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Facial Fat Transfer vs Fillers

Tagged: Facial Treatments

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 22nd June 2021

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 12th February 2024

Facial Fat Transfer vs Fillers

It is a fact of life that comes to us all. The day arrives when we catch a glance of ourselves in the mirror and realise that we’re looking a little bit older than we thought. It could be that we’ve spotted a few wrinkles or a loss of volume. It could be that gravity has done its thing, and we have issues with sagging skin.  

Either way, people seek ways to correct these and have a rejuvenated, younger-looking face. When still not quite at the stage where a facelift is the solution, often the choice is between fat transfer or fillers. 

When looking at fat transfer vs dermal fillers, both of these procedures have their advantages. The best way of knowing which could be the ideal solution for you is to book a consultation with one of our experts. If, before taking that step, you’d like to know more about fat transfer vs fillers, then read on.  

Ageing of the Face

Collagen is the protein that gives our skin its youthful elasticity. Subcutaneous fat, that is fat stored just beneath the skin, gives the face a young, healthy ‘plumpness’. As we age, our collagen levels deplete, causing the skin to wrinkle and sag. We also lose this youthful fat from our face as we get older, which can result in sunken cheeks, making us look older and more tired.  

Although we are all ultimately at the mercy of the ageing process, certain lifestyle choices and environmental factors can help to accelerate this process. These include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, excessive sun exposure, poor sleep and exposure to air pollution. Although it is possible to control some of these factors, by quitting smoking for example, one thing we cannot escape from is our genes. Some people are more prone to sagging skin and wrinkles due to their genetics. 

What is Fat Transfer to the Face?

Before trying to decide between fat transfer or fillers, it is worth having a look at what each procedure actually is. Fat transfer is also known as fat grafting. It involves two procedures rolled into one. The first part of the process sees fat being removed from your body in places where it is unwanted. This is usually from the thighs, buttocks, or belly area. Once the fat has been harvested via micro liposuction, it is then cleansed before being injected into the face.  

Fat transfer injections to the face give results that look natural. It is an effective way of correcting some of the facial issues that we develop while ageing. Some of the areas where face fat transfer has the best results are: 

  • Correcting cheeks that appear sunken 
  • Addressing eyelid bags 
  • Correcting jowls 
  • Adding a generally fuller appearance to the face 

Fat transfer injections aren’t just used to fight back against ageing. Fat Transfer injections can be used at any age, and commonly, it is used to enhance facial features.

What Are Dermal Fillers?

Dermal fillers are an injectable treatment used to address signs of ageing. They are a great option for those who are seeking a fast and effective treatment that avoids the need for surgery. Fillers contain hyaluronic acid. This is a natural substance that is already found within the body. This means that the way fillers work is by taking advantage of what nature has already created.  

Although the effect is not permanent, fillers do provide long-lasting results. These are great, non-surgical options to address the signs of ageing. Some of the most common areas where dermal fillers are used on the face include: 

Dermal fillers are manufactured by many brands. At Cadogan Clinic, we only ever use the very best types of filler for the face area. The brands of fillers used by our specialists are Juvederm, Teoxane and Restylane. 

Fat Transfer vs Fillers - What Are the Benefits?

When trying to achieve the best results and choosing face fat transfer or fillers, the truth is that both procedures are working towards the same goal. However, they do this in different ways and each method has its own benefits.  

When it comes to face fat transfer vs fillers, here’s a look at some of the key benefits and how each procedure varies. 

Facial Fat Transfer Benefits and Differences

  • Natural results: As this procedure uses your own natural body fat, this results in a very natural appearance. 
  • Long-lasting results: Unlike dermal fillers, which will require regular maintenance, fat transfer produces long-lasting results
  • Improved contours: The area of the body where the fat is harvested from is left looking more slim and contoured. This is an additional benefit that you will not get with dermal fillers. 
  • Natural material: As fat is a natural substance and is taken from your own body, it can be safely injected as a fat grafting face treatment without the risk of rejection. 
  • Skin boost: Your skin will enjoy a natural boost due to the use of your natural materials used in fat grafting face treatment. 

Dermal Fillers Benefits and Differences

  • Non-invasive: There are no incisions or anaesthetic involved with dermal fillers. 
  • Minimal downtime: Because this is not a surgical procedure, there is very little, if any, downtime after dermal face filler injections, even if full face filler treatment has been performed on several areas. 
  • Immediate results: Patients will notice a difference immediately after face filler treatment. 

Fat Transfer vs. Dermal Fillers - Are There Any Downsides?

As with all cosmetic procedures, there are pros and cons to consider. A consultation with a specialist is the best way to be fully aware of these. Our team can assist you with making the decision that is best for you, and that aligns with your goals. That being said, here are some of the potential downsides to be aware of: 

Fat Transfer to the Face Downsides

  • Possibility of reabsorption: It is possible for some of the fat that has been transferred to be reabsorbed back into the body following fat injections in the face. This means that further treatments may be required. However, with a skilled surgeon, this is less likely to happen, and this reduces the need for further fat grafting treatments. The Cadogan Clinic is at the forefront of this technique. 
  • Higher costs: The cost of fat transfer vs derma fillers is higher. This is because fat injections into the face are a more complex procedure than fillers that involves liposuction. However, as the results are so long-lasting fat injections often prove the cheaper option in the long term. 
  • Final result takes time: The full benefits of fat transfer injection to the face may not be seen for a few weeks due to the amount of swelling. However, there are still visible results that can be seen almost instantly. 

Dermal Filler Downsides

  • Not long-term results: The results are not as long-lasting as fat transfer. Your body will gradually absorb the fillers. This could take between 6 months and 2 years. 
  • More expensive in the long term: Although cheaper at the outset, long-term fillers may prove more expensive than fat transfer due to repeated treatments. 
  • Higher risk of infection: Fillers are proven to be safe, but as the procedure involves a foreign substance entering your body, it is possible, although highly unlikely, that you could have a reaction.  

Conclusion: Should I Choose Fat Transfer or Fillers?

Choosing fat transfer or fillers depends entirely upon the results that you are looking to achieve. Fat transfer injections to the face are a great option when it comes to adding to the fullness of the face permanently. Fat transfer injections to the face are also a great solution to adding to the volume around the jawline, eyes, and cheeks. Fillers can add to the volume of your face, but their key benefit is in targeting deep wrinkles and their minimal downtime. 

Whether to choose Fat transfer or dermal fillers is often a choice that is difficult to make on your own and without professional advice. In many cases, a combination of the two can actually provide the best results. We would definitely encourage you to speak to one of our specialists at a private consultation to assess which would be best for you and your desired outcome. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Fat Transfer and Dermal Fillers both offer benefits in facial rejuvenation. Fat Transfer provides a permanent solution, integrating with natural tissue as well as avoiding migration concerns which can occur with Dermal Fillers. However, patients seeking flexibility may prefer Dermal Fillers, allowing for regular adjustments to their appearance. In my many years of experience, I have seen the importance of providing patients with tailored solutions, considering the desired results and lifestyle for each patient resulting in confidence and satisfaction.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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