Facial fillers are used to help reduce the appearance of facial contour irregularities due to aging, surgery, chronic disease, and trauma. Typically, with aging comes a reduction in facial fat, resorption of bone, and movement of the skin due to laxity. All of this creates contour irregularities which we see as hollow sunken areas, increased folds, and wrinkles. Some of these irregularities can be temporarily corrected with the addition of facial fillers.
There are several facial fillers on the market, some temporary and some permanent. In addition, filling contour defects using one’s own fat is becoming more popular. My personal preference is either temporary fillers or autologous fat.
The most common type of temporary fillers is hyaluronic acid fillers. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally throughout the body. In the skin hyaluronic acid attracts water, thus creating more volume than the product alone. Injectable HA is used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, facial folds, and to create structure, framework, and volume to the face and lips. The effects of injectable hyaluronic acid are seen immediately. These fillers will usually last from 9-15 months depending on the product used, injection location, and the patients’ health habits.
The other class of temporary fillers is calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) fillers. CaHA is a biocompatible, dermal filler that is FDA approved to improve the appearance of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as the nasolabial folds. It can also be used to improve the signs of facial fat loss associated with the HIV virus. CaHA produces immediate results and unlike HA fillers can increase collagen production in the areas injected over time. The effects of injectable CaHA typically last about 12 months. After that time, additional injections are required to maintain the effects.
Autologous fat or Adipofil is also an option for correcting small areas of volume and contour irregularities of the face. Fat is first harvested with a gentle syringe technique and then processed into various types of fat products. Fat products vary in their size of the fat cells and nonfat composition. Products with larger fat cells are used to correct volume irregularities. Products with little to no fat cells will have a high stem cell fraction and are used primarily for skin regeneration. Autologous fat usually lasts much longer than commercial fillers and can be a more economical option when larger filler volumes are needed.
Not all patients are good candidates for a filler. In addition, some patients may need a tightening or lifting procedure prior to correcting volume loss with a filler. A consultation is always the best way to address these concerns and determine what combination of procedures will give you the best result.
Learn more about the facial fillers that we offer or contact us to schedule a consult today.