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Changing Your Facial Shape

If you’re thinking about getting a cosmetic procedure to change how your face looks, you’ve probably heard these two words before: fillers and facial implants. 

Both implants and fillers change your face’s appearance by making your face look fuller, plumper, and more youthful. Both procedures are also safe. The option that’s better for you will depend on your preferences.

So what’s the difference between them? 


A filler is a safe gel that your provider injects into your face. You don’t need to have surgery, and the results can last for up to two years. Unlike Botox injections (which soften wrinkles by preventing your muscles from moving), fillers make the skin on your face plumper and more full.

Facial Implant

facial implant is a small device (made of silicon or another safe material) that your plastic surgeon puts underneath your skin during surgery. Facial implants last permanently. Examples include cheek implants, chin implants, and jawline implants.

8 Things to Help You Decide Between Plastic Surgery & Fillers

1. Number of Treatments

This is one of the biggest differences between getting an implant and getting fillers. With any type of implant (like cheek implants or jawline implants) you’ll have surgery one time—when your plastic surgeon puts the implant in your face.

But if you choose fillers, you may need more than one treatment to get the results you want. On average, most patients who get fillers have two to five treatments. Some fillers also last longer than others. For lip fillers, many people get one to two treatments every year so their lips can look plump.

2. How Long Results Last

This is another big difference between facial implants and fillers. Results from a facial implant last forever. Results from fillers, on the other hand, usually last for six months to two years.

3. Length of Procedure

Getting fillers and implants are both fairly fast. It will take your doctor five to 10 minutes to inject fillers into your face. If you choose a facial implant, the surgery can last one to three hours, depending on the type of implant you get.

4. Anesthesia

Getting an implant requires surgery. For this reason, your surgeon will give you anesthesia before your procedure. If you can’t stomach the idea of being put to sleep with anesthesia, then fillers may be a better choice for you.

5. Recovery Times

Recovery times for fillers are just a couple hours. But recovery time after getting a facial implant is longer. Most patients spend three to six weeks recovering before they’re fully healed.

If it’s extremely important that you don’t have any down time after your procedure (like you can’t miss work, for example), then fillers may be a better option.

6. Cost

Facial implants are more expensive than fillers because facial implants give you lifelong results, and because surgery is involved. You can make a consultation with a facial plastic surgeon to discuss costs.

7. Bruising and Swelling

Most patients have very little bruising and swelling after getting filler injections. But because you’ll need surgery for a facial implant, you may have mild to moderate bruising and swelling for a few weeks.

8. Reversing the Results

Most people who get fillers and implants want the results to last forever. But if you change your mind and want your face to look different, you will need another surgery to remove your facial implant.

Fillers, on the other hand, wear out on their own after two years.

Cheek Implants vs. Fillers: Which Is Better?

Both cheek implants and fillers make your cheeks look fuller, more plump, and more round. Making the decision between a cheek implant or fillers is very similar to the process described above. It’s important to weigh your preferences and goals when making a decision.

Making Your Decision

Both fillers and implants give you immediate results. Ultimately, the procedure that’s best for you will depend on your preferences about:

  • cost,
  • recovery time,
  • number of treatments, and
  • how long you want the results to last.

Our facial plastic surgery team has special expertise with helping patients get the results they want. Having a consultation with one of our surgeons can also help you make your decision.

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