One of the topics I get asked about most often by patients who are curious about cosmetic procedures is the use of fillers. Many people don’t really understand what filler is or they may have negative association of people being “over done” with filler.
When injected by a professional filler is very safe* and can serve as a key part of an overall program to restore a more youthful appearance by replacing volume in the face that is lost through aging.
In 1981 bovine collagen became the first FDA approved substance for soft tissue augmentation. Collagen remained the only commercially available filler until 2003, when the first hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal filler was approved. This was a breakthrough because HA fillers are easier to use and demonstrate longer-lasting results than collagen.
HA is a sugar that occurs naturally in the body and the effects of HA filler can be reversed (dissolved) simply by injecting a substance called hyaluronidase. In recent years HA fillers have continued to evolve and data suggests that HA fillers can stimulate a biological response to induce production of the patient’s own collagen.
The majority of the fillers I use in my practice are HA based. Commonly I will use the newer cross-linked fillers for their volumzing properties. These products are often used to address deeper wrinkles that cannot be treated with Botox alone. They are also used to bring back contours of the face, especially in the cheeks and chin, which flatten as we age.
The use of too much filler, especially when placed incorrectly, can begin to create an unnatural look. However, when an appropriate amount is used in carefully selected areas, filler provides an essential foundation to minimize the effects of aging. In general filler treatment can last for up to 12 months, but depending on the type of filler used and location of injection the duration may vary.
If you are interested in learning more about filler or booking a consultation to discuss cosmetic options please contact my office.
*Note on safety: In May 2015 the FDA issued a warning about serious complications if filler is inadvertently injected into blood vessels. I have researched and authored two papers on complications that can arise from the use of fillers. With a solid understanding of facial anatomy and proper protocols in place the risk is very low.