Expert Doctor

Fat Grafting With Concentrated Stem Cells

Russell Sassani, MD

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fat Grafting With Concentrated Stem Cells

Fat Grafting, with concentrated stem cells is the process of adding volume to areas of the body, particularly the face, with high amounts of stem cells to help repair cellular damage and rejuvenate the skin. This procedure is often referred to as stem cell enhanced fat grafting. Fat grafting with stem cells harvests fat from one area of the patient’s body and then processes the fat. The processed and enriched fat is then meticulously reinjected into the lacking area. Fat grafting with concentrated stem cells plumps up the skin, improves texture and also decreases wrinkles, fine lines and pore size.

Am I a Good Candidate for Fat Grafting with Concentrated Stem Cells?

A GOOD CANDIDATE for fat grafting with concentrated stem cells includes:

  • Any male or female patient who has lost volume anywhere on the body (usually due to aging)
  • Patients with sunken areas on the face such as the cheeks, temples and under the eyes
  • A patient with enough fat on another portion of the body for harvesting
  • Patients who are looking for a non-invasive means of facial rejuvenation
  • A female patient who wishes to use fat grafting to enhance her breasts
  • Those who wish to add volume to shape the buttocks
  • Patients who want a more permanent solution than fillers

The following patients are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for fat grafting with concentrated stem cells:

  • Patients who are thin and do not have enough fat to transfer
  • Patients with diabetes or those who have circulatory issues
  • Patients with sagging breasts or poor skin tone are not ideal for breast augmentation with fat grafting

How is Fat Grafting with Concentrated Stem Cells Performed?

Stem cell enriched fat grafting is usually an outpatient procedure which can be performed under general anesthetic or local anesthetic with sedation. The procedure time varies depending on how much fat is being removed and the area it is being transferred to. During the procedure, the surgeon injects a large amount of tumescent fluid into the donor area. The donor area can be just about any area of the body but the lower abdomen and inner thighs are usually a good source of fat and have a higher concentration of stem cells. The tumescent fluid will help to break down the fat for easier removal via liposuction.

Small incisions will be made and a cannula will be inserted to suction out the fat. The fat is placed in a centrifuge to separate the fat from the fluids and then the fat is purified. As the harvested fat is spun down, it is placed in 10-cc syringes. The first 2-ccs of fat, from the 10-cc syringes, is the larger and heavier cells and also the highest concentration of stem cells. These first 2-ccs are injected in the most critical areas around the eyes or where discoloration in the skin occurs. The doctor injects the fat by making multiple passes with fine catheters while using a microdroplet technique. This allows the fat to be placed in a natural way without causing lumps, bumps or unevenness.

The stem cells within the harvested fat will encourage the growth of new blood vessels to nourish the transplanted fat. They may also stimulate the production of new fat cells. When larger volumes are being transferred in areas such as the breasts or buttocks, the stem cells still make an impact. However, they are not as concentrated as they would be in small volume transfers of the facial region.

What is the Cost of Fat Grafting with Concentrated Stem Cells?

The cost of fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can range from $3000 to $15,000. The cost depends on the number of areas being treated and how much fat is being transferred. This cost can also vary due to the area of the country where it is performed as well as fees charged by the surgeon and the facility.

Recovery and Downtime   

RECOVERY after fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can take between 3 to 10 days. The length of time depends on the age of the patient and any health factors. Patients that are only having fat grafting on the face have less recovery time than someone having the breasts or buttocks augmented. Patients can expect some mild redness and swelling of the skin in the recipient area that will resolve after 8 to 10 days. At this point, patients can wear makeup to cover any residual discoloration. Cold compresses can be used for discomfort and swelling. They cannot wear an ice pack since this degree of coldness can damage the newly injected fat cells.

Patients are encouraged to sleep at an elevated level for the first few weeks of DOWNTIME to minimize facial swelling. For fat grafting of the buttocks, patients will not be permitted to sit directly on the buttocks for the first 3 weeks since pressure can cause the newly grafted fat to shift and/or not survive. The donor area may take longer to heal since several small incisions may be made and liposuction can cause the area to be red, swollen, bruised and sore for several weeks. The incisions are usually too small to need sutures but surgical bandages will be placed over the wound.

A compression garment will be placed around the treatment area to minimize the swelling and help shrink the skin. This garment will be worn for 24 hours a day for several weeks. Small drainage tubes may be placed just under the skin at the liposuction wounds. These drainage tubes allow excess fluid and blood to drain from the site and keep it from accumulating under the skin. The tubes are usually removed within the first week after surgery. Patients should limit their activities for the first 4 weeks. Running, jogging and heavy lifting can cause further swelling and bruising and should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks.


Results from fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can be seen after approximately 10 days when most of the swelling and bruising has subsided. While a portion of the fat will not survive the transfer, approximately 60%-70% will provide long term results. The percentage of fat that does not survive the transfer will be naturally absorbed by the body and excreted within 6 weeks. Over the first few months, improvements will continue as the stem cells continue to repair the tissue and skin. The effects of the surgery will stabilize around 6-8 months, but the quality and texture of the skin will continue to improve for up to 12 months. The final results can be seen after a year. To maintain the results, patients should maintain a stable weight since weight fluctuations can impact the results of fat grafting. Over time, the effects of fat grafting will diminish as volume is lost with the natural aging process.

Limitations of Fat Grafting with Concentrated Stem Cells

The limitations of fat grafting with concentrated stem cells include:

  • A significant amount of post-op swelling, especially to the thinner areas of skin such as the eyes and lips, will limit people from work and social activities
  • When combined with a facelift, the fat graft is limited to the central part of the face
  • The transferred fat must be placed within healthy tissue for the fat to survive
  • The amount of fat that will survive the process
  • The patient must have enough fat elsewhere on the body to be removed via liposuction
  • The amount of fat that can be removed at one time

Risks of Fat Grafting with Concentrated Stem Cells

The risks involved with fat grafting with concentrated stem cells include:

  • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Seroma
  • Asymmetry
  • Skin necrosis
  • Fat necrosis
  • Irregular contours
  • Poor wound healing
  • Scarring
  • Unsatisfactory results

The Results of Stem Cells

Fat grafting can be done with or without concentrated stem cells. However, the high level of stem cells has a better survival rate since these cells have powerful growth factors which enhance tissue healing and promote the growth of new blood vessels. Furthermore, stem cells are considered “undifferentiated cells” capable of becoming a different type of cell. When placed next to the skin, stem cells regenerate tissue and skin. If they are put into fatty tissue, such as the buttocks or breasts, they become fat cells. Fat grafting with concentrated stem cells can add volume where it is needed and the stem cells can provide skin rejuvenation for years.

Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - SP

Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Russell Sassani in Fort Lauderdale, FL