Fat Graft or Fillers?

When it comes to deciding between fillers and fat grafting, you may have many questions. Which method can give me the best results? What are the major differences between them? Does it matter which I choose?

In short, yes, it does matter. Each person has their own individualistic needs when it comes to their aesthetic goals and skin conditions. In the contest of fat graft vs. fillers, each stand on their own as far as benefits.

Fat grafting extracts fat from one part of the body and reinjects it into another. Because this is essentially a transfer of fat, it makes sense that it is also called “fat transfer.” This procedure involves the suction of fat from an area of your body with excess fatty tissue.  The fat is then prepared and purified before being injected into the desired area. Dr. Slupchynskyj uses The PureGraft™ 250/PRO to ensure the fat is as clean as possible. This ensures that more fat cells are retained. In addition, pain is very minimal in this process. There may be short-term discomfort and is typically managed with pain medication.

In comparison, injectable fillers are materials that are not harmful to living tissue and are designed to serve a specific purpose by being injected into the skin to reduce the signs of aging. There are many different dermal fillers on the market including Restylane® and Juvéderm®. Typically, these fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, or calcium hydroxylapatite. When these fillers are injected into the face they fill in deep facial wrinkles and improve contour deficiencies.


There are several factors to look at when comparing fat transfers and fillers. The first is wrinkle reduction. Both fat grafts and facial fillers reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the face. They both can also enhance facial volume where it has been lost.

When comparing the side effects and risks associated with these facial rejuvenation methods, you’ll find that fat transfer has a slighter higher chance of prolonged swelling than fillers. However, unlike fillers, fat transfer does not pose a threat of allergic reaction.

In addition to comparing side effects, many patients wonder if these methods share similar recovery times. While recovery times do vary, the difference isn’t dramatic. Fat transfer procedures usually require a couple days for swelling to fully go down. On the other hand, dermal fillers require virtually no downtime.

When it comes to their final results, both procedures do not disappoint. Fat transfer patients see results sooner than patients that opted for filler, as results are immediate. How soon a patient sees results from fillers depends on the product used.

Another comparison is the longevity of their results. Results from fat transfer endure because it is a permanent treatment.  While results from fillers are beautiful, they are temporary and must be kept up.

Finally, the number of treatments needed to maintain their results varies from patient to patient. Fat transfers may need to be administered more than once in the beginning but rarely need to be touched up. Facial fillers must be regularly injected, but some patients like the self-care aspect of coming into the office and look forward to these appointments with their injector.

Ideal Candidates for Fillers

Facial fillers are for patients that are looking for a quick refreshed look or are wanting to test out facial rejuvenation. Fillers work best for patients with skin that is elastic and have noticeable defined lines.

Ideal Candidates for Fat Grafting/Transfer

This procedure is ideal for patients that have sunken cheeks, eyelid bags, jowling, thinning features, and general loss of facial fullness. This is best for long-term patients that do not want the hassle of constant up-keep over the years.

If you are interested in fat transfer or facial fillers, you can schedule a private consultation. Your surgeon will give the best plan of action for the procedure that best fits you. During your initial meeting, we will provide you with all the information you need about the procedure(s) and answer any questions you may have.

To schedule your consultation, call (212) 628-6464!