What are soft tissue fillers?Soft tissue fillers are flexible substances that can be injected into the skin to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, plump lips, fill hollow cheeks, repair various facial imperfections, improve scars, and elevate deep folds. The result is a smoother, more youthful appearance with minimal "downtime" and maximum safety.We use hyaluronic acid, autologous fat (one's own fat), and donor tissue. Since filler substances do not involve major surgery and are generally cost-effective, men and women are using these youth-enhancing techniques more than ever.
What can soft tissue fillers do?The aging process generally causes a loss of volume as the underlying collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin fibers begin to deteriorate and fat stores in the face decrease. This most commonly occurs around the eyes, mouth, cheeks, jaw line, brow, and bridge of the nose, producing crow's feet, laugh lines, folds and furrows on the forehead, and "hills and valleys" on the lower third of the face. Soft tissue fillers have the unique ability to fill and contour these changes.Fillers can be placed into the lips to create a fuller, more youthful look, or in the hollows of the cheeks to reduce a gaunt appearance. Facial scarring from acne or injury also responds well to soft tissue filler techniques.
How do soft tissue fillers work?A filler substance is injected beneath the surface of the skin where it corrects the line or wrinkle by temporarily plumping and smoothing out the skin depression. Most fillers replace the host components of the skin: collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. Some fillers also can stimulate production of collagen.
What are the ABC's of fillers?Each filler brings subtle, distinctive benefits. Sometimes more than one filler may be used to achieve the best results. Some fillers provide longer-lasting results; others allow for more precision with fine lines, and still others can gradually bring the face into better balance, creating an overall rejuvenated appearance.Soft tissue fillers are often considered the first line in the treatment of aging skin and are frequently used in combinations or with other techniques for facial rejuvenation. Filling substances commonly used are:
Hyaluronic acidHyaluronic acid is a natural component of human skin and is the framework in which skin cells live. There are several hyaluronic acid products available. Each has various characteristics that the dermatologist will take into account when choosing a filler. All hyaluronic acid products bind water and give the skin volume. These fillers can be used to fill hollow areas of the face, including the cheeks, and to plump lips.
Autologous fat - Stem Cell P.R.P. FillingRemoved by a mini liposuction procedure from other parts of the body such as the thighs, buttocks, or stomach, one's own fat has been used to reduce deeper wrinkles and contour the "hills and valleys" associated with the aging face.
Poly-L-lactic acidThis filler is used to replace lost facial fat, giving the face a more youthful appearance.Calcium hydroxyapatiteSuspended in an aqueous gel is a semipermanent filler which holds promise for long-term soft tissue augmentation.
ImplantsPolymers and collagen-related implants offer a longer-lasting option for diminishing deep facial grooves and folds, particularly around the mouth, nose, and lips. The material is inserted under the skin as strips, threads, or hollow tubes that serve as a permanent filler. These substances also can form the foundation into which other injectable fillers may be added.
Botulinum toxinWhile technically not a filler, very tiny amounts of botulinum toxin are injected into specific facial muscles to immobilize or relax the underlying cause of lines and wrinkles. It is commonly used to improve forehead creases, furrows between the eyebrows, and crow's feet. Using botulinum toxin and fillers in the same area may achieve longer-lasting results.
Other ProductsNew and improved fillers are constantly being researched, tested, and evaluated. Other types of hyaluronic acid products which may last longer may be offered. Hybrid fillers, which contain small spheres and bovine collagen, are another form of partially permanent filler. The vehicle does not last, leaving small beads behind as long-term permanent beads. Micro-droplet silicone is a more permanent filler.
Dermal stimulators stimulate the skin cells to produce collagen. Since collagen production takes time, dermal stimulators do not offer the instant gratification provided by soft tissue fillers. Dermal stimulators are injected on a monthly basis, and the wrinkles gradually diminish over time. The treatment cycle typically spans 3 to 5 months, with the results lasting up to two years. Dermal stimulators can be combined with soft tissue fillers to achieve both immediate short-term correction and delayed long-term correction.
What happens during and after treatment?
Injections are usually given in a dermatologist's office. Before beginning treatment, a skin test may be administered to determine if you are likely to have an allergic reaction to the filling substance; however, most of the new fillers on the market do not require skin testing.
The dermatologist may ask about the use of aspirin, warfarin (coumadin), alcohol, green tea, and St. John's wort since these may increase a patient's tendency to bruise.Prior to the procedure, the face is cleaned and a topical or local anesthetic may be used. The filler is injected directly into the area to be treated using a very small needle. There may be a stinging or burning sensation as the filler is inserted. A series of treatment sessions may be necessary to fill and smooth the lines and wrinkles, or raise a depressed scar to the level of the surrounding skin.After the procedure, there may be some temporary swelling, redness, or minor bruising at the injection sites. This usually subsides quickly. Makeup can be applied immediately after the treatment.