Dermal fillers are substances designed to help rejuvenate the aging face with a goal of restoring a more youthful appearance. They are used to fill lines and wrinkles, such as those found near the nose and mouth (nasolabial and marionette lines). Fillers can help enhance shape and definition to areas such as the lips and jaw line and are also used to restore fullness (volume) to cheeks, temporal areas and under the eyes. They are injected at varying depths into the skin and soft tissues and while the majority of fillers are used in the face, they can also help restore/rejuvenate other areas such as the hands and decollate.
There are a number of different types of dermal fillers available today. They can be classified in many different ways and one of the more common ways to describe dermal fillers is temporary, longer-lasting or permanent. The duration of these fillers can vary and depends upon many factors including (but not limited to) the area of injection, injection technique, degree of correction achieved as well as a person's specific body metabolism.
Temporary fillers typically include two categories: collagen and hyaluronic acid fillers. Collagen is a naturally occurring connective tissue component that provides strength and structure to the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance between the skin cells that binds moisture and provides fullness. Typically, collagen fillers last 2-4 months while hyaluronic acid fillers can last 6-9 months.
Semi-permanent and permanent dermal fillers are those used to correct deeper facial lines and creases and can be used for larger volume restoration. These fillers generally include microsphere particles suspended in a liquid or gel formulation. Semi-permanent dermal fillers typically last between 12-18 months while permanent fillers can last 5 years or more.
In the right hands, dermal fillers can help restore a more youthful appearance to your face. These products can fill lines, wrinkles and deeper facial folds or other depressions such as acne scars.
Temporary dermal fillers can add volume and improve the shape of facial features such as the midface and chin. They can also enhance the fullness of the lips and define the lip border, or create a "Cupid's bow."
Treatment with semi-permanent fillers can add volume and improve the appearance of deeper facial folds or other depressions such as concave scars. They can also be used to add volume and improve the shape of facial features such as the cheeks, midface and chin.
Permanent fillers are more often used for deeper facial folds or lines.
U.S. FDA-Approved Dermal Fillers
While there continues to be new dermal fillers approved by the FDA, some of those that have been around for many years are being discontinued. The reason for a dermal filler to be discontinued is typically not due to problems with a specific product, but is more likely due to such things as an improved formulation which has received FDA approval. Following is a listing of those products that are FDA-approved (as of 8/1/2010). Also included are those products that have recently been or are soon-to-be discontinued.
|Product Name||Year Approved||Notes|
|Zyderm||1981||Animal-based collagen - No longer available|
|Zyplast||1985||Animal-based collagen - No longer available|
|CosmoDerm/CosmoPlast||2003||Human-based collagen - Will be discontinued at the end of 2010|
|Evolence||2003||Animal-based collagen - Will be discontinued at the end of 2010|
|Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Dermal Fillers|
|Juvederm Ultra and Ultra Plus||2006|
|PREVELLE Silk||2008||Contains lidocaine (anesthetic)|
|Hydrelle||2009||Contains lidocaine. Formerly known as Elevess, which was approved in 2007|
|Juvederm Ultra XC/Ultra Plus XC||2010||Contain lidocaine (anesthetic)|
|Restylane-L and Perlane-L||2010||Contain lidocaine (anesthetic)|
|Longer-Lasting Dermal Fillers|
(Poly-L-lactic acid - PLLA)
|2004||Launched in 2004 with an indication for patients with lipoatrophy. Received aesthetic indication in 2009|
|Radiesse (Calcium hydroxylapatite - CaHA)||2006||Available and used prior to 2006; however this was the year Radiesse received a cosmetic indication from the FDA|
|Permanent Dermal Filler|
|ArteFill (Polymethylmethacrylate - PMMA)||2006||First and only permanent dermal filler available in the US|
The area to be injected must be clean. Make-up must be removed and alcohol pads are used to thoroughly clean the area before treatment. Pain management is handled in a number of ways including applying ice to the area, utilizing a topical anesthetic cream, or a local anesthetic via injection (such as a dental block) may be used for your comfort. Some products are already mixed with lidocaine and after the initial stick; the lidocaine will numb the area that is being injected. Some physicians will also mix lidocaine with products that do not already contain it.
Once your treatment area is numbed, your doctor will make injections in several locations, placing the dermal filler where correction or volume enhancement is desired.
- Your doctor may massage or manipulate the area where the filler has been placed
- The treated area may be cleansed again
- You may be given ice or cold packs to place on the treated area to minimize swelling and bruising
- The entire treatment process may take 20 to 30 minutes or more
After Your Injections
Your enhancement will be visible immediately after your injections. However, due to swelling, you may look a little fuller than you might expect. This will improve rapidly over the next few days.
- You may experience mild swelling or bruising from any type of injection. Ice or cold packs can help to minimize swelling or discomfort
- You can generally apply make-up over the treated area immediately
- Collagen fillers are the most forgiving and while there may be a day or two of swelling, bruising and redness are less likely than with other fillers
- Hyaluronic acid fillers may result in 3 to 7 days of swelling, redness and post-injection bruising
- Semi-permanent or permanent dermal fillers may result in 5 to 7 days of swelling, redness and post-injection bruising
- If you have received Sculptra treatment, your results will develop over the coming weeks. You may require 2 to 3 treatments several weeks apart to gain the improvement you desire
Your results are visible immediately. However, due to swelling, you may look a little fuller than you might expect. This will improve rapidly over the next few days.
- The improvement from human-based collagen fillers usually disappears within 2 to 4 months after treatment
- The improvement from Evolence begins to diminish within 6 to 12 months after treatment
- The improvement from hyaluronic acid fillers can be variable since the concentration of hyaluronic acid in each product differs. Results with Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane typically last between 6-12 months while the results with Prevelle Silk may be slightly less
- Studies have shown that the improvement with some HA fillers can be enhanced if you get treated again between 6-9 months after your first treatment. Restylane has shown longevity to 18 months with re-treatment
- The improvement from Radiesse and Sculptra begins to disappear within 12-18 months after treatment
- Artefill is considered a permanent treatment thus results are still noticeable 5-8 years post-treatment
If you do not repeat treatment once your results have begun to diminish, or as directed by your doctor, your appearance will return to its pre-treatment state.
Commonly injected sites
The approved indications for the hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are all identical: For injection into the mid to deep dermis for the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds (such as the nasolabial folds). Nasolabial folds are creases that develop from the nose to the outside corners of the mouth.
Radiesse and Sculptra both have aesthetic indications as well as indications for those with facial fat loss due to lipoatrophy.
The approved indications for Radiesse are: For subdermal implantation for the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds; also intended for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The approved indications for Sculptra are: Intended for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with imunodeficiency virus HIV); also for use in immune-competent people for correction of shallow to deep nasolabial fold contour deficiencies and other facial wrinkles in which deep dermal grid pattern (cross-hatch) injection technique is appropriate.
Artefill is approved: For the correction of nasolabial folds
FDA approved indications tell a physician what the product has been approved for, based on the submitted clinical trials. Physicians have discretion to use a product for uses other than approved indications when he/she feels it is warranted. These decisions are based on experiences of the injector as well as the knowledge learned from leading physicians in the field. HA fillers are often used to enhance the lips and to add volume and shape to the midface, the jawline and chin. These fillers can also be used to improve hollows and depressions below the lower eyelid, often called the tear trough. Although less common, dermal fillers can provide temporary correction to a pinched or asymmetric nasal tip, or fill depressions at the nasal bridge.
Radiesse and Sculptra have been used to improve the volume in the midface and cheeks and to enhance the chin and jawline. In addition, semi-permanent fillers may be used to fill concave scars, and to enhance a nasal tip.
Communication between you and your physician is vital for a successful outcome! Be specific in what you want and listen to the advice of your physician. Together, you can develop a treatment plan that meets your needs and expectations.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What is your board certification?
- How were you trained to do injectable treatments?
- Do you regularly provide dermal filler treatments?
- How many people have you treated with a condition similar to mine?
- Will you personally inject me? If not, what are the qualifications of the person who will?
- Exactly what name brand of injectable do you recommend for me?
- Is it U.S. FDA approved specifically for cosmetic purposes?
- May I see the packaging to verify the brand name?
- Did the product come from the manufacturer or did you get it elsewhere?
- Are there any precautions I should take before my injectable treatment?
- What type of anesthetic is available, and what is your preferred means of anesthesia?
- What can I expect to experience after my treatment?
- How do you treat any problems that may arise?
- What are the potential risks of treatment?
- How long will my results last?
- What if I am not satisfied with my results - what options do I have?