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Facial Rejuvenation Choices: Fat Transfer vs. Dermal Fillers


When choosing a product to restore facial volume, the choice of physician is just as important as the choice of product.

If you want to restore volume to your face, you've got more options than you probably realize. There are several different dermal fillers available such as Sculptra, Juvederm and Restylane. Some use hyaluronic acid and others use different chemicals to stimulate collagen growth and they last for different lengths of time. There is still another option though - fat. Many patients opt to have fat transferred from another part of their body for a more natural filler.

facial fillers vs fat transfer
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"There are a number of fillers we have on market and they're all very well studied," says Dr. Lori Brightman of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. "Long term studies show they're quite safe, in particular the hyaluronic acid fillers. Fat transfer, if it's done well, can also give you a great aesthetic look. The issue that remains is what is ideal for each patient?" Dr. Brightman says that patients who need just a small amount of volume are better suited for a filler while those who need more contoured volume may be better candidates for fat.

Dr. Brightman stresses the importance of finding a skilled physician, one who is very familiar with fat transfer. She says, "There are some people that are so skilled at fat transfer, they can get really beautiful results." There may be some practitioners performing the procedure who may not have the necessary training and that is not ideal for a minimally invasive procedure. You want the most skilled physicians performing the treatments.

"If a patient is trying to decide what kind of filler to use, I think it's most important to first start off with being evaluated by your dermatologist," says Dr. Brightman. "Find out what are truly your needs for the long term and then your dermatologist can recommend someone who is really well skilled in fat transfer or fillers. It's not just about placing a product, it really a fine tuned, skilled technique."

The best dermatologist, or aesthetic physician in general, is one who has several tools at their disposal. You should be open and honest with your physician about your desired results so the two of you can work together to find the best product for you. As Dr. Brightman describes, "When your doctor looks at you, they're going to choose what suits your goals. It may be some Botox, it may be some fillers, it may be some tightening procedures. It's all about being able to use different techniques or products to achieve your personal goals."