Both fat grafting and injectable dermal fillers can address age-related volume-loss throughout the face and body. Men and women can instantly achieve better contours that make them look and feel more youthful. Although fat and fillers provide similar results in many instances, they’re vastly different techniques that are highly-individualized.
So, which gives better results? Well, that depends on what you’d like to accomplish. In fact, I often use them in a complementary manner for patients who want a full facial rejuvenation but aren’t quite ready for a surgical procedure.
Fat grafting, or fat transfer, is a more involved procedure that requires a skilled surgeon. The minimally-invasive procedure removes your fat (it has to be yours – no “friend” donations!) from the abdomen, thighs, or anywhere excess fatty tissue can be found. The fat is then purified and placed in a more aesthetically pleasing location. The process can take much longer than a quick injectable filler. I only do fat grafting in the operating room (anesthesia may or may not be required). I frequently do fat grafting with other procedures, such as a facelift, and so many times the patient is already in the OR. And, if you’re having liposuction to remove fat, it’s a good time to put the removed fat to use!
What about results? Patients will see noticeable results immediately after their appointment with both treatments. Generally, there is more swelling with fat grafting because, in general, substantially more fat is placed than fillers, and more areas are treated. For larger volumes, fat is much more natural – it is living and moves and feels like living tissue. Large volumes of filler can give the face a stiff look, and move as a block when the patient smiles. This is sometimes referred to as “Pillow Face”. Fillers are much better for small areas, fine wrinkles, and touch-ups – as well as being much less expensive. However, fat grafting is considered a ‘lifetime’ procedure because fat cells that make it through the injection process remain intact for good. Dermal fillers on the other hand, can last anywhere from several months up to 1-2 years, and then have to be replaced. The cost for fillers is ongoing.
Fat grafting can be safer for some patients. Because we’re using autologous fat (fat from your own body), we’re reducing the chance of a possible allergic reaction to a foreign substance.
So – both fat and fillers are excellent techniques to deal with volume or wrinkle issues. They each have positive and negative aspects. One is not “better” than the other – they both have their place. A doctor that offers both can give you an honest discussion of the options. Doctors or nurses that only offer fillers may be anti-fat simply because they can’t offer fat grafting and they’ll “sell” what they have.
I offer and believe in both – I’ll work with you to determine which is better for a given issue, and many of my patients receive both from me.
What’s Right for You?
At your initial consultation, I’ll explain all of your anti-aging options in-depth. Fat grafting can be done on its own or paired with other procedures for even more dramatic results. Together, we’ll create a treatment plan that’s appropriate for your individual needs.
Take the Step Next
Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 943-0749. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!