What Every Patient Should Know About Facial Fillers

March 10 2015

Facial fillers are often a patient’s first foray into plastic surgery, and for good reason. They are relatively quick and painless, are done in-office, and require little to no downtime. Fillers rejuvenate your appearance, combat early signs of aging and can postpone the need or desire for a face lift when performed regularly. It’s no wonder that two of the top five minimally invasive plastic surgery procedures of 2013 were facial injections, with approximately 8.5 million procedures performed.

Facial fillers have three basic purposes:

  • They reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
  • They restore volume to sunken areas. As we age, facial fat loses volume and moves downward – especially around the temples, cheeks, eyes, and mouth.
  • They add fullness to desired areas, such as plumping the lips.

There are a wide variety of facial fillers on the market, and each type of filler has an area of best use. Softer fillers work well for areas that need to maintain a natural feel (like the lips), while sturdier ones may be used in areas like the cheekbones. Some of the most common types follow.

  • Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular dermal fillers due to its longevity and its compatibility with the human body (the substance is found naturally in almost all living tissues). Well-known brand names are Restylane and Juvederm.
  • Synthetic fillers are lab-created, and as such found nowhere naturally in the human body. Although they last longer than hyaluronic acid fillers (and a few can be permanent) there is also an increased risk of side effects. Popular products include Radiesse and Silicone.
  • Collagen was the first type of dermal filler on the market, and the only FDA approved filler for over a decade. While its popularity has waned due to some shortcomings addressed by newer types of fillers, collagen is still used to fill scars and plump lips. Common formulas are Zyplast and Zyderm.
  • Autologous fat is harvested from somewhere else on the body (typically the belly or buttocks) and injected into the face. Although less common than other types of fillers, this procedure is gaining popularity. However, the process is more extensive (since it is actually two procedures, and one of them is essentially liposuction). It requires an extremely experienced practitioner.
  • onabotulinumtoxinA (popularly known as Botox) is not technically a filler, but it is a type of facial injection and often performed in tandem with dermal fillers. This substance works by paralyzing facial muscles and preventing them from contracting, in turn causing wrinkles to relax. It is used on forehead lines, in between the eyebrows, and on frown lines.

Regardless of whether you are looking to erase crow’s feet, relax frown lines, fill the nasolabial folds, or ease marionette lines, there is a facial filler that will accomplish your goals. Each type of facial filler differs in its formula, longevity, feel, and final appearance. Based on your desired treatment area, your plastic surgeon will determine which type of facial filler is right for you during your initial consultation.


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Categories: Blog, Injectables