The Difference Between Fat Injections and Dermal Fillers


When an iconic piece of art is restored, artists work carefully to replace the pigments and colors that have diminished over time, allowing the artwork’s underlying beauty to shine through.

Dermal fillers, including fat injections, are artistic anti-aging tools used to erase wrinkles, lines and folds on the face, allowing the face’s natural beauty to shine brighter than ever.

For many adults, facial injectables can prolong the need for facelifts, eyelid surgeries and other cosmetic surgical procedures, or may serve as a substitute altogether.

From BOTOX® to Sculptra® and everything in between, each dermal filler has its own list of advantages. However, fat injections performed by a facial plastic surgeon (who is experienced with fat transfer procedures) will yield the safest and longest-lasting results.

With fat injections, you may never need another cosmetic touch-up procedure again.

How Are Fat Injections Different From Other Dermal Fillers?

There are several differences between fat injections and other dermal fillers on the market. The most significant difference is that ingredients used for fat injections are 100% natural since they are harvested from your own body.

Advantages of this include:

  • The fat will be integrated with your body’s vascular system, becoming a part of your body in a way other dermal fillers cannot.
  • The results last longer than any other facial injectable, with some clients going as long as 10 years or more before desiring a touch-up or additional cosmetic procedure.
  • Purified fat can be stored for up to a year so it is available for future cosmetic enhancements if necessary.

While other dermal fillers, such as Restylane® (which uses Hyaluronic acid) or Sculptra® (which uses poly-l-lactic acid) may mimic or partially replace your skin’s natural support structures, they will never integrate with your body’s natural tissues the way fat injections can. Although fat transfer procedures are slightly more involved than other dermal filler procedures, most clients feel that the natural, semi-permanent results are well worth it.

Fat Transfer Erases the Signs of Aging and Becomes an Integral Part of Your Facial Structure

Fat transfer (also called fat grafting or lipografting) works differently than other dermal fillersbecause the results are semi-permanent and become an integral part of your facial structure. Lipografting specifically addresses volume loss and filling in hollows while providing softer, rounder and smoother dimensions indicative of a youthful face.

Fat grafting works by removing excess fat from one area of the body and transplanting it to another. Very few cosmetic surgeons understand how to apply the advanced techniques required for this procedure to be completely successful.

For your fat transfer procedure, the doctor will remove excess fatty tissue from donor sites. Commonly donor fat is manually harvested from discrete locations around the inner-thighs, abdomen, and/or hips.

Once harvested, the fat is purified, processed, and then separated in a centrifuge. Fat cells remain healthy through this careful process, optimizing the healthy fat cells’ ability to reconnect with your vascular system (called revascularization). The more cells that revascularize, the more permanent your results will be.

The fat is then ready for manual re-injection to the desired areas.  The greater skilled the surgeon, the greater the chance fat cells have at revascularization for optimum results.

Facial Fat Injections Are Used Similarly to Other Dermal Fillers

Anything that can be enhanced, erased, or rejuvenated using synthetic dermal fillers can be achieved with fat injections.  The added benefits of more permanent results and zero chances of an allergic reaction make this procedure desirable for both doctors and patients.

Fat injections can be used successfully to:

  • Erase lines and wrinkles. Fat transfer can be used to erase fine to moderate lines, wrinkles and folds, including those around the forehead, eyes, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines.  Fine lines and hollows occur from a loss of volume and the body’s fat restores this youthful volume beautifully.
  • Correct acne, chickenpox and other scars. Fat transfer can be used to eliminate or fill the scars and hollows created by acne, chickenpox or previous surgical or cosmetic procedures.
  • Enhance a facelift or eyelid surgery. Advanced plastic surgeons will not perform facelifts or eyelid surgery without augmenting their procedures with fat grafting. If a plastic surgeon performs a facelift, neck lift, eyelid surgery, etc., and does not use lipografting to replace lost facial volume, the results can appear angular, “stretched” and unnatural.
  • Restore tissue. If too much tissue was removed from your face via previous surgeries, i.e. liposuction, eyelid surgery, facelifts, etc., fat injections can correct these issues.

If you are interested in learning more about how fat injections can enhance your natural beauty, or how they compare with other dermal fillers, schedule a consultation with Dr. Tzikas. He will assist you in selecting cosmetic procedures that will yield the most natural and enduring results.