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Which is Best: Facial Fat Grafting or Facial Filler?

Your self-confidence has a tremendous effect on your productivity at work, your personal relationships, and your daily experiences. If sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, facial volume loss, and other signs of aging are causing you to lose confidence in your appearance, there’s never been a better time to set your sights on achieving a look of timeless, ageless beauty. Whether you prefer surgical or non-surgical anti-aging procedures, today’s cosmetic technologies enable you to request a customized anti-aging treatment that suits your preferences and integrates easily into your lifestyle. 

If you’re just getting started on your research into the best cosmetic procedures for you, it’s usually best to start by comparing two at a time so you can begin to determine your priorities.  

Fat grafting (also called fat transfer) and facial fillers (also called dermal fillers) are two popular procedures that can eliminate multiple signs of aging and restore youthful facial contours.  When comparing fat grafting and dermal fillers, you can weigh out some of the factors involved. For example, which would you prioritize: quick results or permanent results? A tight, smooth appearance or a softer, more natural feel? Consider your answers to these questions as you read on for more information about which is best: fat grafting or facial filler? 


Fat grafting: an overview

Fat grafting, or fat transfer, involves the removal of fat from one part of the body for injection into another part of the body. Liposuction is used to harvest fat from the hips, thighs, abdomen, or another pocket of excess fat. The fat is then purified and injected into the face to treat sagging skin, wrinkles, volume loss, or to enhance the facial contours. The benefits of facial fat transfer include:

  • Bioidentical material easily integrates into the treatment area
  • No artificial substances 
  • Provides a natural, organic feel 
  • Area of fat harvest receives some contouring as well
  • Long-term, semi-permanent results
  • Stem cells in the transferred fat may improve skin in the treatment area
  • Lower long-term cost than fillers

Facial fat grafting can be used to add volume to sunken cheeks, correct eyelid bags, plump up thin or thinning lips, or contour the jawline. 


Dermal fillers: an overview overview

Dermal fillers are injectable formulas designed to diminish lines and wrinkles, add volume, and provide a more refreshed and youthful appearance. Juvederm, Restylane, and other formulas contain active ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, poly-L lactic acid, and calcium hydroxylapatite, that are either naturally derived or synthetic and designed to fight the signs of aging. The process for dermal filler injection treatment is quick and easy, because no liposuction is required. The recovery time is shorter as well. 

  • Quick treatment 
  • Minimally invasive
  • No downtime needed
  • Lower initial cost than fat transfer
  • Won’t change with weight fluctuations
  • Results up to 2 years (depending on the formula)

Dermal fillers can be used to minimize the appearance of crow’s feet, smile lines, frown lines, forehead lines, and under-eye bags. They’re also used to replace lost volume or to augment the cheeks or lips. 


Facial fat grafting vs dermal fillers

Facial fat grafting and dermal fillers are both wonderful options for refining facial contours and restoring a youthful appearance, but they are very different. Choosing the best option for you will depend on your priorities and aesthetic goals. You’ll want to consider:

  • Your overall aesthetic goals 

If you’re looking for a softer, more natural feel, fat grafting may be the best choice. But if you want a smoother, tighter look, dermal fillers could be a better fit. 

  • Time 

The fat transfer procedure involves a longer recovery time but doesn’t require repeat visits. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, require little to no recovery time, so you can get back to your daily activities right away.  They do, however, require regular maintenance visits. 

  • Permanence vs impermanence

If you’re just getting started with cosmetic treatments, it’s usually a good idea to start slowly.  Dermal fillers are a great way to “try on” changes to your appearance without making the full commitment right away. Of course, the results will differ from one procedure to the next, but the fillers can at least give you a hint of how the change will affect your appearance and get you accustomed to the idea of change before you make it permanent.  

  • Quick results vs long-lasting results

It takes months to see the full results from a fat transfer procedure because the fat cells need time to establish roots in the treatment area. As long as you avoid weight fluctuations, however, the final results will last for years. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, provide temporary results that typically last 6-18 months, depending on the formula. But the results are quick and usually settle within a couple of weeks, so facial fillers are a good option if you have a special event or occasion on the immediate horizon. They also won’t be affected by weight loss or weight gain. 


Both fat grafting and facial fillers can help rejuvenate your appearance and boost your confidence. But whichever one you choose, the quality of your results will depend on the skill, expertise, and artistry of your practitioner. 


You deserve to look and feel your best, and Dr. Laverson can help

Dr. Steve Laverson is one of the most highly regarded plastic surgeons in Southern California. He is known for his broad and deep knowledge of human anatomy, his superior technical skills, and his excellent aesthetic sense. Whether you’re considering surgical or non-surgical anti-aging cosmetic procedures or you want to enhance your feminine curves with breast augmentation, liposuction, or a tummy tuck, you can count on Dr. Laverson’s deep compassion and commitment to exquisite results. Dr. Laverson and the rest of our staff are committed to helpin you look and feel beautiful. For more information on fat grafting, facial fillers, or any of our other services, give Feel Beautiful a call at (858) 295-4001 today. 

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