Injectable fillers are one of the most popular facial rejuvenation techniques. As we age, the underlying tissues that keep our skin looking youthful and firm begin to break down due to the effects of gravity, sun exposure, diet, genetic factors, and years of facial muscle movement. Over time these factors contribute to the development of lines, wrinkles, and folds in the face.
When used as standalone treatments or with other procedures,injectable fillers can reduce or eliminate wrinkles and scars, create fuller lips, and treat lipoatrophy, or fat loss beneath the skin. With little downtime and almost immediate results, injectable fillers offer a safe, effective method of restoring a smoother, more youthful appearance.
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The dermis, or innermost layer of the skin, is composed primarily of connective tissue and provides the skin with a support network. Most facial wrinkles and deeper folds occur within the dermal layer of the skin. The connective tissue of the dermis, collagen and elastin fibers form a network that provides the skin with structure, support, and elasticity. Furthermore, fat cells and other molecules, such as hyaluronic acid, help to create volume beneath facial skin. With time, this network of collagen and elastin fibers breaks down, and hyaluronic acid molecules and fat cells that create volume are depleted. Together, breakdown and depletion of these molecules result in wrinkles and other changes to facial skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring complex sugar molecule that forms large matrices in the connective tissue of the body, such as skin and cartilage. Much like a sponge, its primary function is to bind and absorb water molecules, which creates volume in the face. Hyaluronic acid fillers are generally used to treat facial wrinkles and folds and to enhance the appearance of the lips. One of the fastest growing dermal filler treatments available, hyaluronic acid fillers work by replacing the hyaluronic acid in the body that has depleted over time, which restores the volume beneath the skin’s surface.
While there are a variety of hyaluronic acid fillers, some of the most common are Esthelis®, Restylane®, and Juvederm®. Hyaluronic acid fillers are generally biocompatible, which means allergy skin testing is not required prior to treatment.
Depending on the extent of treatment, hyaluronic acid injection procedures typically last between 15 – 30 minutes. Prior to the start of your procedure, the treatment areas will be cleansed,usually using an alcohol based cleaner. A local or topical anesthetic may be used to numb the treatment area during the procedure.
Using an ultra fine needle, hyaluronic acid is injected into the dermis at several points along the edge of the treatment area.
After approximately 2 – 3 injections, the treatment area is massaged. Injection of the filler along the length of the wrinkle or fold until maximum correction has been achieved. If a local anesthesia has not been used, you may feel some minor stinging from the injections. As the injected hyaluronic acid molecules attract and bind water molecules, the volume beneath the skin will increase, restoring a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Immediately following the injections, you may experience some redness, slight stinging, minor swelling, or bruising in the treatment area. Tiny scabs may also form at the injection sites. These symptoms typically disappear within 2-3 days. Bandaging is not necessary and most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately following treatment.
Sameer Karkhanis, MD
Board-Certified Mumbai Plastic Surgeon
Chief Plastic Surgeon & the Director at CCRS is a qualified Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He is Board Certified, with the qualification of DNB Plastic Surgery (Diplomate of National Board). He is an active member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.