Injectable fillers are gel-like substances that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth fine lines and deep creases, or enhance facial contours. Over the last few years, more than 1 million Americans annually have chosen this popular facial rejuvenation treatment, which can be a cost-effective way to look younger without surgery or downtime.
While dermal fillers are casually known as “wrinkle fillers,” they can do much more than just smooth out wrinkles. Here are a few of the common issues dermal fillers can help address:
Injectable fillers, such as Restylane®, Juvederm®, Belotero® and Radiesse®, work in a different way than Botox®. Botox® diminishes and eliminates the appearance of facial wrinkles by relaxing the muscles that cause them, while injectable fillers add volume in the area underneath the skin to reduce the depth of wrinkles, lines and folds, and can change the contour of injected areas. Fillers allow your skin to still move, and typically provide a slightly more natural look than Botox®.
Depending on the desired result, a combination of Botox® and fillers may be used. In fact, several types of fillers may be used in the same appointment depending on the location and depth of injection. Dr. Liu has extensive experience with all the injectables she uses in her practice, and can craft the optimal combination for the best result.
Definitely not! Different fillers, even those made by the same company, have different properties and applications. While the different products fall under the same general category of injectable fillers, an experienced physician will use the product that will provide the best result. Dr. Liu will select the appropriate filler or combination of fillers depending on your goals. Below is an overview of some of the more popular fillers in use today.
Belotero® can be considered a “starter” filler, since it is very light weight and can be injected just below the skin without causing unevenness or bumps. It is a great choice for injection where skin is thin (since it won’t cause excess swelling), such as the lips, mouth and around the eyes.
There are several formulations of Juvederm® for cosmetic use:
Radiesse® is used to diminish the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and facial folds and hollowing. It is the thickest filler available, so it is often used as a non-invasive alternative to implant surgery to provide augmentation to the chin, temples, or cheeks. Those with mouth or jaw defects or loss of volume in the hands can also benefit from Radiesse® treatment. It is made of tiny calcium-based microspheres suspended in a water-based gel. The calcium microspheres are similar to minerals found naturally in the body so allergy testing is not required. Over time, the body absorbs the microspheres and gel, leaving behind only natural collagen. Radiesse® typically lasts longer than other fillers, but cannot be dissolved like the hyaluronic acid gel fillers.
There are several variations of Restylane® for cosmetic use:
Injections are done by hand in Dr. Liu’s office. By using a small needle or cannula and precise injection techniques, Dr. Liu can deliver cosmetic fillers with minimal discomfort. Dr. Liu usually provides topical anesthesia for filler injections and also offers local anesthesia, although some patients choose to forgo both. Once the skin has been cleansed, Dr. Liu will inject each targeted area with the selected filler. The entire treatment session lasts less than an hour.
Injectable fillers are known as a “lunchtime procedure” because patients can return to their daily activities, including work, immediately. There are no incisions, sutures, or bandages required. Side effects are mild, and may include bruising, swelling, or redness around the injection site, as well as minor headaches. Patients must avoid applying pressure to the treated area for twelve hours, as this can cause the filler to migrate to other areas.
It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of injections can vary depending on what a patient needs and what the desired outcome is. More importantly, many patients come to Dr. Liu believing that they need a certain procedure, only to find out during the consultation that a different procedure will provide a better outcome. Dr. Liu believes that patients should be able to speak with their physician before experiencing any out of pocket expense, which is why consultations with Dr. Liu are complimentary.
Injectable fillers are one of the safest cosmetic surgery procedures available, but there are still medical considerations to take into account. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should typically not use fillers. Some bruising and swelling may appear but should be gone within a week or two. During this time, sunbathing and exposure to cold should be avoided, as these conditions put extra stress on the recovering skin.
As with all medical procedures, there are some possible complications. While rare, you should call your doctor if you experience:
Injectable fillers are not permanent, but advances in the technology, and appropriate administration by your physician can help extend the life of the treatment. Touchups may be needed after a few months in areas that are more prone to movement, such as the lips. Also, some patients desire a touchup treatment two weeks after their initial procedure. Typical injections last anywhere from 6 – 24 months. After this time, you may choose to undergo another treatment, and since each subsequent treatment tends to last longer than the previous one, your results can be easily maintained by seeing Dr. Liu regularly. If you don’t choose to have additional injections, the fillers will absorb naturally into your skin, and leave no trace of the injection.