Is there a difference between fat transfer and fat injections? (Photo)

I want to get fat injections to my face, I am aged well beyond my years. I am 41, however I look about 50+. One place I read the fat injections last a very long time and another place I read it last 3 months. I am looking for something permanent without getting a face lift, which would only pull my face back and I have major volume loss. Is there a difference? What is the cost usually for the face area?

Doctor Answers 6

Fat grafting vs fat injections

There is no difference between the two, just the wording. Fat grafting does last a lot longer then filler, however it may not be permanent. Voluma might be a good option for you also, lasts about 2 years. You could do it in conjunction with a face lift for fantastic results. A consultation with a local board certified facial plastic surgeon is probably your best bet.

Good luck!


Princeton Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Facial Sculpting Using Fillers Like Voluma, Radiesse, Lyft, Juvederm and Sculptra and Fat

There is no difference between fat transfer and fat injections. Fillers, implants and fat can all be used to sculpt the face. Fillers like Radiesse, Voluma, Perlane work great for cheek volumization which helps improve the nasolabial (smile lines) as well indirectly. Restylane silk, Voluma, and Belotero work great around the eyes. Long term my patients also get Sculptra injections to help stimulate collagen and make the filler last longer. Fat can also be used which is something I do frequently in my practice. After 6-12 weeks if the fat is there, it stays forever in my experience unless you have extreme weight loss -- then you can lose fat everywhere. I suggest you see an expert and do sculptra/PRP to get long term improvement and maintenance of the fat. PRP and purgraft give the best outcome and viability. Cost will vary on location, experience of surgeon, and procedure performed. Best, Dr. Emer 

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 165 reviews

Facial Fat transfer

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your question and photos. The results boil down to who is doing the procedure. The results can be permanent if done correctly with the understanding that NOT all the fat that is placed will stay and that you have swelling after surgery. But in some places the fat just does not stay well like lips. Lips are not supposed to have fat in them but it can be placed there. Again, it depends on how it is harvested, processed, and injected.  Both transfer and injection are same. I recommend an in person consultation to see what is best for you. You may also benefit from Bellafill, which a semi-permanent filler which is another option. Good Luck!.

All the best,
Carlos Mata MD, MBA, FACS
#fattransfer #docmata
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Is there a difference between fat transfer and fat injections?

Short answer is that these are the same and just represents how different surgeons speak about the procedure to their patients.  It is hard to see the loss of volume that you describe on the single photo that you provided and nothing can take the place of a face to face consultation.  I think that fat transfer can be a tremendous rejuvenating procedure for the face when done properly.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Fat injection vs fat transfer

 Hi and thanks for your question. There is a sensually no difference between fat injection and fat transfer. The most important point is to make sure that you see a very experienced surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. That is my best advice after 30 years performing aesthetic plastic surgery. Best of luck! 

Richard Chaffoo, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Is there a difference between fat transfer and fat injections?

Dear Anne,
The terms fat transfer and fat injections are interchangeable. Around 25% of the fat injected will likely stay permanently, and 75% well resorb over a period of 3 months. Younger and thinner patients tend to get better take of the fat transfer than older and heavier patients. Volume loss is one component of aging, with laxity and skin textural changes being other obvious influences. While fat injections are a very nice option for many people, there are still areas better suited for dermal fillers and possibly Sculptra, so understand a combination may be needed for the best result. Also, the permanent fat will fluctuate with weight changes so I tend to be more conservative in younger patients to help reduce the risk of overcorrection if they were to put on weight. Fat transfer is often done at the time of a facelift to enhance results because laxity alone is typically not the only sign of aging, and the combination of volume replacement with correction of laxity gives a very nice result.
Best of luck,

Stacey Folk, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 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.