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What Is Fat Transfer to Body?

Fat transfer, also referred to as fat grafting and lipofilling, has become widely accepted as the optimal means of soft-tissue filling in all areas of the body, including the face, breasts, hands and buttocks.

The method involves the strategic replacement of body's own fat resources to add volume in areas lacking it, as well as simultaneously rejuvenate the overlying skin.

The procedure involves the removal of fat from areas where it is either unnecessary or unwanted via liposuction, and the re-injection of it into other areas of the body for augmenting, healing or rejuvenation purposes.

Between 50 and 70 per cent of fat cells survive the transfer process meaning the results are permanent, and such is the organic ('autologous') nature of the donor material and the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, recovery times are minimal.

The Cadogan Clinic are specialists in this innovative field, and host the leading conference in the UK on the topic each year. Having performed hundreds of such procedures, we are the leading centre of excellence in the country for this treatment.

At A Glance

Fat Transfer to Body

At A Glance

  • Surgery Time

    1 to 2 hours

  • Exercise Including Gym

    4 - 6 weeks

  • Time Off Work

    1 week (if needed)

  • Bras & Garments

    4 -6 months

  • Hospital Stay

    Day case

  • Sexual Activity

    2 weeks

  • Washing

    Shower after 1 day

  • Full Recovery

    2 weeks

  • Reasonably Mobile


  • Driving

    1 week

  • Sleeping Position

    Sleeping on back recommended for 2 weeks

My Face My Body Awards Winner 2019 Aesthetics Awards Highly Commended 2018 Highly Commended 2018 My Face My Body Awards Winner 2020


We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.

Mr. Edmund Fitzgerald O'Connor

Specialist Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Mr Edmund Fitzgerald O’Connor is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. He focuses on providing the highest quality of care to all his patients. Putting patient safety, patient experience and patient outcomes first in all that he does...

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Mr. Hazim Sadideen

Aesthetic Plastic And Reconstructive Surgeon / GMC: 6143207

Mr. Hazim Sadideen is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He graduated from Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' (London, UK) with double distinctions, the Riker's award, the George Leach Cup and King's College London Laurels...

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Mr. David Gateley

Consultant Plastic And Reconstructive Surgeon / GMC: 2939470

Mr. David Gateley is a Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with a special interest in facial aesthetics, rhinoplasty and complimentary surgical and non-surgical rejuvenation techniques...

See Full Profile
See all Plastic Surgeons

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What is fat transfer to the body?

Fat transfer to the body is the surgical process by which fat is transferred from one area of the body to another. The technique involves extracting adipose fat via liposuction (providing an additional contouring benefit), processing the fat, and then reinjecting purified fat into another area resulting in cosmetic enhancement. The surgical goal is to improve or augment the area where the fat is injected.

Fat grafting involves three steps:

First, fat is extracted from a donor area using liposuction techniques. This is best accomplished by manual methods, using thin liposuction cannulas to make minor incisions that leave minimal scars. This is typically done under general anaesthetic, but can be done under local anaesthetic for smaller volumes. The fat is then processed to separate oil, excess fluid and blood from the viable adipose fat cells. Finally, the fat is reinjected in small droplets to the target site.

Fat grafting is most commonly performed by plastic surgeons, as liposuction is a primary component of the procedure and it is vital that the fat graft 'takes' in its new site.

In the UK, fat grafting should be performed in a facility or hospital such as the Cadogan Clinic that is inspected at regular intervals by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to ensure patient safety and best practices, by plastic surgeons who are on the specialist General Medical Council register for plastic surgery.

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To enquire about a consultation with a Fat Transfer to Body specialist, please complete the form:

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If you have any questions or queries please call to speak to one of our advisors or request a call back to speak at a time that suits you.

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Why Do People Have It?

Fat transfer is a safe, short and highly effective surgical procedure to enhance the contours of the body via combination of liposuction and lipofilling.

The combinative dual effect of both the liposuction (contouring of the donor site) and the lipofilling (contouring of the treatment site) enables a highly impactful body contouring action.

In the matter of just an hour or so, a stubborn legacy contour can be transformed into an entirely new and modified silhouette.

Who Is Suitable?

Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure, if all of the following are true of them:

  • You are in good psychological and physical medical health
  • You are at your ideal body weight
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of what can be achieved via surgery
  • You are seeking to improve the contours of your body via a combination of both liposuction and volume enhancement 
  • You are seeking to rejuvenate the appearance of your overlying skin 
  • You are looking for longer lasting results that can be achieved by dermal filler 
  • You are looking for a more natural looking breast augmentation, using fat either as an alternative or adjunct to the traditional implant technique


The Process

The first step for all of our fat transfer patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.

Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.

One of the key considerations at consultation for fat grafting involves making an assessment of the volume of fat required—approximately twice the volume of fat needed for injection needs to be harvested as the volume is reduced by half during preparation.

Donor sites (where the fat is taken from) will also be assessed and agreed on with you. This may involve taking fat from more than one area; typical donor areas for fat grafting are the flanks, abdomen, lateral thighs ('saddle bags') and inner thighs, but fat can be taken from anywhere with excessive deposits.

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure.

Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

  • In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
  • In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
  • In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

We advise all of our fat grafting patients that smoking is a particular contra-indication to this procedure (even more than with other surgical procedures) as fat viability is materially reduced after transfer in smokers, and the effectiveness of the procedure is significantly reduced.

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

The procedure itself takes place under general anaesthetic over the course of one to two hours. Depending on how much volume is being transferred, this procedure may take place under general or local anaesthetic. The fat is first removed via liposuction, then prepared via a centrifuge in order to separate the fat from blood and other oily fluids, and then re-injected to the treatment site with a needle and syringe. The injections are given through tiny holes in the skin, so stitches are not usually needed. If a large area is being treated, your may require 2 or more sessions.

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

Why come to The Cadogan Clinic for your Fat Transfer to Body?

The Cadogan Clinic is the leading centre of excellence in the UK for fat transfer and fat grafting techniques.

Each year we host a leading global faculty of the top global practitioners in this cutting edge field at the Royal Society of Medicine in London to discuss and debate the latest innovations in the fat transfer sector.

Our fat grafting conference runs over two days of lectures, talks and roundtables, and represents the largest conference of its kind in the UK with 150 leading specialist delegates from 25 countries including the USA, Belgium, France and Israel.

What are the side effects and risks?

Fat grafting is a safe procedure, but it is common after a surgical fat transfer to experience:

As with all surgical procedures, fat grafting carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:

Your surgeon will discuss these risks comprehensively at your consultation and explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated.

What Can I Expect From My Surgery?

Our Surgical Patient Advisor, Ellie, answers our patients most frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

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