Dermal fillers are useful for increasing volume in areas of the face that have become thin with age such as in the temples, cheeks, chin and lips. It is also useful for treating and disguising wrinkles. Fillers can either be permanent or temporary. They can also either be synthetic or autologous. Synthetic products are made in a laboratory whilst autologous products use your own tissues such as fat.
Over the years there have been several manufactured forms of permanent filler but their use is not recommended due to potential complications. Fat on the other hand is a natural permanent filler that has a very good safety profile. Fat grafting can be used to add volume, shape and rejuvenate however multiple procedures may be required to achieve the desired result as not all of the injected fat survives.
There are many types of temporary fillers. One of the more popular fillers is made of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid products such as Juvederm and Restylane have been used for a very long time and have an excellent safety record. Temporary fillers generally last 3-18 months dependent on the thickness of the filler. Thin fillers are great for treating fine lines, but do not last a long time. Thicker fillers are useful for deeper grooves and adding volume. They also last longer due to their thicker consistency.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of different types of hyaluronic acid fillers. They vary dependent on their thickness and consistency. This in turn will determine how long they last. Softer, thinner products such as Volbella and Juvederm 3 lasts about 6-9 months. Intermediate products such as Juvederm 4 and Volift lasts between 9-12 months. Thicker products such as Voluma can last up to 18 months. This is just a rough guide however as breakdown of the product varies between different sites of injection and in different individuals.
Your requirements will be discussed during the consultation including areas of concern. The filler that will be used will depend on the area to be treated. The filler injections themselves are performed in the office. There is usually no need for any anaesthetic however it can be performed under local anaesthetic cream or injections if required. Following the filler injection, there may be some swelling which settles after a few hours. The filler will last between 3-18 months dependent on the filler that is used.
Redness: There may be some redness around the injection sites that will last for a few hours
Swelling: It is normal to get some swelling after any filler treatment and this usually takes a few days to settle. Some patients may like the initial volume after treatment that subsides after a few days. This can be mistaken as the filler dissolving but is actually improvement of the initial swelling.
Bruising & bleeding: Some patients may experience bruising or bleeding after the injections. When it does occur, it is usually minor but may take 7-10 days to subside. Certain medications such as aspirin and some herbal supplements may increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. It is important to inform your practitioner of any regular medications or supplements you are taking
Asymmetry: In procedures involving two sides, there may be minor degrees of asymmetry if the filler has a greater effect on one side
Skin irregularity: Lumps and shadows beneath the skin may occur if fillers are injected too closely to the skin surface. This is very rare in trained practitioners
Nodules or granulomas: Granulomas are uncommon however have been known to occur. They form as your body’s reaction to the filler. These granulomas are more common with permanent fillers and usually require surgical removal. Granulomas which form from hyaluronic acid fillers can often simply be dissolved with an injection of hyaluronidase
Tissue necrosis: Necrosis or death of skin is a rare complication of filler injections. This occurs if the filler blocks tiny blood vessels or if the pressure form the filler reduces the blood supply to the skin
Blindness: There are a few reports of blindness following filler injections. This a very rare complication with about 100 cases worldwide. This arises when the filler material is injected inadvertently into the bloodstream around the eye and travels to and blocks off the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye
Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions are possible but are very rare