The injectable fillers, also known as soft tissue fillers, are products that are injected into specific areas of the face to correct any textural irregularities by plumping and smoothing out the skin depression. Injectable fillers work by restoring facial volume and filling out wrinkled or uneven areas of the face, thereby bringing an immediate vibrant and youthful appearance in one’s face without surgery.
With aging, the skin becomes more susceptible to wrinkles and sagging. The injectable fillers do not stop the aging process but restore the age-related volume loss in the face providing a significant facial rejuvenation.
Injectable fillers are used to correct a variety of cosmetic concerns that include:
- Smoothing wrinkles, lines and folds
- Shaping facial curves such as the cheeks and jaw line
- Restoring volume and fullness to the skin
- Lip plumping and filling in lip lines
- Raising scar depressions
Types of Injectable fillers
There are several types of injectable fillers available to restore fullness to the face and lips and to treat wrinkles, folds and scars, based on the patient’s requirement. Injectable filters are either temporary or permanent.
Temporary – are made up of absorbable materials (those are absorbed by the body over time). These include:
- Collagen – Collagen is a natural protein that supports the skin; and forms the major component of cartilage, teeth and bones. Collagen filler is made from either purified cow skin or human skin. Collagen, the effects of which last for three months, is particularly used to fill the facial hollows.
- Hyaluronic acid - Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body, especially in the soft connective tissues. Hyaluronic Acid products are the most commonly used injectable fillers that are often used to plump thin lips and fill the nasolabial folds (indented skin between the nose and the mouth) and marionette lines (vertical wrinkle lines that begin at the corner of the mouth and extend down towards the chin). The effects of these injections last for six months or more.
- Hydroxylapatite – Hydroxylapatite is a natural substance that forms the major component of the human bones. It is the heaviest of the injectable fillers composed in a gel base and provides a long-lasting effect (6-12 months). It is used to fill the nasolabial folds, marionette lines around the chin and frown lines. It is also used to enhance the cheeks and chin by improving the curves.
- Human fat - Fat injections involve extraction of fat from one part of your body using liposuction techniques and re-injecting them into the other parts such as the cheeks, lips, or chin. Fat injections augment facial fullness, fill the deep creases and improve the facial curves. The duration for which the effects last varies between patients and the location of injection.
- Polylactic acid – Polylactic acid is synthetic filler that stimulates the production of collagen within the body. It is mainly used to augment the facial lines and nasolabial folds, restore facial volume, plump thin lips, and fill the areas of fat loss in the face. The effects of polylactic acid fillers last up to two years.
Permanent (made up of non-absorbable materials)
- PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) – PMMA is a permanent type filler that is used to fill the nasolabial folds. PMMA microspheres (microscopic granular substances) or beads are tiny, round, smooth particles that are composed in a collagen based gel to fill the wrinkles. PMMAs are found to provide a long-lasting correction.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and involves the following steps:
- The areas to be injected on your face are marked and cleaned with an antibacterial agent.
- Topical anesthetic agents may be used to numb the areas to be treated or sometimes the filler itself may contain a local anesthetic that makes the injection more comfortable. Local anesthetic may be required for deeper injections, for example –to fill deep nasolabial folds, marionette lines and the cheeks.
- Your surgeon then injects the filler through a fine needle beneath the surface of the skin
- The marks are then washed away and cold packs are applied immediately
- Make-up may be applied that allows you to resume your daily activities immediately
Multiple injections are required for areas with deep lines and scars. The amount of injection administered varies between patients and depends on the depth and size of the wrinkle. The best injectable filler for treatment is selected based on your age, condition of your skin, amount of sun damage and genetics.
Risks and complications
Though injectable fillers are very safe to use, they are associated with a few complications. Some of these include allergic reaction, bruising at the injection site, temporary numbness, redness, swelling, pain, skin death, itching and rashes on the treated area. Some of the potential risks of filler injections include the formation of lumps that are particularly associated with the use of microscopic granular substances such as the PMMAs.
Injectable fillers that contain materials from non-human sources require a pre-treatment allergy test.
- The procedure provides immediate results and requires very minimal downtime, allowing you to return to normal activities and work, directly following the treatment.
- You may be instructed to avoid strenuous activities and excessive exposure to sunlight and heat the rest of the day following treatment.
- You may experience swelling and bruising at the injection site that will fade away in a few days. If you have human fat filler injected, there might be an over filled appearance which would return to normal in a few hours or days, or sometimes may even take several weeks.
The results from most injectable fillers are temporary lasting from a few months to one year depending on the type of filler injections used and the area of the face treated. For better results, repeated treatment sessions are encouraged.