Dermal Fillers (Soft Tissue Augmentation)
Dermal fillers are gel-like materials that are injected into unwanted folds, creases, and wrinkles to provide a more youthful appearance. Fillers can be used to augment the lip lines and the lips themselves, to fill creases and lines around the mouth, and to replace the volume loss that naturally occurs with aging.
The administration of a dermal filler is sometimes referred to as "soft tissue augmentation". Treatment with a dermal filler is often combined with other beauty-enhancing procedures, such botulinum toxin (Botox®), which can prolong their aesthetic effects.
Most of the dermal fillers used today are temporary fillers that are eventually absorbed into the body with diminished benefits over time. The major temporary fillers consist of collagen, hyaluronic acid, hydroxylapatite, or poly-L-lactic acid.
Calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse®) is made from microspheres of a synthetic version of the material found in bones and teeth. Once the spheres are injected into the skin, the body slowly produces collagen around them. This filler lasts for a year or longer and is especially helpful for nasolabial and melolabial folds and for filling out hollow cheeks.
Collagen is a natural protein found in human skin that degrades with aging and sun exposure. Collagen injections have been used for many years to enhnance lips and smooth out wrinkles. Originally, the collagen was derived form cattle and commonly triggered allergic reactions. This required allergy testing prior to treatment. In 2003, newer forms (Cosmoderm and the thicker Cosmoplast) became available. These do not carry the same risk of developing allergies and do not required allergy testing.
Hyaluronic acid (Juvederm®, Restylane®, Perlane®) is a natural, spongy material found in human skin. It helps provide support and thickness to skin. Injected into the skin in the form of specially-formualted hyaluronic fillers, it smoothes lines, wrinkles, and creases. The cosmetic benefits of a hyaluronic acide filler can be seen for 3 months to one year depending on the type of filler used and its location.
Poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra®) is made from absorbable suture material and is used for facial contouring and to smooth deep lines, hollows, and depressions. Sculptra stimulates collagen production, so multiple treatments spaced weeks apart are often necessary to see lasting results.
Permanent fillers are used more sparingly because of the long-term implications. Permanent fillers are made of methyl methacrylate (Artefill®) and silicone.
© 2009 Vivacare. Last updated February 3, 2011.
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Dermal Fillers (link to AAD)