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Fat Grafting

What is fat grafting?

The transfer of fat from unwanted problem areas to volume depleted zones of the face, breast, as part of breast reconstruction following cancer surgery, or scars, is an exciting and powerful technique that Dr. Alan Chen is proud to offer. Fat grafting is particularly effective for reversal of age associated volume loss of the face and for correction of irregularities that presents following breast reconstruction.

Fat grafting technique involves liposuction of fat from an area of excess, processing of the fat, and injection of the fat into the volume depleted zone. Not all of the fat transferred will survive and the rate of ‘fat graft take’ is dependent on several factors. The location of transfer, method for processing fat, and blood supply all affect the fat graft take. Due to this variable amount of fat graft take patients frequently require more than one session of grafting to attain their desired result. The fat that does survive, will provide a permanent solution for the patient’s cosmetic or reconstructive needs.


Fat grafting requires very small ‘stab’ incisions in both the area of fat removal, via liposuction, and fat transfer sites.


This surgical procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, in our Joint Commission certified operating suite. Surgery lasts on average of 1-2
hours, and then patients are discharged home that same day. Patients who undergo fat grafting will follow up in our office 1-3 days post operatively.

Things to know:

  • You may begin showering in 48 hours after surgery. When showering, wash all areas with soap and water, and pat dry with a towel. It is
    important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, etc.).
  • Sutures will be absorbable. Follow up appointments will typically be scheduled in weekly and then two-week intervals. You may begin scar massage and use of scar creams approximately 3 weeks after surgery.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

No submerging incision sites (i.e swimming for a minimum of 3 weeks), no sweat producing exercise for a minimum of 3 weeks, light activity for 2-3 weeks, and some patients are required to wear a compression garment depending on the volume of fat removed.

Our Response to COVID-19

At Alan Chen Surgical Associates we are trying our very best to keep all our patients and staff members safe and healthy during these uncertain times. While we remain open to care for our post-surgical and emergent patients we are going to place limits and guidelines on those entering our office. Based on CDC guidelines, and recommendations, here are our current changes:

  1. We are only going to be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  2. Only the patient being seen by one of our providers will be allowed in the clinic. We ask all family members to remain home or in their vehicle if they do accompany the patient to our office. If the patient is a minor, only one parent will be allowed to come into the clinic with the child.

  3. When you arrive to our office, please stay in your vehicle. Call our office at 815-729-9527 to alert the office staff you have arrived. We will call you once the provider is ready to see you for your appointment. Again, only the patient will then come into the office. All other persons remain in your vehicle.

  4. Prior to being seen in our office we have put a screening process in place. If you do not pass the screening process, you will be asked to reschedule your appointment. If you have any cold/flu symptoms, have recently traveled, or have a known exposure we ask that you please inform us and reschedule your appointment. If necessary, one of our providers would be happy to discuss any concerns you have over the phone!

Thank you for understanding our new policies. We are trying to limit the number of patients in our office at one time. This is to keep our patients, staff, and community safe and healthy during these times. Please help us try to flatten the curve.

Our Response to COVID-19