What is Fat Transfer? – Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery

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Fat transfer, also referred to as fat grafting or fat injection, consists of the movement of fat from one area of the body to another. For instance, fat from the inner thighs may be transplanted to fill hollow spots in the cheeks. Fat transfer can address the loss of fat in the face, lips, breasts, buttocks, and other parts of the body. This procedure is a popular alternative to cosmetic fillers like Juvederm, Radiesse or collagen.

During an autologous (i.e., from your own body) fat transfer, New Orleans, Louisiana-based plastic surgeon Dr. Ali Sadeghi removes fat from the donor site with a device called a cannula. He then injects fat cells into the area that needs plumping. The fat then re-vascularizes and becomes part of the body once more. Fat transfer may be repeated until the desired effect is achieved and can be combined with other procedures.

What Can a Tummy Tuck Improve

People seek tummy tucks for a wide variety of reasons, both cosmetic and medical. If you need to restore your figure or address issues that are causing you pain, it can be tremendously helpful. Some of the benefits include:

Improved abdominal tone

A tummy tuck will flatten and shape your abdomen, which will make your clothing fit better and look better on you.

Improved posture

After extreme weight loss or multiple pregnancies, stomach muscles can expand, making the belly stick out more. A tummy tuck tightens these weak muscles, while removing excess skin, to flatten the abdomen. After a tummy tuck, patients may notice that their posture has greatly improved because of the tightened muscles supporting their spine.

Decreased back pain

Back pain is another common issue that can be treated with a tummy tuck. After significant weight loss or pregnancy, women may complain of back pain due to weakened stomach muscles. In flattening the abdomen and removing excess stomach fat, the result is abdominal support that can alleviate your back pain.

Reduction of stress urinary incontinence

After a vaginal birth, some women can develop Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), where urine leaks out with pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open. This leakage can be brought on by exercising, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.

While SUI can usually be treated without surgery. Studies have shown that a tummy tuck can aid some women in recovery, especially in those who have not had a caesarian section. During a tummy tuck, a slight bladder obstruction is created using soft tissue near the pelvic region, which reduces incontinence.

Corrected ventral hernia – A ventral hernia is a bulge of tissues through an opening of weakness within the abdominal wall muscles. It may occur at any location in the abdominal wall. This hernia may develop for an array of reasons, including abdominal weakness resulting from extreme weight loss, a cesarean section, or an appendectomy. A tummy tuck can correct a ventral hernia by addressing weakened abdominal muscles and reducing pressure on the skin.

 Procedure Details

Fat transfer is performed as an outpatient service and may involve local or general anesthesia, depending on the amount of fat transferred. Dr. Sadeghi begins by using liposuction to carefully remove fat cells from the areas of the body with extra fat. Common sites include the abdomen, inner thigh, and “love handles.” Fat removed during tummy tuck or breast reduction may also be used.

The fat is then processed by centrifuging, filtering, or rinsing. After the fat has been purified, it is injected where needed. The fat is evenly distributed into the area by injecting tiny amounts so that it is surrounded by healthy tissue. This method ensures that the transplanted fat remains in contact with surrounding tissues that supply it with oxygen and nutrients. A fat transfer procedure typically takes about an hour, depending on the size of the treated area or areas.

 Fat Transfer Procedure Costs

Fat transfer generally costs from $2,000 to $8,000, depending on the extent of the procedure.

Plan your procedure

Average Cost: $500 – $4,000
Recovery Time: ~ 7 – 10 days
Average Procedure Time: 1 – 4 hours
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  Timeline for Recovery

The areas affected by the procedure will likely be swollen immediately afterward. It’s important to compress with a freezer bag filled with ice cubes and water in the first few hours to minimize swelling. The swelling will likely increase until about the third day, and then it will slowly subside. After 7-10 days, the patient should feel confident in resuming everyday activities.

Fat Transfer Scars

While all surgical procedures involve some scarring, fat transfer offers positive results with minimal scarring. Liposuction scars are small, and the tiny cannulas used for injecting fat leave almost no scarring whatsoever.

Who can fat transfer help?

Candidates for fat transfer are those patients who want to add natural volume to one or more areas of the body or to rejuvenate the face. Candidates must be in good overall health and have enough fat for the type of transfer they desire. More fat is needed for a transfer to the buttocks or hips; less is needed for a transfer to the face. If you have undergone prior liposuction, you may have some scar tissue that could limit potential harvest sites.

You may want to consider fat transfer if:

  • You have areas on your face that appear sunken or creased
  • You want more permanent correction than you can get from fillers
  • You’d like to improve your body contour
  • You want to revise scars and fill bodily depressions
  • You’d like to rejuvenate your hands and face
  • You need to reconstruct breasts by filling in irregularities or concealing obvious signs of breast implants

It is essential to have realistic expectations for the procedure. During an office visit, Dr. Sadeghi can explore treatment options with you before making you make a decision.

What can a fat transfer enhance?

Fat grafting can be implemented in a variety of ways. Scars respond well to fat transfer, with improvement in their texture, color, and hardness. Fat transfer can treat painful neuromas (i.e., nerves that have scarred abnormally) that develop in areas of trauma or surgery. In regions of the body where surgery or trauma has caused volume loss, fat can fill those areas and improve the contour deformity.

Fat transfer is an appropriate protocol for:

  • Breast augmentation
  • Buttock augmentation (i.e., Brazilian butt lift)
  • Scars/burns
  • Facial rejuvenation
  • Amputation pain/thinning of skin
  • Radiation therapy/skin changes
  • Chronic migraines with specific trigger points
  • Foot fat pad atrophy
  • Hand rejuvenation

Why Doctor Nola

Dr. Ali Sadeghi, a.k.a. Doctor Nola, is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery and reconstructive breast surgery in the New Orleans area. In addition to his world-class education and surgical training, Dr. Sadeghi has performed thousands of surgeries, including fat transfers, in the New Orleans area. As founder and medical director of the Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery, located in Metairie, Dr. Sadeghi is dedicated to the complete care of his patients.  

Fat transfer patients receive compassionate, one-on-one care in a welcoming environment. The Sadeghi Center for Plastic Surgery uses state-of-the-art surgical techniques to achieve beautiful results with fat transfers and other procedures. Dr. Sadeghi has earned a reputation as a leader in the plastic surgery field, providing the highest quality cosmetic procedures for individuals in New Orleans for nearly two decades.

Fat transfer is a very individualized process. Patients have different goals and different bodies. Dr. Sadeghi will provide input and feedback during your consultation. He is happy to provide all the information you need when deciding about whether to have fat grafting or other cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. In the meantime, check out our patient testimonials.

Benefits of fat transfer include the following:

Reduced likelihood of allergic reactions — Some injectable fillers, such as Restylane and Juvederm, contain chemicals that could cause an allergic reaction. However, with autologous fat grafting, the procedure uses the patient’s own fat, which significantly decreases the chance of an allergic reaction. 

Long-lasting, natural results –While dermal fillers are less costly than fat grafting, the results from dermal fillers usually endure only for a few months to a year. Fillers also require multiple sessions to maintain the results. Fat grafting produces a natural appearance that will last much longer.

Minimal invasiveness Many procedures that seek to provide younger-looking skin involve invasive surgeries, lasers, and other methods. Fat transfer can achieve youthful, fuller skin with a few simple injections of a patient’s fat. Patients generally have a speedier recovery and a lower chance of infections.

Fat Transfer Options

Face – Fat harvested through liposuction can be injected into a desired area of the face to add volume and fill creases and wrinkles. Areas most commonly injected include the lips, the sunken areas beneath the eyes, forehead creases, and the deep wrinkles next to the mouth.

Breast – Fat transfer breast augmentation uses liposuction to take fat from other parts of your body and inject it into your breasts. This is a breast augmentation option for women who are looking for a relatively small increase in cup size and prefer natural results.

Buttocks – Fat transfer to the buttocks can make a derriere appear perkier or increase its size. Butt augmentation is also known as a Brazilian butt lift.


Here are some frequently asked questions about fat transfer from our patients and potential patients in the New Orleans area. To discuss your situation in more detail, call the Sadeghi Center at 504-322-7435 or reach out to us via live chat to schedule a consultation.

How do I prepare for a fat transfer?

Dr. Sadeghi and his staff provide thorough instructions prior to your fat transfer procedure. He will answer any questions you may have and review your medical history. He may perform a physical exam and take some pre-procedure photos.


Make sure to be well hydrated before surgery. If you’re a smoker, stop smoking at least six weeks prior to the procedure to minimize poor wound healing. Avoid taking aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil and Aleve. The fat transfer protocol requires anesthesia so you will need to arrange for someone to give you a ride home after surgery.

Are the results of the fat transfer permanent?

The fat that establishes itself in the treated areas and survives after the operation is considered permanent. This is generally true for the large majority of fat cells transferred. Since not all the injected fat survives, however the results are considered permanent after about six months. At that point, all of the fat that did not make it has been disposed of by the body.

What weight should patients be for fat transfer?

There is no minimum weight requirement. You simply need to have enough reserve fat to harvest and transfer.

Can a fat transfer be done more than once?

Yes. If necessary, another procedure can occur after the initial fat grafting procedure without any issues. The second time generally involves a much smaller volume of fat. You should wait for the initial procedure to fully heal before undergoing any additional work because the final fat-grafting result may take up to 18 months to become evident.

Alternative Options/Complementary Procedures

Other procedures we offer, such as BOTOX® or Emsculpt body sculpting are minimally invasive procedures that can also deliver fantastic results. Be sure to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali Sadeghi to discuss your goals and your options.

Contact a New Orleans Fat Transfer Surgeon Today

If you are considering a fat transfer procedure in Metairie or anywhere in the New Orleans area, turn to the Sadeghi Center for Plastic surgery to learn about your options. Your health and self-confidence are our top priorities, and our compassionate and knowledgeable team will be ready to answer any questions you have during a confidential consultation. Contact us at (504) 322-7435 to schedule yours today.

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See what our clients are saying

“Great staff!! So caring! Dr. Sadgehi is amazing! He took such good care of me! I am EXTREMELY satisfied with the results of my surgery! 100% recommend him if you wanna have any work done! You won’t be disappointed!!”

“Dr. Sadeghi is leading the industry with cutting edge technology. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. EM-Sculpt is what I use, just before a photo shoot or that weekend beach trip. If you haven’t been to see Ali yet and are looking to just feel better in your own skin, then get over there!”

“Dr. Sadeghi and his staff are THE BEST! They are very sweet and welcoming. Dr. Sadeghi gave me exactly what I asked for with fillers. Great experience and will definitely be back!”

“Excellent doctor, answered all of my questions and concerns. The staff was very caring and informative. They explained everything in details and what I could expect after surgery. I highly recommend Dr. Sadeghi. Excellent surgent.”

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