scars, and even in treatment tissues damaged by radiation.

The History of Fat Grafting

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons educates us on the history of fat grafting.  Take a look at this timeline of when fat grafting came to be routinely used in surgery:

  • 1893: the first fat grafting dates all the way back to 1893 when Gustav Neuber, a plastic surgeon from Germany performed a fat grafting procedure.  He corrected scars caused by osteomyelitis which is a severe bone infection.  Dr. Nueber corrected these scars by transferring fat from the arm to the area surrounding the eye .
  • 1985: Shortly after Neuber’s procedure, Doctor Viktor Czerny performed a reconstructive breast procedure after a patient underwent a unilateral partial mastectomy.  Dr. Czerny corrected the breast asymmetry by transferring a lipoma to the breast tissue. A lipoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that is composed of fat.  
  • 1985-1989: Over the next 100 years, the procedure of fat grafting gained some controversy because of various complications that occurred with the procedure. In addition, at the time the technique used resulted in inconsistent fat quality, leading to poor results.
  • 1990: The popularity of fat grafting began growing.  A New York City Plastic Surgeon by the name of Dr. Sydney Coleman started publishing papers explaining standardized techniques for fat grafting, processing, and injecting the fat.  

What exactly is Fat Grafting?

Fat grafting is when a person’s own fat is used to fill irregulates in a part of the body. The fat is collected from another part of the body and transferred there. 

The word grafting is defined by MedicineNet as healthy skin, bone, kidney, liver that is taken from one place of the body to replace tissue removed from another part of the body. Fat grafting is also commonly called fat injections and lipofilling.

What is the process of fat grafting?

The fat is taken from one part of the body and then processed by centrifuging. Next, it is filtered and rinsed. The fat now becomes liquid fatty tissue and is injected into the desired body part. The injected fat is protected by the surrounding healthy tissue.

Fat grafting can be performed in various areas of the body. Common areas include areas of the face such as cheeks or lips.  It can also be performed on the breasts or buttocks.

Common Body Locations Where Fat Grafting is Used

 There are several applications where fat grafting is used.  Some common areas where fat grafting is used include breast augmentation, butt augmentation, and procedures of the face and hip. 

Breast Augmentation

Fat transfer breast augmentation is an option for women who are looking to have a small increase in breast size. Therefore in some situations, it acts as an alternative to breast implants.

Breast augmentation is a popular plastic surgery procedure that women undergo to enlarge and or refine the appearance of their breasts. It has been one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries around the world for years. Today, breast augmentation is commonly talked about and socially accepted.  Women are proud to admit they underwent breast augmentation and share their experience. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons website is an excellent resource that reviews readers about the recovery time and additional recommendations regarding breast augmentation.

Butt Augmentation

Butt Augmentation is also called Gluteal Augmentation or buttock augmentation. This plastic surgery procedure improves the contour, shape, and size of the buttocks.  If you add the lift, a buttock lift improves the tone of the underlying gluteal tissue


Fat grafting procedures of the face help create a younger appearance, removing wrinkles and adding volume to cheeks.  Fat grafting can also create a smoother, softer appearance of the skin.  In addition, fat grafting can also be used to repair scars.  


Fat grafting can be used on the hips to change the shape of the hips. It can add more volume, creating improved body proportions. 

More recent innovations

Fat grafting can also be used for regenerative purposes. Fat grafts have a high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).  This can be used to rejuvenate the skin and treat skin damaged by radiation. 

By now you have read about the amazing benefits that fat grating can offer. Its use in various plastic surgery procedures can lead to more natural-appearing results and function.  While fat grafting surgery can lead to excellent results, it is also important to remember, as with all surgeries, there are risks. Some risks include (but not limited to) infection, scarring, pain, lumps under the skin, loss of skin, and blood clots that can also travel to the lung or affect the heart.  Doing your research, being well prepared, and being informed can help reduce these risks.  

Start by Finding the Right Surgeon

With any plastic surgery, one of the most critical steps is choosing the right plastic surgeon.  Along with a great surgeon, you also need an adequately trained and caring staff.  Plastic Surgery requires a team approach in order to achieve exceptional results.   Fortunately , Applebaum MD has it all.

Dr. Robert Applebaum is a plastic surgeon with 25 plus years of experience and is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It is important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon because that ensures your surgeon has had extended education and training in his or her field.  A Healthline article shared that, “In a survey of 5,135 people, 87 percent believed that surgeons had to have special credentials and training to perform cosmetic procedures or to advertise themselves as aesthetic, cosmetic or plastics.  However, not all these surgeons are Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) certifies surgeons exclusively in cosmetic surgery.  Any surgeon or doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, without board certification.

If you are considering plastic surgery or have more questions about fat grafting, contact Applebaum MD today.  They can help answer your questions and create a plan that best fits your needs while keeping safety a top priority. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is unique, therefore what works on one person, may have a different result for you. Talk to an experienced plastic surgeon, who can recommend the best augmentation procedures for you. Detailed conversations regarding recovery time and associated surgical risk factors will also be discussed. Dr. Applebaum and his staff will ensure that you are fully aware of what the procedure entails and maintain safety as a first priority.  Learn more about the outstanding Applebaum MD team. Complimentary consultations are available even virtually.  Contact Applebaum MD today 

Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Applebaum

Dr. Robert Applebaum is a world renowned and highly respected Plastic Surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In his nearly 30 years as a practicing physician, Dr. Applebaum has become known as an innovator in the field of laser technology techniques for plastic surgery procedures. He has published numerous articles and scientific papers about the use of laser technology and educates physicians worldwide on the applications of laser technology for plastic surgery. Dr. Applebaum primarily practices out of his private outpatient surgery center, Four Thirty Six Aesthetic Surgery Center, which is located in Beverly Hills.




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