Dermal fillers (also called soft tissue fillers) are a non-surgical injectable treatment used to restore facial volume, create youthful facial contours, add volume to lips, and smooth out and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and folds. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), dermal fillers are the most common non-surgical procedure after Botulinum Toxin, and are typically used as part of an ongoing skin maintenance routine.
Unlike Botulinum Toxin, dermal fillers do not affect muscle activity. Instead, these injectable products enhance appearance by adding volume. Some time ago, plastic surgeons discovered that volume loss occurs in the aging face. Volume loss can be as responsible for an aged appearance as skin laxity. In fact, soft tissue volume loss contributes to skin laxity. Rather than routinely tightening loose, wrinkled skin, plastic surgeons realized that adding volume often avoids, or at least postpones, more invasive procedures. A variety of fillers to choose from can soften facial folds and wrinkles, augment lips and cheeks, enhance facial contours, and even improve recessed scars.
There are currently many dermal filler products available on the market, the most popular of which are based on Hyaluronic Acid (HA), a substance that naturally exists in the human body, lubricating soft connective tissues, the skin, the eyes, and certain joints. The Hyaluronic Acid found in popular dermal fillers is a synthetic compound that acts similarly to the natural substance. It attracts water molecules and therefore acts like a cushion, propping up existing facial structures that have lost volume and elasticity as part of normal aging. By increasing the skin’s supply of Hyaluronic Acid, dermal fillers revitalize and add volume to the skin, smooth out wrinkles and lines, fill in hollowed out areas, and impart a softer, more youthful appearance.
To determine if you are a good candidate for injectable fillers, your doctor will review your health history during your consultation. After understanding your goals and desires, he will carefully examine your facial regions and create an individualized treatment plan and explain it to you. If you elect to proceed with treatment, your doctor will inject soft tissue fillers with very small needles. Local anesthetic or topical anesthetic cream can be used to minimize discomfort during the injections. Results are obvious immediately. Bruising is infrequent and any swelling is temporary. Botulinum Toxin can be added to most filler treatments. I recommend avoiding strenuous exercise just after treatment but patients may drive and return to work immediately.