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The Surgical Artist's Blog

Q & A: Fat Transfer vs. Fillers

Posted by Carey Nease on Jan 5, 2015 10:30:00 AM

rabeccafillers200Q: I have been hearing a lot about people having fat transferred from other parts of their body to their face. How is this different than something like Restylane or Juvederm, and which one is better?

This is a very good question. As interest in fat transfer (also known as fat grafting) for facial rejuvenation continues to grow, we are frequently asked how it compares to fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra, Radiesse, etc. Both fat transfer and facial fillers are excellent methods of restoring a more youthful, refreshed appearance to your face, but you should be aware of the advantages and limitations of each option.

Fat transfer differs in several important ways from synthetic facial fillers. It is all-natural because it utilizes fat cells created by your own body. It lasts significantly longer than most facial fillers but it is a more invasive procedure because it requires the addition of liposuction to obtain the fat that is injected into your face.

During a fat transfer procedure, your cosmetic or facial plastic surgeon will use a “mini” liposuction procedure to “harvest” fat from another area of your body—for example, the waist, abdomen, or thighs. It is then prepared and injected into specific areas of the face to fill hollowed spots, a common sign of aging. We generally graft fat into the brows, cheeks, tear troughs and lips, as those areas tend to show aging and volume loss the most dramatically. The addition of volume is a great way to improve your appearance and yet look naturally youthful, not pulled or plastic.

Fat transfer can be done under local anesthesia or light I.V. sedation and you will only need a day or two to recover. There is no scarring and rarely any pain or bruising.

Fat transfer is more expensive up front than synthetic facial fillers due to the increased complexity of the procedure. However, it is usually the more affordable option over time because it is so long-lasting.

Facial fillers are very popular because they are non-invasive yet still provide beautiful results. There is no surgical “prep time” needed with facial fillers because no additional procedures are required. Because all fillers are not created equal, Southern Surgical Arts carries a number of options to provide our patients with the best solution for their individual needs.

For example, Juvederm Voluma XC is the only filler that is FDA-approved to restore volume to the cheek area, and results can last up to two years. Radiesse and Sculptra both support your skin’s natural collagen-producing processes over time, with results that can last one to two years. Belotero and Restylane are both excellent choices for plumping up the lips and nasolabial folds and also fine lines around the mouth. We will help you determine which filler, or combination of fillers, will best address the areas you would like to rejuvenate.

If you would like to know whether fat transfer or a synthetic filler would be a better option for you, please call our office at 423-266-3331 to schedule a free consultation with one of our board-certified cosmetic surgeons.

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Topics: Face