Juvederm or Fat Transfer for Mild Nasolabial Folds?

To fill in mild nasolabial folds, what will work better; look and feel more natural; last longer; and have less possible complications: Juvederm or a Fat transfer from another part of my body?

Doctor Answers 9

Both yield excellent results!

It’s not unusual for patients to develop nasolabial folds during facial aging. When these folds are mild they can often be treated with injectable fillers. A large variety of fillers are currently available for treating this problem.
Both autologous fat grafts and Juvederm can be used to treat these folds. Both are associated with excellent clinical results and high levels of patient satisfaction. Each of these fillers is associated with unique advantages and disadvantages.
Juvederm is a hyaluronic acid filler. This material is easily injected, affordable, safe and easily reversed. Unfortunately this material isn’t permanent and requires replacement at 6-9 month intervals.
Autologous fat is probably the best material that’s currently available as a filler material. This material looks and feels natural and lasts longer than hyaluronic acid fillers. Unfortunately fat grafts are unpredictable and needs to be harvested from a donor site.
The choice of filler material depends on a variety of factors. This decision is individualized and is based on the patients’ physical findings and aesthetic goals. If you’re considering treatment of nasolabial folds, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that’s appropriate for your condition.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Mild nasolabial folds treatment with Juvederm or Fat Transfer

Then answer depends on how mild the nasolabial folds are and what your goals are.

A. Juvederm


  • Quick and easy, cheaper than fat grafts
  • Immediate results


  • Lasts only 6-18 months.
  • If you have deep folds, it is not cost effective.
  • Over a period of time, as you get repeated injections, more expensive than fat grafts

B. Fat Grafts


  • Can be permanent with the right surgeon.
  • Can correct large areas.
  • It is your own tissue


  • 3 week period of swelling
  • More expensive
  • Need to do research on who uses proper technique for fat grafting

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Which is best between fillers and fat transfer?

Most physicians will agree that fat transfers may offer a much longer result and prove to be quite cost effective in the long run. However, fat transfers requires another invasive procedure in order to harvest the fat with technique being crucial. Even with the most advanced techniques and instruments, there is a higher percentage of unpredictability with fat transfers than with the use of hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, etc.

Being able to reach for a cosmetic dermal filler product and have a minimally invasive procedure with immediate results seems to be the best option for nasolabial folds. There will be far less swelling and recovery with dermal fillers vs. fat transfers. Make certain you discuss all of your options with your physician as only you and your practitioner will be able to decide which is the best treatment plan.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fat transfer

Mild nasolabial folds can be treated by many methods. But overall it's best to treat any problem with something that will fix the problem on a more permanent basis. Fat transfer has come a long way. Our knowledge of what allows that fat to survive once it has been grafted has increased substantially. Grafted fat needs blood supply. So if a large amount of fat is placed in an area in the same plane of tissue it is impossible for the center most fat to get new blood vessels before it dies. Previously this was how fat grafting was done. Put in a large amount and hopefully enough will survive.

Today, through the work of others I use much smaller cannulas and thus much smaller particles of fat. The fat is injected into many planes thus allowing a much better infiltration of blood vessels and a much higher survivability of the fat.

So fat is better but the surgeon must understand these new principles and have the appropriate equipment.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Injectables vs. fat transfer

It depends on the type of fold. If it is very thin and superficial then Juvederm would be much better. If it is wide and deep then fat injections might give you a better result. Fat transfer results are not consistent. Some patients achieve long lasting results after a few sessions (rarely is one treatment enough for the smile folds…little by little is better than a lot at one time) but others never see their augmentation maintained more than a few weeks as the fat dissolves. The more animated one is with smiling and eating, the quicker a filler can dissolve.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fat for volume, Restylane/Juvederm for nasolabial folds

Fat grafting is a very good and predictable solution for adding volume to the cheeks, and for filling in the "tear trough" below the eyelid. Areas with little motion like these tend to do well with fat grafts. Mild nasolabial lines are best treated with injections into the skin, rather than under it as we do with fat. Restylane, Juvederm, and Evolence are all good options there.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Fat transfer is superior

Fat transfer is the superior choice, more natural feel and more suitable for volume restoration. Fat is more economically available!

There is a longer recovery period for fat grafting vs Hyaluronic acid fillers.

Reza Nabavian, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon

Juvederm vs Fat Transfer

Both are good for filling in the nasolabial folds. Fat transfer is a bit more involved and has a bit longer recovery time. Some percentage of the fat becomes permanent but some goes way. Juvederm or other HA fillers are not permanent and will go away about 6-9 months time.

Fat can become permanent but requires several injections over time to get the result to stay and become permanent.

Make sure you see a board certified plastic surgeon for your plastic surgery needs, even if it is injections.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Fat vs Restylane as a Filler

Both will give excellent correction with a natural feel. Restylane lasts 9 months to one year, but fat's persistance is less predictable. If you are younger, fat has a better chance of "taking" as a living graft, in which case it may last for years. However, most practitioners will tell you that persistance of fat varies from 20-50% in most studies. Many physicians will take a little more fat than required for the correction and freeze the remainder for later touch ups if needed.

Stephen Mandy, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 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.