Generally performed as outpatient procedures, cosmetic filler injections are extremely safe and effective for filling in wrinkles and scars, removing frown lines or rejuvenating sagging skin.
The key is making sure you get the proper filler for your specific needs―and that you have reasonable expectations.
Some fillers are primarily used for shallow surface flaws while others are injected deeper under the skin to fill in more substantial folds or depressions. Some fillers can also be used to increase the fullness of the lips or cheeks.
The newer dermal fillers on the market even assist in stimulating creating new collagen growth to prevent future flaws.
Whatever the procedure, there’s a product out there for it these days, although the most common areas treated are still smile lines around the nose and mouth, fine lines above the mouth, frown lines between the eyes, and acne scars.
The materials used in dermal fillers vary from basic human fat and animal-based collagens to hyaluronic acid and enhanced microsphere-added hydroxylapatite.
Different materials induce different reactions within the body, so the amount of time the injections last, potential side effects, recovery times and how often you’ll have to return for treatments will also vary.
Dermal fillers also come in a variety of thicknesses and brand names, with some more suited for certain parts of the face or body than others. In general, dermal fillers fall into three categories:
As a rule, the thicker the filler, the deeper it’s injected under the skin and the larger the folds it is meant to fill.
There are also two general classifications for the duration of dermal fillers, temporary or permanent.
For the sake of this page though, we’ll stick to the temporary facial fillers which require repeated injections (some less than others) to maintain.
For those interested in Botox (and its counterpart Dysport), it’s important to note these are not technically “fillers” but more muscle paralyzers or “wrinkle-freezers.”
“Wrinkle-freezers” are made up of primarily of Botulinum Toxin A, a substance that essentially paralyzes the muscles around the injection point to decrease the amount of current wrinkles and prevent further wrinkles.
Botox is the best known of the two having been around longer, and is primarily used between the eyebrows or on the crow’s feet around the eyes.
Dysport is Botox’s newest competitor, only recently approved by the FDA. Like Botox, it has botulinum toxin A as its primary ingredient.
The main difference is Dysport takes effect a little bit quicker (1-2 days instead of 3-7), is slightly cheaper overall and spreads out a little bit further than Botox.
Both last about the same time - three to four months.
For more on Botox and Dysport, visit our Botox page here.
If you have any questions about Botox injections or would like a free consultation with a Botox specialist in your area, fill in the form on the right-hand side of this page and one of our experts will contact you!
Fat transfers were one of the first dermal filler techniques and have been used for well over 100 years to fill in various forms of facial lines and folds.
Today, though, fat transfer is not as common for the face as newer products have superseded it in terms of duration and quality.
Successful fat transfer is also very dependent on the technique of the surgeon to ensure as many fat cells survive as possible, making results for many people very inconsistent.
Still, in certain cases fat transfer from other parts of the body can be used to fill in some facial lines and folds as well as adding fullness.
Fat injections had been commonly used to rejuvenate the lips, for bags under the eyes, to lessen the lines around the mouth or fill out the cheeks or chin.
Collagen Fillers come in two basic forms, bovine and human
Bovine (cow) collagen was one of the first forms of collagen to be used for dermal fillers. Bovine collagen is a naturally occurring protein that is found in the skin, bones and muscles of cows.
This collagen is so similar to human collagen it can be used fairly seamlessly (although with some treatment beforehand naturally) to fill in fine lines and correct scars.
Zyderm and Zyplast are the most common brand names for bovine collagen fillers.
Zyderm I is used for the treatment of fine lines and lesser scars, while Zyderm II is meant for longer, deeper scars. Zyplast is used to get longer-lasting results for more damaged skin.
Since bovine collagen is a protein, it will break down in the body over time. Generally, the results last from 3-6 months. Once the collagen fades, the treatment can be repeated.
There are a few instances of allergic reactions to bovine collagen injections. Those reactions can include redness at the injection site, hives and chest pain.
During the consultation process, your doctor will recommend you do a skin test to see if you are allergic before proceeding with a bovine collagen injection. Read more about Collagen Fillers.
Created from real human collagen, this filler is a normal part of all skin and is naturally absorbed by the human body.
Human collagen is best used for fine wrinkles, especially those found around the mouth, and it typically lasts 3 – 4 months. For continued effects, repeated treatments are necessary. The effects are immediate in onset however.
Cosmoplast, Cosmoderm, Cymetra, Fascian, and Autologen are the most common human collagen products on the market.
Hyaluronic acid is part of the connective tissue of all human skin and several dermal fillers have been developed over the years with hyaluronic acid as their base.
These fillers also stimulate collagen production in the skin, allowing for better, longer-lasting results and a longer period of time between injections.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are excellent for plumping up lines and wrinkles because they attract water and are ideal in correcting nasolabial folds, thin lips, wrinkles (especially above the lips), reducing under-eye circles and filling out the chin or cheeks.
Both Restylane and Juvederm are popular hyaluronic acid fillers. The difference between the two is the consistency of the gel, and preference depends on both the patient and the doctor.
For more information on each, check out our filler chart.
Perlane is a "mid-dermal" hyaluronic acid filler product. As a sister product to Restylane, Perlane is designed for more pronounced facial folds and wrinkles such as those on the sides of the mouth.
The duration of effect averages between 6 – 9 months for Restylane and Juvederm and 9-12 months for Perlane and Juvederm Ultra.
For continued effect, repeated treatments are also necessary with Perlane.
See fillers chart for more information.
Another hyaluronic acid derivative used mainly for breast augmentation procedures is called Macrolane. Because it also absorbs into the body like other fillers, Macrolane is an alternative to chemical implants.
Q-Med, the manufacturer of Macrolane, has decided to discontinue the promotion of Macrolane for breast enhancement until further notice. There are no safety concerns with Macrolane as a product. This decision has been taken due to the lack of consensus amongst radiologists regarding examination of breasts treated with injectable products.
Marketed under the brand name Radiesse, calcium hydroxylapatite is physically larger in particle size than other dermal fillers.
Basically, tiny calcium-based microspheres form a “scaffold” to support and stimulate the growth of collagen. Over time, the microspheres gradually break down and are safely and naturally absorbed by the body.
Radiesse does more than temporarily fill-in facial folds and wrinkles and can be used to restore facial volume for a more youthful look.
Radiesse also works to stimulate new collagen production while adding volume and lift. It’s best used for moderate to severe wrinkles, nasolabial lines, facial fat loss and volume loss in the cheeks.
Duration of effect is usually 12-15 months in most patients.
For a more detailed look at all the various fillers, check out our chart.
To learn more about facial fillers, botox & injectables please fill in the contact form below, or call us today at the number found in the upper right corner of this page. You will then get the option to schedule a free consultation with a Board Certified Surgeon in Your local area. The majority of surgeons have financing plans available to offer their customers.