Injectables vs Fat Transfer vs Facelift: Pros and Cons

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Today there are more options than ever to help you turn back the clock and look years younger. Three of the most popular choices at Clareo Centers For Aesthetic Surgery are injectable fillers and a fat transfer, and facelift. Our Boston clients often have many questions about which procedure is best at reversing signs of aging. But the truth is, all treatments are excellent options depending on your specific goals and concerns. If you are wondering which is right for you, here are some things to think about.

Nonsurgical vs Surgical

Injectable fillers are completely nonsurgical and have no downtime. Most of our patients who choose injectables enjoy instant results with no recovery period. Injections are performed in a 30 – 60 minute in-office appointment and usually include only mild discomfort. The improvements are visible immediately and your final results can be seen in about 1 – 2 days after swelling resolves.

Fat transfer to the face is a procedure performed in an operating room, typically with sedation anesthesia. The procedure involves two steps. First, fat is taken from an area of the body (usually the stomach, buttocks, or thighs) using liposuction. Then, it is processed and transferred to the face. Recovery from a fat transfer to the face is one or two days.
Once in the operating room, we have access to as much volume for transfer as we need (for example 20cc of fat is a small amount of fat but 20cc of injectable filler would be cost prohibitive for most people). Transferred fat gains a blood supply from the recipient area and therefore stays permanently, although it is subject to the aging process as is any facial fat.

A facelift is a surgical procedure that repositions soft tissue and removes excess skin in order to provide a more youthful look. Because soft tissue loss is a natural part of the aging process, facelift is almost always done with fat transfer at the same operation. Recovery from facelift with fat transfer is generally 10-14 days, the same recovery as a facelift itself.

What They Improve

Both injectables and fat transfer can improve signs of facial aging. They can minimize facial hollowing under the eyes, add volume to the cheeks, and create more youthful facial contours. They can also help soften the look of laugh lines around the mouth.

A facelift, however, can correct more advanced signs of aging that injectables can’t. This includes sagging skin in the lower jaw and neck area. A facelift also tightens the underlying muscles and skin for a smoother, firmer look.

Longevity of Results

Injectables, fat transfer, and facelift can have long-lasting results, but results with injectables are temporary while results from a fat transfer and facelift are permanent.

Injectable fillers are usually made with a substance like hyaluronic acid that is naturally metabolized by the body. That means they slowly dissolve slowly over the course of several months. Most dermal fillers can last anywhere from 12 – 24 months before a touch-up is needed.

A fat transfer, on the other hand, involves using your body’s own fat to add fullness to your face. While not all the fat will survive, the majority of it will, and this results in a more permanent facial rejuvenation. Plus, the benefits from your facelift surgery can last 10 years or longer.

This does not mean, however, that someone who gets a fat transfer to the is immune to aging. Although the transferred fat cells are permanent and the results of a facelift are long-lasting, your skin and face will continue to age. At some point, you may choose to have another facial rejuvenation procedure down the road.

Your Final Results

All three procedures are excellent anti-aging treatments that can help you look younger and more refreshed. When comparing the results, facelift results tend to be more comprehensive because they can address more elements of facial aging than injectables can. Injectables, however, offer a more predictable and controllable result (because, with fat transfer, you don’t know how many fat cells will survive).

Choosing What’s Right for You

Deciding among injectables, fat transfer, and a facelift is a very personal decision. Determining which is right for you will depend on your facial anatomy, your concerns, and your aesthetic goals. Clareo Centers For Aesthetic Surgery is here to help you make the right decision for you.

To schedule a consultation and learn more about your options for facial rejuvenation, contact us.

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