Injectable soft tissue fillers are one of the most common cosmetic procedures for adding volume to the skin. As we age, the production of two proteins called collagen and elastin in the skin decreases. These proteins are what create fullness in the skin. Sun exposure, diet, and smoking also speed up the aging process, making the wrinkles even more prominent.
Soft tissue fillers cannot correct facial lines with the same long lasting effects of surgery, but in many cases, they provide an excellent non-surgical option to improve the appearance of wrinkles. The most commonly treated wrinkles are those around the nose and mouth, known as the nasolabial lines and marionette lines. Soft tissue fillers are also an excellent option for patients wishing to have more full and youthful appearing lips.
Common brand names among soft-tissue fillers are: Restylane®, Hylaform®, Juvederm®, Radiesse®, Sculptra®.
The results of injections and the length of time results will last vary by each individual and by the treatment.
Collagen products are one of the original soft tissue fillers used over 20 years ago. Collagen gives structure to the skin and is used to add volume to lips and fill in fine lines. If used, cosmetic surgeons use human-derived collagen, which does not require allergy testing. Collagen injections, compared to other dermal fillers, do not last very long. Most people only see results for a couple of months before needing to be reinjected. Most providers prefer using hylauronic acid fillers, which last longer.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of human skin and is the framework in which skin cells live. There are several hyaluronic acid products available that have various characteristics: Captique™, Hylaform®, Restylane®, Juvederm™, and Juvederm Ultra Plus™.
These fillers can be used to fill hollow areas of the face, including the cheeks and lips. Hyaluronic acid gel does not pose an allergy risk for patients and there is no risk of transmitting animal diseases by injection. The results patients receive from hyaluronic acid products last approximately six to nine months.
Poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra™) is a biodegradable synthetic filler used to replace lost facial fat, giving the face a more youthful appearance. It is currently only FDA approved for treating facial fat loss in patients with HIV. Use on healthy individuals is considered off-label use at present.
Calcium hydroxyapatite (Radiesse®) is a biocompatible, FDA-approved filler for deep nasolabial lines. With this treatment, small calcium microspheres are injected under the skin with a fine needle. The body then forms collagen around the calcium providing a long lasting result. Effects can last up to a year. This filler is a great treatment for nasolabial lines. Radiesse® is not suited to be injected in the lips because it is too firm and does not feel natural.
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