What Are Cosmetic Fillers?

Fillers are materials that are placed into deeper lines and wrinkles. Filler agents typically are used for those wrinkles that are too deep to be treated with lasers. Most commonly filler agents are used for smile lines wrinkles, between the eyebrows, sagging cheekbones or to enhance the appearance of upper and lower lips. Acne, chicken pox and other depressed scars can also be improved.

What Are The Available Cosmetic Fillers?

Over the years a variety of filler agents have been successfully used. Each filler is a different material and the duration of filling may vary between the different substances.

Bovine collagen (Zyderm® and Zyplast®) was approved by the FDA 2 decades ago. It was the first filler agent to become very popular in the US . Typically it is used for smile lines and other wrinkles, lip enhancement and scar correction. Because bovine collagen is derived from cow collagen, skin tests on the arm are required in an attempt to determine collagen allergy. Results, after treatment, typically last 2-6 months.

Human collagen (Cosmoderm® and Cosmoplast®) is used much like bovine collagen. Typically human collagen is used for smile lines and other wrinkles, lip enhancement and scar correction. These materials are among the more popular filler agents for lip enhancement or for the patient who likes collagen, but prefers not to have bovine collagen. In contrast to bovine collagen, human collagen treatment does not require skin tests. Results typically last 2-6 months.

Among the newer filler agents are those containing hyaluronic acid . This sugar like material is highly popular in Europe and Canada . Recent FDA studies have been led to the availability of 2 different hyaluronic acids (Restylane® and Hylaform®). Generally skin tests are not required. The material is soft and is very popular for the treatment of smile lines. Results typically last 3-8 months.

Radiance® (also called Radiesse®) is a filler agent made up of a calcium material called calcium hydroxylapatite. This material is approved by the FDA for vocal cord injections and has also been used for the treatment of wrinkles. It is unique among fillers in that results can last up to 2 years. This agent is very popular for those patients with deeper smile lines who want longer lasting results.

Sculptra ® is included in the category of fillers, but is better called a skin volume enhancer. The injected substance is poly L-lactic acid. The material is used to treat sunken cheeks that result from the aging process. A series of injections over several months is required and the final improvement will take up to six months. The clinical benefit can also last up to 2 years.

What Kind Of Reactions Can Occur After Cosmetic Filler Injections?

Reactions to filler agents are rare and generally resolve with time. Some common injection-related reactions might occur, such as swelling, redness, pain, itching, discoloration and tenderness at the implant site. They typically resolve spontaneously within several days after injection into the skin. Other types of reactions are very rare, but occasional patients do experience localized reactions thought to be of a hypersensitivity nature. These have usually consisted of swelling at the implant site, sometimes affecting the surrounding tissues. Redness, tenderness and rarely acne-like formations can be seen.

What Can I Do To Optimize Cosmetic Fillers Results?

Filler agents are ideally combined with BOTOX® injections that are used for wrinkles caused by too much muscle tone. Wrinkles such as frown lines, crow's feet, marionette lines and vertical lip lines are better treated with BOTOX® than a filler agent.

The following is borrowed in full from: Skin & Laser Surgery Specialists

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the world's largest specialty association for facial plastic surgery. It represents more than 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS is a National Medical Specialty Society of the American Medical Association (AMA), and holds an official seat in both the AMA House of Delegates and the American College of Surgeons board of governors. AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. AAFPRS members subscribe to a code of ethics.

Specialization in medicine has been one of the major enhancements in patient care over the last generation. AAFPRS members not only have a precise focus in patient care but they also have had more comprehensive training in facial surgery than any other medical specialty.