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 loss of fatunder 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 sings 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 injectible fillers used today are Voluma, Juvaderm, Restylane, and Radiesse.

Juvederm and Restylane are used mainly in the lips and lower eyelid/cheek areas where small volumes 1 to 2 (1 to 2 cc’s) syringes of filler may be used. They are hyaluronic acid (HA) gels and 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 very small cannula.  The procedure takes roughly 30 minutes with minimal pain during the treatment and no pain following the injection.  You can expect either little to minimal swelling and bruising. Your results are immediate making your face appear more rested and energized. These products usually last 6 months ore more once injected.

Voluma is an incredible filler that is very similar to Juvaderm but is used to address the loss of mid facial volume.  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 jaw line to help reverse the signs of aging due to volume loss. The cost of Voluma is slightly more expensive than other fillers, but it is worth the added 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 currently recommend injecting two syringes on your first visit and then provide a touch up six to twelve months later with 1 syringe.  This filler is also reversible with an injectable medication.

Radiesse is a filler that is also reserved for deeper placement near the facial skeleton. This can be used in the cheeks, chin and jawline, to fill in lost volume. It is not a gel, but more of a paste that allows visible results typically 10-14 months after injection.  However, it is not reversible and at times may feel bumpy or cause small lumps or nodules close to the skin.  Although this remains a great filler, Voluma creates a more 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 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 because the entire face can be injected. The brows, forehead, temples cheeks, chin and entire peri-oral area may be treated. Fat transfer is often performed in conjunction with a facelift to achieve a natural result without a pulled look. It also improves the 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 longer lasting (2+ years) and often semi permanent after the initial swelling goes down. A fat transfer is often what a person needs if they have already had a facelift or are concerned about their aging face, but not ready or wanting to proceed with a facelift.

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

Please call 972-566-4900 for your complimentary cosmetic consultation.