Body Augmentation with Autologous Fat Transfer

Benefits of autologus Fat Transfer

  • Fat grafting can add fat where it is wanted. For example, an increase in breast size. Most of the volume of a woman’s breast is fat tissue. Transferring fat to the breast adds volume while using tissue that is natural for the female breast.

  • Fat grafting can replace fat where fat has been lost. For example, facial fat is lost with ageing. A facial fat transfer restores the lost fat with the tissue that was lost, mostly in the cheeks and the area around the eyes.

  • Fat transfer is a minimally-invasive method for a subtle facelift and facial rejuvenation.

  • The procedure has low risks. The fat is obtained by virtue of Tumescent Liposuction, a very safe medical office-based procedure with short recovery times.

  • The transferred fat is long-lasting. Other popular dermal fillers typically last between 6 and 24 months and patients need to come back for regular top-ups. Fat grafting allows for more long-lasting results.

  • 2in1: The patient can have liposuction and fillers (bigger breasts, lifted buttocks, etc.) ‘in one go’.

  • Fat used for transfer is available in large volumes and at a lower cost. The body’s own fat can be harvested and used in multiple body areas at a lower cost than the cost of other fillers. (For example Facial Fillers are charged at ZAR1’500-3’000 per millilitre.

  • The procedure uses your own tissue, which minimises any chance for adverse or allergic reactions to foreign substances.

  • Implants are not needed. Fat grafting allows for body augmentation without introducing any foreign material into the body.

  • Fat grafting can help treat other conditions like scars, dimples, etc.

  • The transferred fat has other benefits.  We now know fat tissue to contain numerous ‘stem cells’ which can assist with other incidental conditions in the treated area/s such as scars and pigmentation changes.


* Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.

Gone are the days when going under the knife was the only way to increase or change the size of the face, breasts, buttocks, calves, etc. Natural fat transfer, or body augmentation, is growing in popularity as it is a great alternative to implants and gives a natural-looking enhancement! Fat transfer, otherwise known as fat grafting, takes fat from one area of the body, where we do not want the fat or can spare it, and moves it to another area of the body, where we do want it. It is a redistribution of fat with the purpose to augment or fill in volume-deficient areas. As the tissue is coming from the same patient that it is being transferred to, fat transfer is often referred to as “autologous fat transfer”. (Autologous means of cells or tissues obtained from the same individual.) Fat transferred is the ideal filler to add volume where it is desired as it is a safe, long-lasting, and well-tolerated procedure that achieves natural-looking results.*

Why use Fat Transfer for Body Augmentation?

For breast, calves or buttock augmentation, fat transfer is a great alternative to implants. Fat transfer can help in cases where an implant is not necessary or may yield ‘unnatural’ looking results. Fat grafting is also a good alternative for patients who prefer a subtle augmentation rather than a more dramatic increase in enhancement. Plus, fat grafting allows for body augmentation without introducing any foreign material into the body. For facial or hand enhancements, fat transfer is also a great alternative to dermal fillers. Fat transfer can help where dermal fillers may be too costly. Furthermore, fat grafting is a better option if the patient prefers a longer-lasting result rather than having regular top-ups.

Fat Transfer can be used for:

Breast Augmentation


  • Natural Breast Augmentation – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of breasts.

  • Breast reconstruction – Fat transfer after e.g. lumpectomy.

  • Correction of ‘defects’ – Fat transfer to correct uneven breasts and to hide obvious signs of breast implants. For further details on Breast Augmentation, contact us at CapeMAC.





Calf, Hands & Chest Enhancement


  • Calves or Chest Augmentation – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of the muscles on the lower leg or the chest.

  • Rejuvenation of Hands – Fat transfer to fill in sunken tissue. For further details on Calf, Hands and Chest Enhancements, contact us at CapeMAC.





Facial Filling & Sculpting


  • Facial Enhancements (Facial areas that appear creased and sunken) – Fat transfer to fill cheeks, plump lips, fill in lines and wrinkles. For further details on Facial Filling and Sculpting, contact us at CapeMAC.





Buttocks Enhancements


  • Buttock Augmentation (Brazilian Butt Lift) – Fat transfer to increase the size or improve the shape of the buttock. For further details on Buttocks Enhancements, contact us at CapeMAC.

How is the Fat Grafting Procedure done?

​While fat grafting is a 2in1 procedure combining Liposuction and Fillers, it can be explained as a three-stage process: (1) Harvesting of fat: During the first step, (excess) body fat is removed from areas where it is not wanted or can be spared. Typical areas include the abdomen, chest, tights or buttocks. (2) Processing of fat: The harvested fat is then washed and purified as preparation for the actual transfer. The prepared tissue can be further mixed with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to enhance the effects of the transferred tissue. (3) Injection of fat: The harvested fat is carefully injected into the treatment site, an area of the body, where fat is needed to add more volume in order to achieve a desired new shape or to reconstruct a body part where fat has been lost. Typical areas include the breasts, buttock, face, and hands. It may be necessary to repeat the fat grafting procedure a few times to achieve the desired result of the overall treatment.

1) Harvesting of Fat

You and your doctor will decide on which areas are best for fat removal. You are given a sedative to calm you down (depending on your level of anxiety) and then the anaesthetic fluid is slowly infused into the fat layer to be treated. The anaesthetic fluid numbs the areas to be treated and also helps to ‘emulsify’ the fat, thereby ensuring easier removal of the tissue. It also helps to minimise post-operative bruising and bleeding. The Doctor will then create a small incision in the area for fat removal and, using a sterile technique, insert a cannula connected to a syringe to carefully extract fat (liposuction). After the procedure, patients require a relatively short period of observation in a recovery room.

2) Processing of Fat

The processing includes purification and transfer of fat cells. Once enough fat has been obtained from the donor area, the fat is purified. The purification may involve the use of a centrifuge to spin the fat or a filtration device to remove other unwanted tissue from the fat cells. The fat cells are then transferred into small syringes that will later be used for the fat injection. We may mix some prepared PRP with the prepared tissue before the transfer, depending on the area to be treated and the desired outcome.

3) Injection of Fat

After the receiving area has been prepared for the fat injection, the Doctor will insert a specially designed needle or cannula into the incision point of the site being treated. The injection needle is typically passed in and out of the tissue multiple times, carefully depositing a fine line of fatty tissue parcels in the natural tissue planes each time the needle or cannula is withdrawn. This process is repeated until the desired correction has been achieved. The grafted area will then be softly massaged to finalise the desired contour and help achieve a natural-looking result. Depending on the area being treated, the Doctor will place a dressing or bandage over the grafted area.

The procedure is done in a theatre facility. Some degree of conscious sedation may be administered, together with adequate analgesia (pain medications). We will make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible. The total fat grafting procedure commonly takes between 3 and 5 hours to complete– depending on the area being treated with the grafts and the volume of fat that will be removed. You can go home on the same day if all is stable after the fat transfer procedure. Usually, patients are discharged home about 2 hours after completion of the fat transfer.*

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Frequently asked questions

Which areas do women most commonly have Fat Transfer treatment done to

The most frequently treated areas for women are breasts, buttocks, the face and hands.

Which areas do men most commonly have Fat Transfer treatment done to?

The most frequently treated areas for men are the buttocks, calves, chest, face and hands.

Am I a suitable candidate?

Any individual who would like to remove unwanted body fat from one area of their body and use this own body fat to fill another area of their body, thereby achieving a more natural-looking result and avoiding implants can be a good candidate for fat transfer. Of course, you must have donor sites from which excess fat can be taken, and you should be in good general health and have realistic expectations. You are welcome to speak to our Doctor to find out whether fat grafting is the right treatment option for you.

Which areas of my body will be used to take the fat from?

Firstly, it is your own fat tissue that will be used in order to perform fat transfer, augment your buttocks, breasts or calves and to enhance your face or hands. Sites for obtaining fat by virtue of liposuction typically include the abdomen and the waist (love handles), the hips and thighs and sometimes the upper (inner) arms. However, any part of the body with excess fat deposits can be used.

What are the risks associated with fat transfer?

Fat transfer is generally a safe procedure. However, it involves the risks that are typically part of minor surgical procedures – even if minimally invasive. Risks can include an adverse reaction to anaesthesia, infection, scarring, allergic reactions, the embolisation of the transferred tissue, damage to underlying structures or unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures. * Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.

Does the fat transfer require hospital admission?

Since there is no general anaesthetic used and the procedure is minimally invasive, no hospital stay is required and you can be discharged soon after the procedure and if all is well. Almost all patients are up and about within a few hours and can even be back at work within one or two days (depending on the nature of your work and the extent of the procedure).* Your Doctor will advise you further in this regards.

How long does fat grafting take?

The total fat grafting procedure can take between two to five hours to complete – depending on the area being treated with the grafts and the volume of fat that will be removed. Keep in mind that you will need much less fat for fat transfer to enhance your face than to augment your breasts or buttocks.*

How much fat can be transferred?

The maximum amount of body fat that can be removed during one liposuction session amounts to usually between 3 and 4 litres. From these 3-4 litres, about 1-2 litres of transferrable fat are left after the processing. The maximum amount of body fat that can then be used for re-injection into the body during one fat grafting session amounts to usually between 0.5 and 1 litres. For a patient, who wishes to transfer more than the usual amount of fat and/or fat removal to several different areas of the body, our doctor will divide the fat transfer treatment into separate procedures. The recovery time between two procedures will usually be about 4-6 weeks. * Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.

Can I go home on the same day?

We use the Tumescent Technique and conscious sedation for analgesia during the liposuction and the re-injection. No general anaesthetic is used, hence no hospital stay is required. Patients require a relatively short period of observation in a recovery room after the procedure. There is virtually no blood loss and with local anaesthesia, there is rarely any nausea or dizziness. You can go home on the same day if all is stable after the procedure. Usually, patients are discharged home about 2 hours after completion of the fat transfer.
Even though you will be able to move about unassisted, it is essential to have a friend or family member fetch and drive you back home after the treatment. We also strongly recommend that you don’t drive yourself for the first 24 hours after your fat grafting treatment.

When can final results be seen?

Final results are seen between 3 to 6 months after the procedure, once all the healing has settled.

What can I do to help ensure a quick recovery?

On the day of your fat grafting surgery, you will receive detailed instructions from Dr Bagwandeen about your post-procedure care. You can also have a look at our post-procedure information leaflet.

What is the downtime?

The downtime (and recovery time) after fat grafting treatment will depend largely on how many areas are being treated and the overall extent of the procedure. Furthermore, every patient is a bit different with regard to pain tolerance and healing abilities.
Overall, fat grafting is one of the easiest operations to recover from and most patients who undergo a fat grafting procedure to areas other than the face return to work in about 1 or 2 days. Facial fat transfer patients feel more comfortable with taking a week off. At CapeMAC, we usually recommend that our patients take between 3 to 5 days off after fat grafting. During this time we ask patients to rather stay at home and relax. The less active you are, the less swelling or bruising you will experience and the sooner you will recover and see your final result. We do insist that you move about regularly though, so as to prevent any complications after fat grafting such as blood clots from remaining sedentary for prolonged periods of time. If you are pain-free and fully ambulant, then you can always return to work earlier. Keep in mind: Patients who take the full week off end up ahead because they look and feel better sooner.*

What is the recovery time?

It is usual that you will require some pain medication for a period of time after surgery. Most patients take pain medication for the first 1-2 days. You can still be a little sore after a week, or see some bruising for about 1-2 weeks. This might occur especially after a long day at work. There might be some areas of residual tenderness several months after the surgery. This is usually very mild and not too troublesome. The swelling decreases significantly by week 3 but may take 3-6 months to completely resolve.*

When can I embark on air travel?

In most cases you may fly 2 days after the surgery. Just make sure that you will be able to make yourself comfortable on the plane and do walk around every hour while on the plane. Keep in mind though, that Dr Bagwandeen will need you to come in for check-up appointments after the procedure/s.

When can I exercise?

You will be up and about on the day of your fat grafting procedure. The less active you are, the less swelling or bruising you will experience and the sooner you will recover and see your final result. This is why we recommend taking up your exercise routine not earlier than about 4 weeks after fat transfer treatment.
However, on the day after the procedure, take a short easy walk. This promotes blood flow and healing. You might also engage in very mild exercise if you feel up to it in the days after the procedure. Please consult your Doctor for further advice in this regards.

We hope that this helps you understand a little more about Autologus Fat Transfer and assists you in making a better choice for your aesthetic treatments. To find out if Fat Grafting treatment is the right hair removal option for you, please contact us at Cape Medical Aesthetics Centre. Also, if you might still feel anxious about Autologus Fat Transfer, Dr Manoj Bagwandeen will be glad to discuss any queries and questions you may have. You are welcome to visit with us at CapeMAC in Plattekloof, Cape Town for more information and to get further advice on looking and feeling even better.

* Please note individual results may vary. Results are not guaranteed.