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Fat grafting vs. dermal fillers: what works best to restore facial volume?



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Nothing contributes to a youthful appearance the way a radiant, healthy face does. Loss of facial volume, elasticity, and moisture creates a tired, aged look. In an effort to combat these unpleasant signs of ageing, many of us seek out treatment to restore the vitality that once radiated through us.

Injectable dermal fillers offer a natural looking solution, restoring patients to a more youthful version of themselves. Now there are more options than ever to achieve this goal. Most commonly, dermatologists use filler products like Juvéderm® and Voluma®, to replenish depleted skin. More recently, many have started incorporating fat grafting and injections in their treatments.

But which is better?

This isn’t a simple question to answer. Like most choices in life, what’s right for one may not be best for another. Understanding the difference between techniques is an important first step in your approach to revitalizing your appearance.

Jaw Brett Before
Jaw Brett After
Jaw Charlene Before
Jaw Charlene After
Jaw Mitch 2 Before
Jaw Mitch 2 After

Fat Grafting

Doctors use a gentle form of liposuction to retrieve fat cells from the body (usually the abdomen or thighs). Once the fat is harvested, it’s processed and injected into the hollowed or wrinkly areas of the face to restore volume. While the injection itself causes minimal discomfort, the fat transfer is generally carried out with the use of local anesthesia to minimize soreness for the patient from the liposuction.

Post-procedure expectations:

Fat injections offer people an appealing solution to volume loss for several reasons. Most notably, the product is natural. Any concerns regarding a foreign substance being injected in the body can be alleviated. Since the doctor uses the patient’s own fat cells as filler, the risk of rejection or allergic reaction is eliminated.

The results of fat injections also last longer than other products, sometimes remaining permanently. Since the effects last longer, patients require fewer maintenance treatments, which in turn mean less of a financial commitment.

Despite the benefits of using someone’s own body tissue to restore fullness, there are downsides. Due to the slightly more invasive nature of this technique, discomfort during the procedure and recovery afterwards can be mildly unpleasant. Patients often set aside a few days for rest and recovery following treatment.

Dermal Filler Procedure

Injecting dermal fillers are non-invasive. A small needle is used to inject the filler just under the surface of a patient’s skin. The procedure is quick and relatively painless, with people enjoying an immediate return to normal life after an appointment.

Post-procedure expectations:

The beauty behind dermal fillers is the range of options available to doctors. Whether a patient hopes to eliminate fine grooves around the eye or wishes to add substantial volume to sunken cheeks, an ideal product exists to offer a solution. A skilled physician with a trained eye for natural beauty selects the best filler to contour the face and restore its youthful vibrancy.

Manufactured fillers use collagen, hyaluronic acid, elastin, and other naturally produced growth factors to restore the youthful properties of the skin. In many cases, the injected filler actually stimulates new growth within the body, thus promoting healthier skin long term.

Dermal fillers offer results that last between six months and two years depending on the product and treatment area. Over time, the body absorbs the broken down filler and consequently, additional treatments are necessary to maintain the desired look. Individual treatments cost less than fat grafting, but since treatments are required more frequently to maintain results, the lifetime investment may be higher.

So, Which Option is Best?

At this point, it’s fair to say that there isn’t one right answer. In both instances, the technical ability and artistic eye of Dr. Sharma are paramount. Regardless of which substance is used, the procedure requires a high level of skill to ensure the best possible result. Dr. Sharma has that skill as one of Edmonton’s best cosmetic doctors.

Experienced cosmetic doctors understand the value of fat and fillers, and many incorporate both in their approach to treatment. Every patient has unique treatment goals, expectations, skin health, and history. It is Dr. Sharma’s responsibility to understand the needs of his patients and pursue a customized plan in order to provide naturally stunning results.

Therefore, while some doctors may lean towards fat grafting versus fillers, or vice versa, the correct choice lies somewhere in the middle. Both options can provide an ideal outcome, depending on the scenario.

Dr Anil Sharma

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