Facial Contouring with Injectable Facial Fillers
The development of injectable fillers has revolutionized facial plastic surgery, and probably is rivaled only by the discovery of Botox®. These fillers were originally developed to allow for correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, but their uses have expanded exponentially. They have also received FDA approval for lip augmentation, and are commonly used in many other areas to change the contour of the face.
Most fillers consist of hyaluronic acid, which is a substance that is naturally found in the skin. Each company has a different proprietary formula for cross linking this molecule, which gives each product a slightly different feel. Cross linking the molecule also allows it to avoid resorption for longer durations, as hyaluronic acid made by the body is replaced every few days. Each formulation obviously has different uses in different parts of the face based on its properties.
Patients interested in these products can be conveniently scheduled during a lunch break or a short appointment for great results that require little to no down time. Proper injection will give patients natural results that previously were only attainable with surgery.
These medications have become so popular in the United States that many different formulations of hyaluronic acid have been FDA approved. Dr. Asher has experience injecting Juvederm®, Juvederm Voluma™, Restylane®, Perlane®, Belotero Balance®, as well as Radiesse®. Of note, the formulation of Radiesse is slightly different than the other aforementioned injectables in that it is composed of calcium hydroxyapatite rather than hyaluronic acid.
The FDA has very stringent safety requirements before granting U.S. approval of these type medications. Whereas in other parts of the world there are dozens and dozens of products available, here in the U.S. less than ten have completed the extensive set of clinical trials to prove their long term safety. These medications have a record of safety that continues to grow. In the U.S. alone, over 1.8 million of these treatments were performed last year.
Unfortunately, even with an extremely low percentage of complications, these like any other medication can still be used incorrectly or even abused. Dozens of pictures can be found on the internet where patients have been injected in the wrong places, with the wrong products, using the wrong techniques or the wrong doses. This can be easily avoided with treatment by a skilled clinician who is knowledgeable in the anatomy and physiology of the face.