What are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are injections which are placed under wrinkles or deep lines. These lines are reduced in depth and softened in appearance. Dermal fillers are also used for lip enhancement. The commonest type of dermal filler consists of Hyaloronic acid which is a natural substance which exists in the connective tissue of the body but has been artificially synthesised. It is not permanent and will dissolve with time.
A number of companies make dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm which are the most frequently used. The use of permanent dermal fillers should be avoided on the face.
How are dermal filler injections administered?
The dermal filler injection is administered with a very fine needle at multiple sites according to the area to be treated. A numbing cream can be used to lessen the mild discomfort. Occasionally a dental injection can be used to completely numb the area. Dermal fillers – Restylane and Juvederm are now available with local anaesthetic incorporated into the injection and this considerably reduces the discomfort. The effect of the injection is immediate although it can take a few days for the dermal filler material to look more natural and some massage may be required.
The average duration of the effect is between 6 months to a year before a repeat treatment is required. This varies from person to person. Occasionally the effects may last longer than one year.
Which areas of the face can be treated?
Many part of the face can be treated with dermal fillers. Usually the lips and lines around the mouth are most commonly treated. Dermal fillers can be used to fill the deep depression under the eyelid (tear-trough) and also used to fill hollowness in the cheek. Sometimes if Botox TM is not completely effective in eliminating deep lines in the frown area then fillers can be used to further enhance the effect.
What are the side effects and risks?
The occasional bruise is the commonest side effect but this will resolve between 1 to 2 weeks.
Some patients may experience some redness which can last one or two days but this can be covered with makeup.
Allergic reactions are rare and only reported in less than 1 in 2000 cases.
The severe reactions that are often reported in the press are due to the use of permanent dermal fillers and their use should be completely avoided in the face. Only temporary dermal fillers such as those described above should be used since they have a proven safety record.