Dermal Fillers vs. Fat Transfer: Which Is Right for You?

Dermal Fillers vs. Fat Transfer: Which Is Right for You?

Feeling self-conscious about your aging skin? You’re far from alone. 

A range of factors cause areas of your face to wrinkle, sag, and appear concave over time, from reduced elasticity to less collagen production. If you’ve spent plentiful time in the sun without UV protection or you’re a smoker, those effects can be accelerated.

While skin aging isn’t risky medically, you can take steps to improve your skin’s appearance for boosted confidence. At our offices in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and Rye, New York, board-certified cosmetic surgeon Robert Schwarcz, MD, and his team offer dermal fillers and fat transfer for a more youthful look.

Here’s a closer look at these treatments, including how to determine your best option.

How dermal fillers work

Dermal fillers add instant volume and smoothness to shallow or wrinkled areas of your face. Ingredients contained in these injections, such as hyaluronic acid (HA), mimic natural body substances. HA promotes hydrated, supple skin by attracting water. 

We offer a variety of popular filler brands, including Restylane-L®, Revance®, and Sculptra®. Once injected into the treatment area, Restylane-L and Revance fillers instantly fill in shallow or creased areas of your skin. Sculptra fillers gradually help restore volume by stimulating collagen production.

How fat transfer works

Fat transfer uses advanced liposuction techniques to move fat from one part of your body to another – such as from your thighs or buttocks to your face. Once placed into the treatment area, such as shallow areas around your eyes or mouth, the displaced fat creates a smoother, more voluminous look. 

While you can have fat transfer as its own treatment, it’s often performed alongside another surgical procedure, such as a facelift or eyelid blepharoplasty. Once injected, the transferred fat cells gradually receive blood supply that increases visible volume. Results appear in about six months.

Dermal filler and fat transfer differences

Both dermal fillers and fat transfer fillers offer similar benefits, including a more youthful appearance and better facial symmetry. In addition to differences in the materials used, fillers are a less invasive and nonsurgical option. Fat transfer requires minor surgery to retrieve the fat cells. 

Another difference involves longevity. While dermal filler results may last for up to 6-12 months or potentially longer, fat transfer results can last for many years. 

Choosing between dermal fillers and fat transfer

Dr. Schwarcz can help determine whether dermal fillers or fat transfer is ideal for you based on your goals, the state of your skin, and your overall health. 

If you’re not a candidate for surgery or simply wish to avoid it, dermal fillers are probably your best option. You may also choose dermal fillers if you’re hoping for rapid results due to an approaching event, such as a wedding or vacation. 

If you want longer lasting results or plan to have another cosmetic procedure, such as a facelift, fat transfer may be ideal for you. Fat transfer also provides an alternative if you’re sensitive or allergic to dermal filler ingredients.


To learn more or to get started on the facial enhancements you desire, book a consultation with Dr. Schwarcz today. Call the office nearest to you or request an appointment online anytime.

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