Facial Fat Transfer vs Fillers: Pros & Cons

Woman smiling (model)

For many years, facial rejuvenation was limited to skin resurfacing with lasers and peels and various surgical procedures that repositioned soft tissue. But now, as many of our facial surgery patients in Nashville are discovering, there are so many injectable options available, it’s often difficult to decide which is right for you. When weighing the benefits of facial fat transfer vs dermal fillers, it helps to understand the pros and cons of each.

Areas That Benefit From Fat Transfer or Fillers

The areas most commonly affected by aging are around the mouth and lips. There are the nasolabial creases, which look like parentheses extending from the side of the nose down to the corners of the mouth, and the marionette lines that run from the corners of the lower lip to the chin. Another area that shrinks and flattens over time is the cheekbone area, particularly toward the nose under the eye, as well as below the cheekbone area in the mid-cheek area.

To combat these signs of aging, you can choose either fat transfer or man-made fillers. So below, we’ve outlined the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Fat Transfer


  • Fat is best for providing overall volume replacement for the face. See some of our patients’ before-and-after photos in the Instagram post below or in our photo gallery to get an idea of the type of results you might expect.
  • Fat is easily harvested from the abdomen or the thighs to use in the face.
  • Fat is cheaper to obtain than manufactured materials, and there is a relatively unlimited supply.
  • The fat harvest is a gentle form of liposuctioning.
  • Fat cells that survive in the face will last years, as it does not absorb like filler.

We talk more about how fat transfer can enhance your face in our related blog post.


  • Fat transfers are associated with 10 to 14 days of social recovery time, due to bruising and swelling.
  • Fat transfers require an anesthetic. It is typically performed using light sedation and local anesthesia.
  • Fat transfers are not very useful for filling in the fine lines around the mouth.

Dermal Fillers


  • They are very useful for contouring around the mouth.
  • They have a quicker recovery time than fat transfer.
  • They work well around the eyes to smooth the eyelids and cheek.
  • They work well to recreate the natural ridges and curves of the upper lip, ‘Cupid’s bow,’ and the rolled margin of the lip.
  • They can re-support facial structures to a more youthful position.

You can find more information about dermal fillers on The Aesthetic Society website.


  • They are more expensive when significant volume is needed.
  • They may cause some swelling, redness, pain, bruising, or tenderness.
  • They may result in some unevenness or firmness in the area injected.
  • They will be gradually absorbed by the face, returning it to its original appearance

Ultimately, deciding whether fat transfers or fillers or right for you should be determined on a case-by-case basis in order to provide optimal results. Contact Youthful Reflections today to schedule a consultation to ‘Trust Your Face To Only The Best’ with Nashville’s Top Doctor in 2017! You can reach us online using our contact form or you can call us at (615) 942-8016.

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Worth Waiting For

We understand you want your facial plastic surgery right away, but this is an instance where patience pays off. Our surgeries are often booked out a few months because Dr. Boggess:

  • Is highly accomplished, and his services are in demand.

  • Takes his time to ensure outstanding safety, care, and results.

  • Offers personalized techniques that aren’t available elsewhere.

We are worth the wait.

Learn more about why the best facial plastic surgeons are worth the wait, and how you can make the most of that time in this blog post.

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