Mythbuster Monday: Fillers vs. Fat Injections

Many men and women want to look younger, and facial injections can easily accomplish this. Youthful faces aren’t gaunt, but have volume and definition. Fillers and fat injections are two ways that people can have a well-defined jawline, filled temples, full cheeks, and a horizontal smile (rather than downturned). Between fat injections and fillers, however, fillers have proven to be the best option.


Fillers are the better option for facial injections for many reasons. Primarily, the procedure itself is better for the patient. Because there is only one procedure, there is essentially no downtime after a filler is injected. The needle is much smaller, so there is less pain, as well as minimal bruising and swelling. Also, because fillers are injected slowly and sequentially, asymmetry can be avoided.

The main con to fillers is that they do eventually lose volume over time. However, fat injections lose volume as well. Fillers, on average, need to be injected again after 2-3 years.

There are many different options for fillers, and each have their own benefits and longevity –and your plastic surgeon can help you decide which one fits your needs.

Fat Injections

One option for facial injections is to have a fat transfer procedure, which takes fat from other areas of your body, such as the hip, and transfers it to your face. Many believe that fat injections are great because they bring stem cells to the face, which can promote cell growth and retention.

While this may seem like a natural and efficient way to get a fuller face, there are many cons to the fat injection procedure. Fat transfers require a two-step surgical procedure: one to collect, harvest and purify fat, and another to actually do the injections. Because of this, there is more downtime in the healing process. Also, with fat injections, the needle much is larger and thicker to accommodate for the volume. Consequently, there is bruising and swelling of the face.

As for retention, fat injections can have an unpredictable loss of volume over time. Because fat cells can be somewhat unpredictable, it is possible that one side of your face could lose volume, while the other retains. This can cause asymmetry in the face, which is undesirable and unattractive.

The opposite can also happen – because it is likely fat will lose volume, usually doctors will inject more than desired to account for the loss. Unfortunately, the retention is unpredictable, so sometimes you will see patients retain all the injected volume. This results in an overly full face, and looks very unnatural.

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