Do I have enough fat for transfer to the hips and buttocks?

Do I have enough fat for transfer to the hips and buttocks?

14th Nov 2020


Nowadays people are more and more interested in undergoing plastic surgery procedures that deliver impressive results, 100% natural, and with minimal risks. After reading this description, some might think we are not even talking about plastic surgery, but the reality is that we do. While implants are gaining more and more popularity each year, we also have fat transfer procedures that have seen an increase in demand too. 

However, when it comes to fat transfer, it is very important to understand that not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. There is one crucial condition that needs to be met for the patient to be deemed as eligible, and it is about having enough fat in other areas of the body to get good results with the transfer. There are different types of fat transfer procedures that can be performed, sometimes even in combination, and in this article we will address a common concern of patients interested in undergoing this kind of procedure: Do I have enough fat for transfer to the hips and buttocks?

Fat transfer to the hips

Despite what some people believe, fat transfer to the hips is a procedure performed rather frequently nowadays. Many patients coming to our practice ask why this procedure would be necessary when they hear the recommendation for the first time. They think they have enough fat and would actually want to reduce the thickness of adipose layer in the area, not add to it. 

But this is a common misconception about fat transfer. What actually happens is that the plastic surgeon will do a redistribution of fat. In other words, we take fat from the flanks and the abdominal wall, process it, and reinject it into the hips. In some cases, the only thing that happens is for the fat to be transferred ten to twenty centimeters lower on the side of the body. But the results can be mind-blowing. Fat transfer to the hips is performed to change the square shape of the body to an hourglass body shape. This result would have been impossible to achieve a few decades ago, but now it can be rather easy to do for a plastic surgeon with plenty of experience and talent. 

To be eligible to undergo fat transfer to the hips, patients don’t need too much fat. This usually means that unless there aren’t any medical contraindications to the procedure, most patients who want it can undergo it. 

Keep in mind that there is a limited amount of fat that can be injected into the hips to create more volume in the area. Injecting too much fat in an area with not enough tissue can result in granulomas and the death of the fat cells grafted. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the hips will be much wider immediately after the surgery compared to a few months down the line. This is normal and natural, and your plastic surgeon should discuss this aspect of the procedure with the patient even before scheduling the procedure. Some patients are disappointed to lose a certain percentage of the body fat injected (usually up to 30 or 40%) because the fat transferred is reabsorbed by the body during the first two months post-op. This is the reason why it is not uncommon to undergo multiple procedures for fat injection on the hips. 

Fat transfer to the buttocks

Unlike fat transfer to the hips, fat transfer to the buttocks doesn’t have the main purpose of helping the patient achieve the hourglass body shape. Fat transfer to the buttocks is performed to enhance the rear end of the patient and give it more volume while also creating a lifting effect, independent of the shape of the body. In other words, the results to be expected are more associated with the size and shape of the buttocks and less with the body shape of the patient. 

However, because the patient will get rid of fat from the donor areas, this means that there will be an improvement in the contour of the body too. Generally speaking, the donor areas are either the flanks and the abdominal wall or the lower back and the thighs, depending on the patient’s anatomy and specific characteristics. The aim of liposuction is to provide a sufficient amount of fat for the transfer, and this is the reason why the plastic surgeon’s main concern will be to target areas more likely to deliver this, instead of areas that might be smaller but still affected by an excess of adipose tissue. 

Fat transfer to the buttocks requires much more fat to deliver spectacular results compared to fat transfer to the hips. To give you an idea about what to expect in terms of the quantities of fat handled during one of these procedures, the plastic surgeon can collect up to six or seven liters of fat from the donor areas if there is enough fat present there. After the fat is collected, it will go through a complex centrifugation process that aims to eliminate the blood and impurities that were mixed with the fat cells during liposuction. 

When this process is performed, we can lose another 30% of the fat transfer, and this is the case if the procedure was performed to the highest possible standards. Otherwise, the loss of fat can be much more significant. This means that in the best scenario possible we have a maximum of 1 liter of fat to be injected into each buttock. However, if the tissue on the buttocks is small, the plastic surgeon might be forced to use much less fat. Injecting too much fat in one area of the buttocks can lead to the death of the fat cells grafted, so there is no point in doing this. The injections will be small amounts of fat in different areas of the body and at different depths. This is why only an experienced, talented board-certified plastic surgeon can achieve spectacular results with fat transfer to the buttocks. 

Combining fat transfer to the hips and buttocks

A popular choice nowadays is to combine fat transfer to the hips with fat transfer to the buttocks. The procedures aim to fulfill different aesthetic goals, and this is why they could complement each other. Fat transfer to the hips is performed to help the patient get wider hips and a narrow waist to define an hourglass body shape, while fat transfer to the buttocks is performed to make the butt perkier and give it more volume. When the two procedures are performed, the results can be superior and the change in the outlook of the patient more dramatic. 

Among the benefits of undergoing combined procedures is the reduced costs and also only having to undergo the recovery period once, instead of multiple times. Keep in mind that to be able to undergo combined procedures you need to have a considerable amount of fat in areas that can be targeted with liposuction.

Fat transfer to the hips and fat transfer to the buttocks can also be combined with butt implant surgery. 


Even if you think you have enough fat for a transfer to the hips and buttocks, it is only during the pre-operative consultation that you will know for sure if you can undergo the procedure or not. If you are interested in undergoing just fat transfer to the hips, chances are you are a good candidate even if you don’t have an excessive amount of fat. 

However, when it comes to fat transfer to the buttocks or undergoing combined procedures, you will need to have quite some fat in the donor areas to be eligible for the procedure. The plastic surgeon will perform a medical examination on your body and exact measurements of your weight, height, and buttock tissue and recommend the most suitable surgical plan for your particular case. For some patients, if there is not enough fat to undergo fat transfer to the hips and buttocks, the plastic surgeon might recommend getting butt implants and combining the procedures to achieve superior results.

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