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Sculptra Aesthetic VS. Fat Transfer for Volume Loss

June 18, 2018

As we age, we produce less collagen, slowly absorb facial fat, and experience thinning of the dermal tissues, all of which causes us to gradually lose volume across our entire face. Luckily, we have several options when it comes to contouring and volumizing the face. The most popular options to restore volume are dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvderm, Sculptra Aesthetic and fat transfer.

Although there are many dermal filler options such as Restylane or Juvederm, Sculptra Aesthetic is a different kind of dermal filler made of poly-L-lactic acid which works by stimulating one’s own collagen over a period of time. This unique property allows Sculptra Aesthetic to produce volume across the entire face and lasts for a long time. Unlike other dermal fillers that are instantly gratifying, Sculptra Aesthetic requires at least 3 sessions about 4-6 weeks apart and results don’t show for several months after treatment. After the initial sessions, then a “maintenance” treatment is recommended to uphold optimal results from Sculptra Aesthetic, usually on an annual basis. Overall, Sculptra Aesthetic has proven to be a very cost effective and natural appearing method to resolve volume to the thinning face that patient experience in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Fat transfer is another option to replenish volume to the face. Many people feel attracted to this choice because they are using their own fat, perceiving this to be a natural type of option. However, there are some disadvantages to fat transfer that patients need to be aware of. Firstly, one has to obtain enough “donor fat” for the procedure to even be possible – requiring a small procedure elsewhere on the body to obtain the fat. Secondly, fat in general is not a smooth substance so when transferring it to a different area of the body, there is a high chance that the area can appear lumpy and uneven. Unlike, minor lumps that can occur with fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, or Scuptra, lumps from fat are often very difficult to treat, even requiring surgical removal. Many patients are quite surprised to hear that fat can expand many years after the fat transfer procedure if the patient gains weight. The fat that is transferred to your face, still thinks it fats from your abdomen or thighs! As a result, if you gain weight in the future, you can also experience disproportionate volume expansion in your face – a problem that is incredibly difficult to solve. Lastly, the face quite often reabsorbs the fat which will put some patients back to “square one.” How much fat one’s body will reabsorb is very unpredictable.

In conclusion, there are pros and cons to both volume restoration options – Sculptra Aesthetic versus fat. As with so many treatments for facial aesthetic issues, there are options for you to choose between. This is why it’s very important for patients to speak with a facial aesthetic surgery specialist who performs all of the options available to you and tailors the best solution to your unique needs. If you want to talk to Dr. Leong in further detail about Sculptra Aesthetic or fat transfer and determine which option would be most suited for your needs, schedule your consultation today! Check out which of our 6 office locations is nearest you!

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