Restylane vs fat transfer injection: This is arguably the most common dilemma of patients seeking facial rejuvenation procedure, as suggested by leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley.
Both materials are also referred to as volumizers since they fill in hollowed facial regions (e.g., flat cheeks and gaunt lower lids) and certain types of deep creases.
Restylane is a hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler, a naturally occurring material that gives the skin its youthful “plump” and glow, hence there is almost no risk of allergic reaction.
In essence, Restylane is derived from tissue cultivated in a laboratory, with its entire DNA removed to further eliminate risk of allergic reaction. A few comprehensive clinical studies have demonstrated its impressive safety profile, making hyaluronic acid-based volumizers more popular than collagen and other filler materials.
Fat transfer, meanwhile, also boasts impressive safety profile in the hands of a skilled injector. But compared to Restylane or any other type of dermal fillers, the technique has a higher technical difficulty due to the processes involved.
In this technique, donor fats are collected, then processed to eliminate impurities, and injected back into the body. As of this writing, there is no standardized procedure thus the survival rate of grafts may differ from doctor to doctor.
Proponents of fat transfer suggest that it provides more natural and softer results than most types of fillers because it adheres to the principle of replacing “likes with likes.” For this reason, it has become a common routine to combine this technique with facelift surgery.
The effects of fat transfer are expected to be near permanent, or at least 8-10 years, while Restylane or most types of hyaluronic acid-based fillers can only last 4-6 months. Simply put, the patient who resorts to dermal fillers must take into account the cost of maintenance.
However, fat transfer has its own caveat such as longer downtime—i.e., it will take about two weeks for most of the swelling to subside. As a result some doctors recommend dermal fillers to most of their patients unless they will have a simultaneous facelift surgery.
Dermal fillers, particularly hyaluronic acid-based products, are also ideal for first-time patients who are contemplating about the possibility of more permanent solutions like fat transfer or facial implants.
Hyaluronic acid-based products are reversible should the patient is not happy with the results. They can be immediately broken down by an injectable enzyme; however, this is not an option in fat transfer.
The issues involving Restylane vs fat transfer can be resolved by honest and transparent communication between a patient and her doctor.