While doing some research on cosmetic surgery, I discovered that there are several ways of doing breast enhancements, one of which was using body fat. While I haven't researched this method, I assume they transfer the patients body fat from one part of the body to another.

Would the body use this transferred fat for as energy, or would it ignore it as it wasn't stored there in the first place? Does the body differentiate fat cells stored in different parts of the body?

  • $\begingroup$ It is hard to answer the question whether after transplantation the breast size will reduce or not. I think it will, but without experiments this is just a hypothesis... $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Oct 22, 2014 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


Would the body use this transferred fat for as energy, or would it ignore it as it wasn't stored there in the first place?

It would use it as energy source, there is no such thing as "ignored tissue". Fatty acid mobilization is regulated by epinephrine and insulin. These are hormones which are ofc. carried by blood, so every white adipose (fat) tissue is affected by them.

fatty acid mobilization

Does the body differentiate fat cells stored in different parts of the body?

This is obvious, just check breasts and butts of girls. ;-) (Those are subcutaneous fat depos. They size is probably regulated by estrogen.)

There are other things involved here, we can talk about subcutaneous (fat below the skin), intramuscular (fat in the muscles) and visceral (abdominal fat) white adipose tissue (there are white, brown and beige adipose tissues). The visceral fat is associated with metabolic diseases, obesity etc...

The regulation of body fat distribution and amount is complicated and regulated differently by subcutaneous, intramuscular and visceral fat.

The total transmissible variance ranged from about 40 percent for the amount of subcutaneous fat to 60 percent for the pattern of subcutaneous fat distribution. Biological inheritance accounted for only 5 percent of the variance for subcutaneous fat and the body mass index, but 20 to 30 percent for the percentage of body fat, fat mass, fat-free mass, and fat distribution. These data suggest that the amount of internal fat is influenced by heredity more than the amount of subcutaneous fat. Furthermore, we consistently found that nongenetic influences are quite important in determining the amount and distribution of body fat in the population.

These data suggest that adiponectin concentrations are determined by intra-abdominal fat mass, with additional independent effects of age and sex. Adiponectin could link intra-abdominal fat with insulin resistance and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile.

The FFA storage pathway, which had remained undetected in postabsorptive humans until recently, can have considerable, long-term, and sex-specific effects on body fat distribution. It can also offer a way of protecting the body from excessive circulating FFA in obesity.

Different colors (white, brows, beige) and orgin (subcutaneous, intramuscular, visceral) originate from different progenitor cells.

These results reveal a major ontogenetic difference between visceral and subcutaneous WAT, and pinpoint the lateral plate mesoderm as a major source of visceral WAT. They also support the notion that visceral WAT progenitors are heterogeneous, and suggest that mesothelium is a source of adipocytes.

Brown and white adipocytes have been shown to derive from different progenitors. In this study we sought to clarify the molecular differences between human brown and white adipocyte progenitors cells.

The regulation of fat distribution is under research, and not fully understood yet.

Fat distribution differs in men and women, but in both sexes, a predominantly gluteal-femoral compared with abdominal (central) fat distribution is associated with lower metabolic risk. Differences in cellular characteristics and metabolic functions of these depots have been described, but the molecular mechanisms involved are not understood.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It would be great if you used some references to support your response! As it stands this is more like a comment! $\endgroup$ Oct 20, 2014 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Bez Okay, I'll edit soon. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Oct 21, 2014 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Very complete answer. $\endgroup$
    – pbond
    Oct 22, 2014 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ @pbond Not really, they needed some references, so I gave them. $\endgroup$
    – inf3rno
    Oct 22, 2014 at 2:04

You are correct - we suction out subcutaneous fat (fat in-between the skin and muscle layers) which is commonly referred to as "liposuction". Then we make a "slurry" type of solution with the fat and saline-like solution. Then using long needles we inject this 'transplanted' fat into another area. Many times if a woman has a breast reconstructive procedure and needs some contouring done around an implant (i.e. to smooth the surface under the skin where the breast implant and surrounding tissue meet) this can be done. Not all the transplanted fat will grow enough blood vessels in this new area and some of the fat tissue will die. This dying process is called "necrosis" and the body will reabsorb the dead cells and their contents. It works very well overall.

  • $\begingroup$ This was informative. Can you also add a note on OP's this question: "Does the body differentiate fat cells stored in different parts of the body?" $\endgroup$
    Jun 19, 2015 at 6:02

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