Over time, our faces change in many ways. Lines and wrinkles develop, lips become thinner and skin may begin to sag. Hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers, such as Restylane and Juvederm, are non-surgical, instant solutions to these common problems.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a sugar molecule found naturally in our bodies that delivers nutrients and hydration to the skin and acts as a cushioning agent. Over time, the amount of natural hyaluronic acid in our skin decreases due to sun exposure, natural aging and genetics. HA dermal fillers are injectable gels made from synthetic HA that can help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and restore volume to the skin. Injecting synthetic HA under the epidermis of the skin increases the skin’s volume by replacing the support layers that have been gradually lost and enhances the skin’s hydration by attracting water.
There are different types of dermal fillers to correct different areas of volume depletion in the face. They are categorized based on the amount of cross linking (or how solid) the gel molecules are formed. When injected into the skin, the gel acts as a cushion to support the tissues that have lost volume and elasticity due to aging or simply to enhance the volume of areas such as naturally thin lips. The more cross linked the HA is, the thicker the gel. One would want a less cross-linked product, such as Restylane-L, Volbella or Juvederm Ultra XC, injected into areas such as the lips or the lines around the mouth and a higher cross linked product, such as Voluma or Restylane Lyft to replace lost volume in the cheeks or mid face. The more cross linked the product is, the longer it will last. HA dermal fillers in the cheeks/mid face typically last up to eighteen months. Those injected to the lips are less cross-linked and last up to one year. It is very important to choose an experienced injector that can guide you to the right product and customize a treatment plan for your specific concerns.
Dermal filler may be right for you if you are looking for an FDA approved, non-surgical, in office procedure that will provide instant results to:
The first step to your treatment is to sit down and go over the areas of concern with your injector. Once your treatment plan is determined, a topical numbing cream will be placed on the area to be injected. This will decrease the initial discomfort from the injections. Most products, such as Restylane-L or Juvederm XC, have a local anesthetic called lidocaine mixed into the gel to decrease discomfort during and immediately following the injections. The area will then be thoroughly cleaned right before the start of the treatment. A very fine needle specifically designed for the filler is then used to inject small amounts of the gel into the areas at a time. I usually give patients a mirror so that we can look at the results together and decide when the desired results are achieved. The results can be seen immediately but will gradually improve over the next few days as the filler settles and attracts water to the skin’s surface. The injected area may be pink, tender, swollen or bruised immediately following the treatment. The lips tend to swell and bruise the most out of all areas on the face. These side effects resolve typically in a few days but may last a week. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and results will last up to a year.
Many patients want to do something to soften the lines on their face or subtly enhance their lips but are hesitant to try filler for the fear of looking “overdone”. I often try to explain to my patients that the end result depends on who is doing the treatment and the injection technique, not the actual product. Just like when you go in for a haircut, it is the stylist, not the actual scissors that determines if you will end up with a great haircut. Having an experienced injector and voicing your treatment goals will allow you to achieve the desired look with the right product without looking obvious or overdone.
As we get older, a combination of our lifestyle (including diet and sun exposure), gravity, and genetics will begin to take its toll on our face. The collagen, elastic, and fat in our face begin to break down, which can make our faces look gaunt and tired. Wrinkles begin to form in areas where we use the muscles repeatedly to make expressions. The most common areas for expression lines are the nasolabial folds, “marionette lines” that run from the corners of the mouth to the chin, and wrinkles between the eyebrows.
Dermal fillers will fill in those sunken or creased areas, returning your face to a more youthful look, and making you look more energized. The results are not permanent, so if you decide you don’t like them, you simply don’t repeat the treatment. If you want to look younger but aren’t ready to commit to plastic surgery, dermal fillers are for you.
During your consultation for dermal fillers, our Physician Assistant Michele Gittings or Sherri Anderson will review your medical history to make sure you aren’t on any medications or undergoing any treatments that might interfere with the injections. She will evaluate your skin and help you decide which filler is right for you.
The P.A. will also go over the risks, and have you sign a consent.
Dermal filler injections are usually a quick and easy procedure that you can do in the doctor’s office while you’re on your lunch break, or whenever you can find an hour or two in your schedule. You won’t be put under anesthesia, so you can drive yourself home after the injections.
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the injection site. Some fillers are also mixed with painkiller to help with discomfort.
The injections are then administered, following the marks the injector made. When she is done, the marks will be removed. Some patients might be given a cold compress to help with any swelling.
There is no real downtime after a dermal filler treatment, and you can return to your normal routine immediately after your appointment. You might notice some redness, bruising, or swelling, which will dissipate within 48 hours. You can use makeup to cover up any redness immediately after the appointment.
Avoid rubbing or massaging the injection site because this can cause the filler to shift position. If you are getting an injection of human fat, there will be an “overfilled” look that will begin to fade within a few days. Your recovery will be different if you had liposuction to harvest the donor fat.
Once the filler settles, the results will last up to 12-17 months.
Dermal fillers were the second-most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment in 2011 (just after Botox injections), with over 1.2 million treatments given. There are very few complications associated with the procedure. The risks that do exist include infection, bruising, swelling, itching, migration of the filler, rash, or dissatisfaction with the results.
The best way to avoid complications is to follow all your pre- and post-operative care instructions.
HA dermal fillers are a great treatment to restore the youthful appearance of the face or enhance the volume of what is already there through a non-surgical, in office treatment with results lasting up to a year. Contact a local experienced injector for a customized treatment plan to give you the natural looking results you desire.