Injectable Cosmetic Fillers

You’ve seen the advertisements, you’ve glanced at articles. Maybe your best friend suddenly has a more youthful appearance.  You’ve considered using injectable fillers to reduce facial wrinkles. But you have questions. I hope this blog will serve as a useful guide for you.

Shortly after the invention of the syringe in the 1800’s, physicians starting using chemical agents for facial augmentation.  The first injectable filling agent was paraffin, but that caused complications. Others have followed with similar problems.  In the 1980’s though, public demand for cosmetic fillers prompted researchers to develop safer, more effective treatments. Today, many of the latest fillers are made with hyaluronic acid, Poly-L-lactic acid, calcium, collagen and other materials. Some of these substances occur naturally in the skin, but are produced in the lab from a variety of sources. These fillers all achieve similar results, but there are some differences.

  • How quickly filler responds
  • Length of time it is effective
  • Temporary or permanent

As with any procedure there are side effects and risks. Your doctor may recommend prior testing, based on your medical history and the type of material in the injection. I encourage you to click on the FDA links I have provided to get additional details on each product, precluding medical conditions and of course side effects and risks.

Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid
*Response time: Immediate
*Length of effectiveness: 6 months +

BELOTERO BALANCE® is the newest filler on the market. It was approved by the FDA in late 2011. It has unique properties that allow it to adapt within the skin for soft and even correction. This product binds with water, and  will immediately diminish smile lines around the mouth as well as delicate areas such as fine lines above the lips and around the eyes. It is also useful for the hollows under the eyes. Hyaluronic acid injections fill the space between collagen and elastin fibers within the skin, replenishing natural volume and presenting a more youthful appearance. For more detailed information on BELOTERO BALANCE® please click here to visit the FDA link.

Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid
*Response time: Immediate
*Length of effectiveness: Up to 18 months  with a follow-up treatment

The Restylane Regimen is a treatment plan that involves an initial treatment and a follow-up treatment 4 1/2 or nine months later. It can also be used for full correction, and is helpful in reducing deep folds. If you use this filler, you must have follow-up treatment(s) to achieve results for up to 18 months. For additional information, please click on this FDA link.

Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid
*Response Time: Immediate
*Length of effectiveness:  Up to one year

As you can see on this blog, there are a variety of HA based fillers. JUVÉDERM® XC differs in the formulation; a special smooth-gel structure that holds up over a longer period of time. It’s FDA approved to last up to one year with a single treatment. This is used often for lip enhancement. For additional information, please click on this FDA link.

Sculptra® Aesthetic
Ingredient: Poly-L-lactic Acid
*Response Time: Gradual
*Length of effectiveness: Two years +

Sculptra® Aesthetic has famously been called a “liquid face lift.” This product does not work overnight,  but over time you will see a difference.  Once injected into the skin, the prompts the body to create collagen; diminishing wrinkles and creating a more youthful appearance.It is especially useful for replacing volume lost through aging, cheek and temple hollows for example. Sculptra® Aesthetic is made of poly L lactic acid (PLLA), a synthetic biodegradable polymer that is both reabsorbable and usually bio compatible. This synthetic polymer has been used for years to dissolve stitches. For additional information, please click on this FDA link.

RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler
Ingredient: Calcium Hydroxylapatite
*Response Time: Immediate                                                                                                      *Length of effectiveness: One year +

RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler is made of tiny calcium-based microspheres which are suspended in a natural, water-based gel. These calcium based microspheres are similar to minerals found naturally in your body so allergy testing is generally not required. Over time, your body absorbs these tiny microspheres and gel, and leaves behind collagen. This is commonly used for cheek enhancement.  For additional information, please click on this FDA link.

Ingredient: Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres in a collagen base with lidocaine.
*Response Time: Immediate
*Length of Effectiveness: Permanent

Artefil is an option if you are looking for a more permanent solution, and your doctor feels you are a good candidate. It’s FDA approved for nasolabial folds (smile lines).  Artefill is made up of microsphere enhanced bovine collagen with lidocaine for comfort. Unlike other fillers, the tiny microspheres are not absorbed by your body. They remain intact and provide structural support to keep  wrinkles from returning.  For additional information, click on this FDA link.

BOTOX® Cosmetic                                                                                                          Ingredient: Clostridium botulinum (botulinum toxin type  A)                                              *Response Time: Within days
*Length of Effectiveness: Up to 4 months

You may have also heard about BOTOX® Cosmetic. Unlike the others, this popular injectable is not a filler.  BOTOX® Cosmetic is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes food poisoning. But used cosmetically, it paralyzes the muscle, and reduces wrinkles. BOTOX® Cosmetic is FDA approved for moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines)   To learn more about BOTOX® Cosmetic and ALL injectable fillers, click on this FDA link.

I hope this overview of various fillers has been helpful.  Please click on this link to contact my office with any additional questions regarding fillers.  During November & December 2012, all cosmetic services and products are on special.

*Response time and length of effectiveness information provided by manufacturers.

About Christine Brown, M.D.

Dr. Christine Brown operates a leading dermatology practice in Dallas, Texas. She understands the importance of good skin care and is committed to providing you with high-quality care in a pleasant and professional atmosphere. Services include clinical and cosmetic dermatology.
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