Fat Transfer vs Fillers. What Is the One Best for You?

One of the first signs of aging is loss of facial volume. There is a loss of fat under the eyes, around the mouth, and in the cheeks.  This volume loss starts in our early to mid-thirties, mostly evident by a shallow hollowness under the eye, and early signs of dark circles around the eyes.  It progresses with brow and cheek drooping, and wrinkles around the mouth.

Today, these signs of aging and volume loss can be corrected with the use of a dermal filler or the injection of your own abdominal fat to the areas of the face where fat has dissolved.  The primary injectable fillers used today are Voluma, Juvéderm, Restylane, and Radiesse.

Juvéderm and Restylane are used mainly in the lips and lower eyelid/cheek areas where small-volume (1 to 2 cc’s) syringes of filler may be used. They are hyaluronic acid (HA) gels and are best used for superficial wrinkles, volumizing the lips, and filling in the depression under the eyes. After adequately numbing the face with painless measures, the filler is injected through a very small cannula.  The procedure takes roughly 30 minutes with minimal pain during the treatment and no pain following the injections.  You can expect minimal swelling and bruising. Your results are immediate, making your face appear more rested and refreshed. These products usually last 6 months or more once injected.

Voluma is an incredible filler that is very similar to Juvéderm but is used to address the loss of volume in the mid-face.  One of the most noticeable changes is the loss of cheekbone definition. Historically, this was addressed with surgery to tighten the overlying skin and lift the deeper soft tissues. More recently, volumizing fillers have been used to provide a similar ‘lift’ without surgery.  Voluma is the first filler formulated with lidocaine that is FDA approved to restore age-related volume changes in the cheeks, temples, chin, and jawline. The cost of Voluma is slightly more expensive than other fillers, but it is worth the additional cost when comparing the duration of Voluma to other fillers.  The results are immediate and can last up to 2 years. The duration of filler correction depends on the facial area treated, the injection technique, and the rate that the patient’s tissues break down the filler.  In our practice, we recommend injecting two syringes on your first visit and then touching up the areas six to twelve months later with an additional syringe.  This filler is also dissolvable with an injectable medication. Voluma creates a natural, longer-lasting result with a similar ability to volumize or fill the face without visible or palpable irregularities or bumps. 

Fat transfer to the face is a single-visit, full-face rejuvenation for a price that is significantly less than using an equal amount of volume from filler.  Fat transfer is longer lasting than fillers (2+ years) and often semi-permanent after the initial swelling goes down.  This procedure requires an in-office IV sedation, where the fat is carefully harvested via liposuction and injected back into the face. Fat transfer is used for volume replacement, not to treat fine lines. Much larger volumes (20-60 cc’s) are used so the entire face can be injected. The brows, forehead, temples cheeks, chin and the entire peri-oral area may be treated with a fat transfer. Fat transfer is often performed in conjunction with a facelift to achieve a natural result without having a “pulled” look. It also improves the overall skin tone and texture.

Fat transfer is a surgical procedure and has a recovery period with bruising and swelling that typically last 1 week.  The pain, similar to filler, is minimal. A fat transfer is often what a patient needs if they are concerned about their aging face, have already had a facelift in the past, and are not ready to proceed with a facelift.

Which is best for you?  This will largely depend upon your aesthetic goals.  Our focus is to perform a full-facial analysis, prioritize your needs, and keep the overall cost within reason for each patient.

Please call (972) 914-3660 for your cosmetic consultation.

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