Facial Implants or Fat Grafting? Which Solution Is Best for You?

Facial implants and fat grafting are both used to reshape the face. However, the methods for accomplishing the reshaping vary drastically between these two treatments. Our board-certified Chicago plastic surgeons see the beauty and benefit in each treatment option and offer both procedures here at MAE Plastic Surgery.

Implants or fat grafting? Our surgeons share their tips for choosing the right solution for you.

Facial Implants

Facial implants are used to bring harmony to the face. Crafted from bone and tissue compatible substances, these solid implants are placed underneath the skin and soft tissues of the face. Implants remain in place until they are removed and often become a permanent part of a patient’s face and appearance.

Common sites for facial implant placement include:

  • Chin- ideal for treating a small or recessed chin
  • Jaw- increases the width of the lower third of the face
  • Cheeks- used to add volume to flat or recessed areas on the middle face
  • Lips- creates a more youthful, full lip

Facial implants are placed surgically and are inserted into the body through incisions. Often, the muscle and tissue surrounding the implant hold it in place, but your plastic surgeon may recommend sutures for some facial implant types and placements.

Initial placement of facial implants can temporarily obstruct some facial movements. Swelling and numbness are common. Many patients forget they have implants after recovery. They become a lasting, low maintenance addition to facial appearance.

Facial Fat Grafting

Facial fat grafting, also known as autologous fat grafting, uses your body’s own fat to add volume. We extract fat cells using a technique similar to liposuction, purify and concentrate them, and inject them into the face. Transferred fat will implant in its new location, providing permanent volume to the area.

We use fat grafting to add fullness to the lips and to fill in facial wrinkles. It also works well on hollows and skin depressions. Many patients choose fat grafting to restore fullness to the cheek area, one of the first places affected by age-related volume loss.

Downtime may or may not be shorter with fat grafting. It depends on the quantity of fat necessary for grafting and the location, as different parts of the face have a higher tendency to bruise and swell over others.   Many patients return to light activity in a few days to a week and full activity in 2-3 weeks. Redness, bruising, and swelling are commonly experienced during recovery. Some resorption is common in the first few weeks, but after that, results tend to last. Some patients will need an occasional touch-up treatment.

Fat Grafting or Facial Implants?

A consultation can help you weigh options and find the best treatment fit. Call us to schedule your visit to our beautiful Northbrook plastic surgery office.

To change or enhance facial structure, we typically recommend facial implants. For wrinkles, hollows, and volume loss, fat grafting is usually the best fit.

Give Your New Look a Test Drive

Facial implants and fat grafting both offer a long-term solution to face reshaping. Many of our patients opt for a less permanent option for their initial treatment. Injectable fillers can be used similarly to fat grafting, but in place of harvested fat cells, we use a filler product.

Results last for several months, plenty of time to evaluate your new look and decide if fat grafting or facial implants are right for you. Patients that want to avoid surgery can maintain their filler treatments with a few annual visits to our practice for reinjection.

MAE Plastic Surgery is one of the top plastic surgery practices in Chicago. Contact us to learn more about our surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments.