What is the difference in using ones own body fat, rather than using artificial fillers for the face?

Doctor Answers 12

Fat vs. Fillers

Both of these treatments are aimed to restore facial volume lost with age and/or genetics or unhealthy behaviors.  The length of time that transplanted fat lasts is somewhat controversial and I am not sure that I agree that it is permanent.  I think that you should try facial fillers initially to be sure that you are satisfied as the fat transfer is a small surgical procedure and will initially be more costly.  Over the long haul, fat transfer will likely be better value.  Hope that this helps!

Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 134 reviews


If you never had any filler before, I would recommend starting with hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm to test their effects. Since hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the human body, these fillers last about six months and their effects are reversible. Once you decide you are satisfied with the result and ready for more permanent options, fat transfer and permanent fillers such as Bellafill are both good options. One thing to note about fat transfer, however, is that the result can vary widely as different amount of fat is reabsorbed by different individuals. Best of luck.

Jan Zemplenyi, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Difference between fat and fillers

I hope my answer will help you to your question.
Both of these procedure can be used to give facial volume. The difference is that the first are autologous tissues and permanent; Fillers are synthetic and not permanent.

Before undergoing any surgical procedure, please seek a board certified plastic surgeon,

Jairo Ulerio, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Facial Fat Transfer vs Fillers

Fat Transfer (aka Fat Grafting) and dermal fillers are two excellent procedures which will achieve facial volume enhancement. The decision for using fat vs fillers is multifactorial.  For individuals requiring minimal volume, dermal fillers provide a minimally invasive, cost effective option to enhance facial volume with no downtime.  Dermal fillers are also reversible, therefore they are an excellent choice for first time patients who are worried about having a more permanent procedure at first.  For patients that have used dermal filler in the past, and were satisfied, but would like more longevity for their results fat transfer is an excellent option.  In individuals that require large volumes of filler, fat may also be a more cost effective option.Benefits of Fat Grafting vs Fillers
  • Fat grafting will not cause an allergic reaction as it is tissue from your own body.
  • Fat grafting is safe and cost-effective in patient requiring a large amount of filler.
  • Fat is a natural filler which comes from your own body, no an artificial material.  
  • There is no risk of disease transmission
  • Fat is more permanent than artificial fillers.
  • Most patients have abundant stores of fat available for harvest. 
I suggest following up with a board certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in fat transfer for a consultation.  I have provided a link below.  Good Luck!

Anthony Corrado, DO
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Facial Sculpting With Fat Transfer Is Not Permanent, Results Vary; Try Implants or Fillers

Fat transfer can give you good facial volume and is permanent if it lasts.  Implants are a more permanent solution. Fillers like Juvederm are also a good option to enhance your features but will need to be reinjected after a certain time. Please see an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Difference between fillers and fat

Often patients will ask for volume replacement in their face to erase sun damage or years of damage from mimetic muscle injury to the soft tissue. Of course the quickest and least amount of down time would be a filler. This is a very good option sand will last many months. However, ultimately the bodies own response to this filler will be to degrade it and break it down. A more durable and pliable alternative is to use ones own fat. By transferring the fat from the abdomen or thighs where women often have unwanted fat to areas of the face or buttocks a reasonable amount of retention of transferred fat would be in the order of 50%. This transplanted tissue now brings a vitality and luster to the overlying skin that is not possible with filler alone. However, it is a much more involved process. Look for a plastic surgeon who operates in a AAAASF certified surgical facility to maximize safety.

R. Brannon Claytor, MD, FACS
Bryn Mawr Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Body Fat vs Fillers in the Face

Both add volume to the face but in my experience over many years  fat lasts a lot longer than most fillers. However filler injections are much easier for the patient.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Use of Fat or Fillers for the Face

Both fat and fillers provide the same correction to the face by adding volume to areas of the face where the volume has been lost. Fillers are significantly easier since you simply open a box and inject. Fat has to be harvested, processed and then injected. Whatever volume you achieve with an off the shelf filler is what you get until the filler resorbs in whatever time that particular filler takes. At that point, you need to ire inject the area. Fat, on the other hand, requires some overfilling initially and the final volume is not known for 3-4 months. However, what is present at 4 months is permanent. I generally tell everyone that either procedure requires 2 sessions for most applications to get optimal results, though both can achieve excellent facial rejuvenation. Off the shelf fillers are generally cheaper initially, but fat is frequently less expensive over time. Make sure you see an Expert Injector experienced with both. (See ExpertInjector.org)

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

What is the difference in using ones own body fat, rather than using artificial fillers for the face?

Artificial fillers are man made miniscule particles. Most are Hyaluronic acid which give their volume due to material itself. These last 6 to 12 months sometimes a little longer before being absorbed.  Others use the bodies immune system to create a fibrous coating around each little particle for their volume enhancement. The effect of these last 2 to 5 years. Although some of these brands use plastic beads that last permanently in the body. Fat transfer is similar to hair transplant only instead of many grafts of tiny hair follicles being moved from one area to another grafts of tiny clumps of fat are moved from one area to another. Once the grafts heal they they will survive in place for decades. Anyone who says otherwise does not know how to do the procedure correctly.

Curtis Perry, MD
Downey Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Fat vs fillers

In patients who want no downtime and almost no recovery except for an occasional bruise or moderate swelling, fillers are good.  If you want more permanence and are willing to undergo a surgical procedure to harvest fat and inject it as a more permanent filler, with some more bruising and a very little bit of downtime, then fat is an option.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.