Can Fat Grafting or Sculptra Really Replace a Face Lift in Mid-30s?

Two years ago, I had a Rhinoplasty. For about a year afterward, my face was slightly swollen. Consequently, friends commented that I looked much younger.

It even seemed to change the quality of my skin, as it appeared more tight and moist. Could this same effect (plumping and stretching of the skin) be achieved with the use of fat or Sculptra? If so, which one works better? Also, can Sculptra and fat be used together?

Doctor Answers 12

Fat grafting great for younger faces

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


If you have a thin face then fat grafting me be the answer.  Fat injections can offer you a longer term (possibly permanent) improvement than most fillers and can be used in places where some fillers cannot be used (under eyes).

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Achieving a younger and fuller face.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

SCulptra would require multiple sessions and the costs could well exceed the use of microfat grafting as a longer term solution. Radiesse has also been used for this purpose and may be a more a more cost efffective short term solution. You may want to consider a shorter term filler to "check out" the resutls of enhanced facial fullness and assess the appearance of this approach.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Fillers are a great idea in a younger patient

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Facial fullness and aging are correlated.

I have provided a nice link from the NY Times that discusses aging and variables such as sun, smoking, and weight below.

A filler such as you own fat sounds nice, but over time this if you gain or lose weight, your facial fullness will change also.

Fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, or Sculptra can help lift a "deflated" face much as a balloon wrinkles when it is deflated. These more likely will help you, rather than a cutting and lifting facial procedure.

In a younger patient, such as those in their 30's, it is more common to use Botox, laser, or fillers to maintain a more youthful look.

Fillers a substitute for a Facelift?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Fillers and a facelift do very different things.

For young patients in their 30's, fillers are almost always the better choice. They do of course need to be repeated.

The patient should also assess if they like the shape of their face or if there are areas that have deficiencies (i.e. very flat cheeks). In that case, that problem never goes away and maybe a more permanent solution is better.

When it comes time to correct facial looseness and jowl formation, nothing beats a well done facelift, usually also with volume augmentation in critical areas.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Juvederm best for cheek fullness.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


Because you are so young, I would recommend avoiding surgery for now.  We think, of all the fillers, Juvederm is safe, effective, and long lasting for creating full cheeks.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Fat Grafting or Sculptra replacing facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The direct answer without seeing any photos is YES!. I would use fat transfer over Sculptra. But that is just my experience. BUT on the horizon is the Stem Cell Enhanced Fat Transfer to the face. Could be an interesting idea. Regards.


Sculptra for Facial Volume Rejuvenation in California

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi Camile,

Sculptra is very effective at replacing volume in the face in a natural manner as it stimulates your own collagen production. Fat will also replace volume, but is slightly more technically challenging and involves a trip to the operating room.

More important than whether you ultimately use either Sculptra or fat transfer is whom you choose to perform the procedure. These procedures are extremely technique, skill, and experience dependent. They are also very long lasting. Therefore, do your homework and choose your treating physician most carefully.

Definitely stay away from the facelift in your 30's!

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Filers a better choice in your 30's

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I agree with other posters that most patients in their 30's do not have indications for a Facelift. Generally, the aging changes seen in the mid 30's include crow's feet, dynamic glabellar and forehead lines, nasolabial folds, some vertical lip lines, and possibly dyschromia from sun damage. Most of these changes can be addressed by Botox, fillers (Juvederm, Radiesse), IPL, and fractionated lasers. Many women in their 30's also desire slightly fuller lips, which can be accomplished with fillers (preferaably hyaluronic acid based). I like the consistency and patient satisfaction I achieve with fillers and have not been a fan of fat grafting. However, there are many qualified surgeons who are and who get nice results.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Volume correction of the face

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Volume correction is not a substitute for a face lift. A face lift lifts but a filler replaces the volume that has been lost. Many physicians who perform Sculptra, Radiesse and Fat injections notice an improvement in the texture of the skin. It appears almost immediately after the procedure and may be related to a distension or stretching of the skin which makes the fine lines less noticable until the filler wears off . Face lifts are not normally done until the patient is in their fifties, and some in their forties. Volume correction with fillers is more common in the forties than a facelift. When someone is in their late fifties or sixties, both fillers for volume correction and a face lift to raise the jowl and improve the smile folds can be done. Fat injections act as a graft and after several sessions of fat injections, there may be long term correction as the fat can live for years. Sculptra may last for a couple of years after a series of three treatments. Although fat injections could create a slight risk of a delayed cyst to develop, there is a chance with Sculptra that there may be some small bumps felt in the dermis or subcutaneous fatty layer when touching the skin from the outside. These can last for a long time but are usually not readily seen. It is extremely rare to see a visibly raised nodule that develops some time after the procedure, but it can happen.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Fillers vs facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

 In your mid-30" you woiuld be too young for a facelift unless you had a very unusual situation.  Fillers can be helpful in holding back the revages of time but will not substitute for a facelift when the time comes for you to need one.  I would say that fillers beat a mini facelift for you.

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.