While plastic surgery can offer amazing results that make you look far more youthful, it can be a pretty big commitment. Often, with procedures such as face lifts or breast augmentation, there can be an extended recovery period. However, if you’re looking for something that offers a little more in the way of instant gratification or if you’re simply hesitant to undergo surgery of any kind, there are procedures and products that can still help you achieve your desired look. Generally, these products offer only temporary results that last anywhere from six months to two years. For many patients, that’s part of the appeal.
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What Are Dermal Fillers?
When you’re young, your skin is incredibly elastic. You can pull it in all sorts of directions and it usually snaps right back into place. However, as you age, a multiplicity of factors can dampen your skin’s natural flexibility, meaning that as gravity constantly pulls at your skin, it’s not as capable of bouncing back. Your face, especially, tends to lose volume: the skin droops, sags, and—inevitably—causes unwanted wrinkles. Dermal fillers, while varied in chemical composition and method, all work on the same basic principle: they find a way to fill that volume in your skin, thus giving you a more youthful looking appearance.
The plastic surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery employ several different dermal fillers, each of which has its own strengths and drawbacks.
Juvederm: Perhaps among the best known dermal fillers, Juvederm is the first FDA approved injectable to replace volume lost to aging. Juvederm offers many specific products, but in general the XC formulation is used for general purposes. Depending on your desired results, your results may last for over a year (though, this will be less if you’re having Juvederm injected into your lips). The product is based on the Hyaluronic Acid found naturally inside your body. This acid prompts the production of collagen molecules in your skin, which is one of the primary ways Juvederm helps build structure.
Voluma: A Juvederm product, Voluma is specifically formulated to fill volume in some of those more difficult areas, such as deep smile lines and entrenched wrinkles. Because it has a soft and natural-feeling texture, Voluma is also a great option for filling volume in the cheeks (and the cheeks are particularly unforgiving in this arena). Like Juvederm, Voluma can last over a year (sometimes up to two years), and has been FDA approved to be administered with the assistance of a topical lidocaine numbing agent, so your comfort during the procedure will be increased. Voluma also has the added benefit of being reversible, which is relatively uncommon in the world of dermal fillers.
Restylane: Like Juvederm, Restylane is specially formulated to combat medium depth and deep facial wrinkles and folds. Like Juvederm, Restylane is a Hyaluronic Acid-based dermal filler, meaning Restylane is perfect for targeting those wrinkles caused by furrowed eyebrows or the so-called smile lines that appear around the mouth. Generally, these results will last roughly 18 months or so.
Radiesse: A calcium-based filler, Radiesse is the great choice for treating wrinkling due to aging and loss of volume. Because of its particularly rigid chemical structure, Radiesse is used exclusively deep in the skin (and you should avoid any uses that place Radiesse more shallowly) and is particularly useful at treating smile lines, marionette lines and what are known as “pre-jowls”—those folds and lax areas that can form around the sides of your jawlines. Some Radiesse injections have been shown to last more than three years, but a more typical result is a year or so. However, Radiesse is not reversible, should that factor in to your decision.
Bolletero: As we age, our skin can start to play tricks on us. Perhaps the best known of these tricks is the dark circles under the eye, which can lead people to believe that you are constantly exhausted or lack sleep. Thankfully, Bolletero is a dermal filler that is perfect for treating what is known as the tear trough, softening those dark circles and leaving you looking not only refreshed—but youthful as well.
Am I a Good Candidate for a Dermal Filler?
Dermal fillers carry with them a relatively low risk potential, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a great fit for everyone. The plastic surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery typically look for the following characteristics from our New Jersey area dermal filler candidates:
- You are not a good candidate for surgical procedures or you are not interested in surgical procedures
- You are comfortable with temporary results and the possibility of having to maintain those results
- Your wrinkles or your visible aging is caused by lack of volume in your skin
- You have realistic expectations about what dermal fillers can accomplish
During your consultation with the plastic surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery, you should be ready to discuss your medical history, including tobacco and drug use, recent medical treatments, prescription use, family history, and so on. The more complete your medical history is, the more accurately your results can be predicted.
Special Considerations for Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers and other injectables become more popular every year, largely because they are safe, effective, and quick. However, the plastic surgeons at East Coast Advanced Plastic Surgery may have some special criteria to consider for this procedure. Among the most important of those considerations is whether you possess any allergies to the products most commonly used in these fillers. Additionally, the plastic surgeons at ECAPS will gage your comfort with needles and injections more generally.
Procedure and Recovery
Dermal filler procedures are famous because they can be accomplished quickly, safely, and effectively. During a typical session, surgeons may apply ice or other numbing agents to your skin once selecting a target for injections. The injections are typically performed in short order and the entire procedure can usually be performed in about an hour. Of course, this will vary to some degree based on the type of dermal filler you settle on using.
Recovery from these procedures is usually quick and relatively painless. Some dermal fillers allow you to return to work immediately, while others may require a day or two of taking your ease. However, with most dermal fillers it is vital to avoid rubbing or massaging the area of injection, as this can disperse the filler and jeopardize your results. There may also be some redness and swelling, but this usually subsides in a day or so. If you like your results, you will be able to maintain them by getting regular injections as advised by your plastic surgeon.