Dermal fillers are prescription medications injected into the skin by doctors to restore volume loss from ageing or accidents, or enhance an area that has sub-optimal fullness. The goal of treatment is to create a harmonious face that looks more youthful and very natural. Dermal fillers are most commonly injected into the lower face to complement anti-wrinkle injections that treat dynamic lines in the upper face.
The most popular and safest dermal fillers contain hyaluronic acid (eg. Restylane and Juvederm) which is also found naturally in our bodies. Results although temporary (4-18 months) tend to improve and last longer with progressive treatments as these fillers stimulate neo-collagensis, ie. the body producing more of it's own natural collagen. In the case of unexpected complications like persistent swellings, these fillers can be dissolved selectively with injected hyaluronidase. These fillers also contain a local anaesthetic called Lidocaine which decreases the pain of injections.
For patients who find repeated injections with temporary hyaluronic acid dermal fillers inconvenient, there is a semi-permanent group of bio-stimulatory fillers like Sculptra or Radiesse that can last up to 2 years. Due to the particle nature of these fillers, there are limitations in treating sensitive areas like the lips, nose and tear troughs.
The only permanent filler available locally is Aquamid. Silicon injections are illegal in Australia. Permanent fillers are generally not recommended as any complications that develop are likely to be permanent as well, necessitating surgical removal of the fillers. As our facial contours changes with time, the areas treated with permanent fillers may look less natural as we age.
For patients with significant facial volume loss who may need multiple syringes of dermal fillers, it is advisable to break the treatment down into several stages. This allows the treating doctor to reassess your face after the initial swelling and bruising has settled, to correct any asymmetry and persisting volume loss to achieve the best possible results. It also minimises the risk of over-filling which creates the very un-natural ‘pillow face’ look.
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