There are currently scores of injectable treatments on the market to tackle a wide range of cosmetic concerns with impressive results. Not everyone is eager to leap into a surgical procedure and some would rather dip their toes into the water with a “liquid facelift.” Dermal fillers and injectables can be used to address various creases and shallow contours of the face without the downtime of an invasive procedure. With so many options, it is hard to determine what injectable material is right for your needs.
One popular choice, hyaluronic acid, is a substance natural to the body and found in soft connective tissue and joint fluid. Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane and other brand names are used to treat acne scars, most wrinkles and creases, and the border of poorly defined lips. Results can last 6-9 months.
Calcium hydroxylapatite, the heaviest filler, is made of calcium-based microspheres suspended in a water-based gel. It is used only in the deepest creases and folds. It can also add fullness to cheeks and other contours. Known by the brand name Radiesse, this filler can remain for up to a year.
A synthetic substance, polylactic acid, does not produce immediate results. Its purpose is to stimulate the body’s own natural production of collagen. Sculptra and New-Fill are ideal for use in laugh lines, nasolabial folds, and to augment thin lips. The results will appear gradually over a few months and last for 18 months to 2 years.
Autologous fat transfers are excellent filling materials because the fat is harvested directly from the patient. The risk of allergic reaction and rejection is eliminated, but the procedure is more extensive due to the element of liposuction. Not all fat cells survive the transfer and are reabsorbed by the body. The surgeon may overfill the area for this reason. The cells that do live are fairly permanent, but can change with weight fluctuations.
Botox, the most popular wrinkle reducing substance, is not actually a filler. It is a material derived from botulinum toxin which has been purified for safe use. Botox blocks nerve signals, preventing contraction of the muscles. This relaxes dynamic wrinkles such as frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead furrows, and skin bands on the neck. Botox is regularly used in combination with dermal fillers for the best facial rejuvenation. Most patients find this solution to last from 3-6 months.
Botox and injectable fillers are only temporary. Follow-up appointments will be needed if you want the radiant results to continue. How long an injection lasts can vary from person to person. The best way to find out which injectable options will work well for you is to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon. There are many factors that can affect your decision, allergies to certain substances being one of them. For more information on dermal fillers, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ website.
Dr. Michael L. Schwartz is a renowned facial plastic surgeon and ENT specialist located in West Palm Beach. Contact him today at 561-228-5888.