By Amy Nelson, MPA-C
We live in engaging times where everything is instagrammable, meetings and family calls are via video, and our pictures are out on social media for people to see. All this technology is exciting and a great way to stay in touch with work, friends, and family. It does put an added stress on some of us to always look and feel our best, put our best foot forward, or in this case, our face. Let’s be honest, though, even without all this technology, some of us want to look great because it makes us feel good. With so many options available to help smooth lines and get a more youthful look, it’s always best to have information upfront to help us make informed decisions. To that end, let’s talk about dermal fillers and how they can help you.
What is a dermal filler?
Dermal fillers, also known as soft tissue fillers, are FDA-approved medical products used to create a smoother and/or fuller appearance to the skin and structures of the face. As we age, it is natural for our skin to start showing some changes as we lose some of the subcutaneous fat that supports our skin. Our skin also starts losing elasticity, both of which allow wrinkles to show on our faces. Injecting these fillers under the skin allows the lines and wrinkles to smooth out, while others can create structure on cheeks and chins. The most popular face areas to have dermal fillers are the nasolabial folds (the lines extending from the sides of the nose to the edges of the mouth), cheeks, chin, and lips. Fillers have also been FDA-approved for other body areas, including the tops of the hands and recessed scars.
Dermal fillers are not to be confused with BOTOX® Cosmetic, an injectable drug that “freezes” muscles to reduce wrinkles. There are several dermal fillers to choose from, with the two most popular brands being Restylane® and JUVÉDERM®. Within each of these families of filler, there are several subtypes that allow Providers to customize treatments. The FDA has approved four different types of fillers; three of them are considered temporary fillers because they are made with materials that the body breaks down and absorbs over time. These materials are hyaluronic acid, a sugar naturally found in the body, calcium hydroxylapatite, a mineral and a component of bone, and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a synthetic, biodegradable product. Since these materials are eventually absorbed into the body, the results of the fillers are temporary and can last from six months to a couple of years.
Advantages of Dermal Fillers Over Other Treatments
Some of the main advantages of dermal fillers over other cosmetic procedures are:
- Quick and Painless – The procedure takes about 20-45 minutes to complete and is relatively painless with the use of a topical numbing agent. There is little to no downtime, except for slight swelling and bruising.
- Less Risk of Allergic Reactions – Often, the main ingredient in dermal fillers is hyaluronic acid, a chemical that’s naturally produced in our bodies. This minimizes the risk of an allergic reaction.
- Reversible Treatment – Should the patient have an unsatisfactory outcome; hyaluronic acid fillers can be easily dissolved with a product called hyaluronidase.
- Immediate Results – the patient does not have to wait days, weeks, or months to notice the improvement.
- Duration of Results – Dermal fillers can last from six months to two years depending on the type of product selected and the area of the face being treated. Therefore, patients only need to repeat this procedure once, perhaps twice a year, to achieve maximum results.
Choosing the Best Dermal Filler for Your Needs
Dermal fillers play a crucial role in the rejuvenation process because they treat such a wide variety of issues related to aging. They address fines lines and wrinkles, deeper furrows around the mouth, loss of volume in the cheeks and hands, and overall facial structure. Dermal fillers play an integral role in allowing us to help our patients with their rejuvenation goals.
Choosing the filler that is right for you is up to the discretion of the healthcare provider. Your provider will perform an extensive examination of your anatomy, discuss where you are looking to add more volume/structure to the skin, and then decide which product will deliver the safest and best outcome for you.
Are There Risks to Using Dermal Fillers?
Fortunately, the risks of dermal filler are quite low when performed by a licensed and experienced healthcare provider. They have extensive knowledge of facial anatomy and how to avoid structures such as blood vessels that could be damaged if the product is placed improperly. As mentioned earlier, if a hyaluronic acid filler is chosen, it can be dissolved using an injectable enzyme if it is necessary.
We always recommend that you get these procedures done in a medical setting since they have the medical expertise and the procedure and product knowledge to provide you with the best results in the safest way possible. Injecting a dermal filler is considered a medical procedure. Both the FDA and the American Academy of Dermatology warn of the risks of getting these done with an inexperienced provider. You will also be assured of getting an FDA-approved injectable used in an approved manner.
Another potential adverse outcome of filler can be that the patient is displeased with the results. This can be due to improper selection of a) the specific type of filler or b) total volume needed. It is essential to have a consultation with your Provider prior to administration of the product. Knowing your goals and expectations allows your Provider to determine the correct filler for the appropriate area and the total estimated product needed to achieve those results.
Contact us today to see if dermal fillers are right for you! At Advanced Dermatology and Skin Surgery our Board-Certified Dermatologists, Physician Assistants, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, and Licensed Aestheticians at our four locations are ready to help you with your medical dermatology and cosmetic goals. You can book an appointment online or call us at one of four locations.
Amy Nelson, MMSC, PA-C works at our Spokane North and Spokane Valley locations. Amy began her career in Emergency Medicine. After relocating to Seattle in 2007 Amy switched her focus to medical and cosmetic dermatology, where she now has a decade of experience. She has a passion for partnering with her patients in their care.