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Douglas A. Taranow, DO, FACOS

New York, NY

Fat Transfer vs. Fillers: What’s Best for Younger-Looking Skin?


Posted September 23, 2019 in Facial Fillers, Fat Transfer Surgery

Our facial skin is thinner than the skin on other areas of the body. As such, signs of exhaustion or stress start to show up on the face sooner, often leading to a prematurely aged look that drives thousands of people to turn to cosmetic surgery in the hopes of turning the tide.

The use of injectable fillers has skyrocketed in recent years, particularly for facial enhancement. These dermal fillers provide a large range of benefits for almost every area of the face and are well-tolerated by nearly everyone, making them an increasingly popular alternative to surgery.

Dr. Taranow offers fat transfer to add volume and fill wrinkles in the face. He also offers three types of facial fillers: JUVÉDERM®, JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC, and RADIESSE®. All of these options are designed to plump the skin and combat signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and hollows with minimal side effects, low costs, and little to no downtime.

Your Wrinkle-Reducing Options

Fat Transfer for the Face

Fat grafting is a time-tested method that’s used to slim the body and improve facial contours using the patient’s own tissues (purified fat cells).

With fat transfer, Dr. Taranow removes fat from unwanted areas of the body using liposuction and then purifies the fat cells and transfers them to certain areas of the face. The procedure is particularly useful for “filling” in areas that have lost volume, such as the cheeks, and at smoothing wrinkles and creases.

Fat graft before and after process

Fat graft before and after image.

The results from fat grafting are generally permanent.


This dermal filler uses hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance that actively encourages the skin’s own regenerative process. JUVÉDERM® is used to soften deep lines on the cheeks and around the mouth (marionette lines) and to plump the lips.

The effects of JUVÉDERM® can last between six and nine months, with repeated filler treatments ensuring results last even longer.


Dr. Taranow also offers JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC, a dermal filler that’s specially formulated to restore lost volume in the cheeks for a more youthful contour.

Results from JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC can last up to two years.


RADIESSE® is made of microscopic calcium-based spheres, or microspheres, comprised of hyaluronic acid.

RADIESSE® is useful at smoothing wrinkles, filling creases, and providing a stronger underlying structure to facial tissues. Skin feels firmer and smoother over time as hyaluronic acid promotes collagen growth and skin cell regeneration.

RADIESSE® results can last up to a year.

Location, Location, Location: Which Treatment Is Best for Each Area of the Face?

Comparing fat transfer and dermal fillers is less about determining which one is best overall and more about finding which one works best for you and your concerns.

As they say with real estate, it’s all about location. Choosing what areas are in need of treatment and which treatment works best for that placement is crucial to getting the most natural-looking results possible.

Woman having a rejuvenating injection procedure useful for smoothing skin

Beautiful woman having rejuvenating injections against wrinkles.

Eyes and Upper Face

Facial skin is already thinner than the skin on the body, and the skin around the eyes is the most delicate of all. These thin tissues can easily succumb to time’s ravaging effects.

Some of the most common aging concerns in the upper face include:

  • Fine lines or wrinkles around the eyes (“crow’s feet”)
  • A hollow or sunken-in appearance around the eyes
  • Deep creases across the forehead
  • Lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines)

Fillers like JUVÉDERM® and RADIESSE® are very effective at perking up the eye area by smoothing lines and creases. Fat transfer has also proven to be effective, especially for restoring lost volume to rejuvenate a sunken look.

Cheeks and Mid-face

The cheeks lose volume as we get older, and significant volume loss can create an appearance that looks gaunt and unhealthy.

Fat transfer can be useful to help get back some of this lost volume. Multiple treatments may be needed, as some of the fat initially transferred is reabsorbed by the body, but once the initial absorption is finished, the fat that remains will stay there permanently.

JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC is specially designed to fill hollows in the cheeks and restore a youthful contour. Results from a single JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® XC treatment can last up to two years, as hyaluronic acid boosts the skin’s own production of collagen over time.

Lower Face and Mouth

The lips and other areas around the mouth are constantly moving while conveying expressions, talking, and chewing, making this area is particularly susceptible to wrinkles and fine lines. Deep lines around the mouth and nose known as nasolabial folds (commonly referred to as “parentheses lines”) and lines that extend from the corners of the mouth down onto the chin (“marionette lines”) serve to create an aged and tired appearance.

The lips also lose volume and grow thinner as we age, and the skin around the lips often develops fine vertical lines, especially for those who smoke.

Fat transfer can be very effective at plumping up lips. It comes with no risk of rejection because it uses the patient’s own fat for enhancement, and this technique provides a subtle yet noticeable effect.

JUVÉDERM® and RADIESSE® are also useful for smoothing skin around the mouth and lips to provide a powerful rejuvenating effect that resonates across the rest of the face.

Want to learn more about fat transfer and fillers? Contact us online or call our New York office at 212-772-2100 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Taranow soon.