Sculptra vs. Fat Transfer 

By Brian Arslanian, MD

Sculptra and fat transfer are two cosmetic procedures that restore areas of volume loss and enhance your body’s natural contours. Most cosmetic procedures focus on eliminating wrinkles or minimizing the appearance of fine lines. However, not many of these resolve common areas of volume loss like sunken under eyes, shapeless cheekbones, and an undefined jawline. Along with restoring the youthful contours of your face, Sculptra and fat transfer can also be used to enhance the shape and projection of the buttocks. But these two procedures have different mechanisms of action, different procedural requirements, and different recovery guidelines. These differences might make one better suited to you than the other. 

For example, while Sculptra is a simpler procedure, its effects are more subtle than a fat transfer and typically only last two to five years. On the other hand, a fat transfer can create dramatic, long-term effects, but not all patients have enough spare fat to create the effect they desire. In those cases, Sculptra may be a good alternative!

Dr. Brian “HotLanta” Arslanian has helped hundreds of patients choose between Sculptra or fat transfer. During a confidential consultation, Dr. Arslanian learns about your aesthetic goals and creates a personalized plan. If you are interested in seeing if Sculptra or fat transfer is right for you, schedule a consultation today. If you would like to reach us directly, call our front desk at (678) 894-9200

What Is Sculptra?

Like other dermal fillers, Sculptra is simply injected into the dermis. But, while other fillers bind with water molecules, Sculptra induces local tissue retraction. Sculptra contains poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA): a naturally occurring compound that organically absorbs into soft tissue over time. When this compound causes tissue retraction, the skin’s collagen fibers begin redeveloping. Collagen is an essential protein necessary for smooth, wrinkle-free skin. Once inside the skin, the PLLA compound triggers new collagen growth that doesn’t stop at eliminating wrinkles. The new collagen gradually fills in areas of volume loss,[1] allowing you to see results that continually improve after your Sculptra treatment. 

What Is A Fat Transfer?

Unwanted fat can linger around your abdomen, legs, bra line, chest, chin, and many other places. While many turn to diet and exercise to slim these areas down, most find limited results – if any! For this stubborn fat, Dr. Arslanian uses advanced liposuction techniques and technologies to optimize fat extraction and shorten recovery time. 

A fat transfer procedure begins with Dr. Arslanian extracting fat cells from your stubborn areas and purifying them. Next, he readies the cells for relocation. A fat transfer takes fat from one unwanted contour and uses it to boost and accentuate another. By using your own organic tissue, a fat transfer allows for natural results without the risk of allergic reactions. 

Treating Facial Volume Loss

facial volume loss atlanta

You might’ve already noticed different areas on your face losing their youthful volume. Volume loss is a common side effect of aging. It often leads to sunken under-eyes, flat cheekbones, and an undefined jawline. Like most superficial signs of aging, volume loss is in part caused by collagen loss. Collagen is a tensile protein fiber that keeps your skin tight. When your natural collagen supply dwindles with age, your skin loses elasticity, causing the underlying layer of fat to shift. Your bones also rely on a consistent supply of collagen. Without a suitable influx of collagen, your facial bones slowly regress inwards, exacerbating the appearance of volume loss. While volume loss happens in men, it is largely seen among postmenopausal women because estrogen plays a decisive role in bone resorption.[2]

Sculptra

When Sculptra is injected strategically into areas of volume loss, the PLLA compound revives collagen growth. Over the next eight months to two years, this surge of new collagen leads to new soft tissue in the treated areas.[3] As the collagen growth continues, the new tissue adds volume to these areas. Sculptra is ideal for patients who want to see subtle results appear gradually, and results typically last from two to five years. It’s also a good way to increase volume for those who don’t have enough unwanted fat for a fat transfer. 

Facial Fat Transfer

On the other hand, a facial fat transfer achieves results almost instantly. During a procedure, Dr. Arslanian injects the donor fat cells into volume loss areas. Because it is your organic tissue, it’ll respond by making a healthy new home in the treatment area. After the fat cells settle into their new location and establish a blood supply, they will respond to changes in diet and exercise like normal adipose tissue. A facial fat transfer is ideal for those who want natural results fast. It is also for those who prefer using natural solutions as opposed to chemical compounds. 

Redefining Your Curves

Sculptra and fat transfer can both add definition and volume to other contours around your body. Some of the most popular curves to enhance are the buttocks. A noticeable, round butt has always been in vogue. Using the latest cosmetic innovations and products like fat transfer and Sculptra, Dr. Arslanian has given hundreds of patients an enviable gluteus maximus. 

Peach Pop Booty®

Known as the Peach Pop Booty, a Sculptra butt lift is a non-surgical way to enhance your backside’s contours. First, Dr. Arslanian strategically injects Sculptra around your butt. Then, over the next few weeks and months, the PLLA compound instigates collagen growth, expanding the density of soft tissue around the buttocks. This natural uptick in gluteal tissue is what gives the butt its lifted appearance, and can improve the appearance of cellulite. Patients routinely schedule Sculptra sessions every 18-24 months to maintain their Peach Pop appearance. 

Brazilian Butt Lift

Perhaps the most popular fat transfer procedure, a Brazilian butt lift has gained worldwide popularity for giving men and women a bigger, rounder, and perkier backside. First, Dr. Arslanian takes the donor fat cells and relocates them to subcutaneous fat stores around your butt. These fat cells give the entire area an enhanced and lifted appearance. He then massages the skin to spread fat cells out evenly. After you have fully recovered, you will see a totally rejuvenated backside. 

Do I Qualify For…

If you are interested in either Sculptra or fat transfer, the first step is to schedule a personal consultation at our Atlanta offices. Here, Dr. Arslanian and his team of aestheticians will help you determine which procedure is best for you. Those who qualify for Sculptra might not qualify for fat transfer or vice versa. So, it is important to seek an expert’s opinion. 

Sculptra

Sculptra is a simple, non-surgical procedure, so you don’t have any downtime. This injectable is ideal for those who lead busy lives and don’t have room in their schedules for long recovery times. 

Fat Transfer

On the other hand, a fat transfer does require anesthesia, so those with certain comorbidities might not qualify. This means that patients need to be at a healthy, stable weight before their procedure, and have enough body fat to harvest. Also, those who smoke will be asked to stop during preparatory and recovery periods.  

So, Which One Is Right For You?

Both of these procedures boost your booty beyond what exercise and diet can offer. Both of these procedures restore volume loss around your face. But, those are really their only similarities. The differences between these two procedures are what might make one better suited for you than the other. Those differences include:

Procedural Differences

A fat transfer is a surgical procedure; a Sculptra procedure is not. Those who choose a fat transfer opt-in for a more involved procedure. A fat transfer involves more preparations before surgery, and minor incisions are made for the liposculpture device. However, that difference between the two comes with a trade-off. Sculptra patients see their results appear gradually over the next several months, while a facial fat transfer or Brazilian butt lift provides results almost instantly. After you have fully recovered, you can better enjoy your elevated backside contours. 

Recovery 

After your Sculptra session, you are free to resume your daily routine without any hindrances. Your results will appear gradually and the treated areas will only feel tender for the next couple of hours. On the other hand, recovery after a fat transfer is longer and more limiting. For instance, after a Brazilian butt lift, your thighs and buttocks are wrapped in a compression garment. This is meant to keep the relocated fat cells in place and apply a certain amount of pressure to accelerate healing. During recovery from a Brazilian butt lift, you can’t lie or sit down on your backside. This is a crucial aspect in choosing between Sculptra or fat transfer for butt enhancement. 

Your Consultation With Dr. HotLanta

fat transfer atlanta

If this is your first time at our offices, we will begin with a new patient intake interview and a physical examination. We’ll learn about your recent medical history as well as your desired results. Then, we will explain the notable differences between Sculptra and fat transfer and then help you decide which is best for your aesthetic goals. At the end of your consultation, we will have configured a personalized treatment plan designed to achieve those goals. We’ll also give you a detailed list of pre-and post-operative care instructions. 

What’s The Difference In Cost Between Sculptra & Fat Transfer?

The cost of Sculptra and fat transfer varies with each patient. We will discuss and determine the cost of your treatment during your initial consultation. If you liked this blog, be sure to check out our others! Along with Sculptra and fat transfer, we put Sculptra up against Qwo to see which one is best for you. Click here to read. If you would like to learn more about your treatment options, contact us online or give us a call at (678) 894-9200.

References

  1. Bauer, U., & Graivier, M. H. (2011). Optimizing injectable poly-L-lactic acid administration for soft tissue augmentation: The rationale for three treatment sessions. The Canadian journal of plastic surgery = Journal canadien de chirurgie plastique, 19(3), e22–e27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3269336/
  2. Windhager, S., Mitteroecker, P., Rupić, I., Lauc, T., Polašek, O., & Schaefer, K. (2019). Facial aging trajectories: A common shape pattern in male and female faces is disrupted after menopause. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 169(4), 678–688. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23878
  3. Bauer, U., & Graivier, M. H. (2011). Optimizing injectable poly-L-lactic acid administration for soft tissue augmentation: The rationale for three treatment sessions. The Canadian journal of plastic surgery = Journal canadien de chirurgie plastique, 19(3), e22–e27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3269336/

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