Dermal Filler

Restylane (Medicis) and Juvederm (Allergan) are sterile gels that can be used to rejuvenate the face and restore lost volume for fuller lips and reduction of wrinkles. Also known as dermal fillers, they are made from hyaluronic acid gel. This is a natural carbohydrate found in the tissues of all vertebrate animals. Because of this, no skin testing for allergies is required. To further enhance safety, the hyaluronic acid used is derived from a non-animal source by using genetically engineered bacteria to produce it. They contain no human or animal DNA.

The advantage of hyaluronic acid is that it can last up to twice as long as collagen. Patients can expect it to last for at least 6 months. There are a variety of preparations available with different consistencies, each suited to a particular anatomical area.

Two of the most attractive aspects of fillers are that they are relatively inexpensive and also require little to no “down time” for the patient. The procedure only takes a few minutes to perform, and requires no bandages, dressings, or ointments afterward. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately.

The area is cleaned with an antiseptic wipe and the appropriate filler is injected into the selected wrinkles or folds, or into the lips, using a very fine needle to deposit the filler into the tissues. The process is gradual, checking at each stage that you are happy with the volume achieved. The cosmetic correction is immediate.

The risks and complications with filler are rare and fairly minor compared to many other cosmetic treatments. However, the following side effects can sometimes occur:

Allergy – there is a small risk of allergic reaction to the filler or swelling of the treated area.

Lumpiness – The filler is deposited in small packets along the wrinkle/crease. It is possible that you may feel or even see lumpiness. This can be massaged to soften.

Bleeding, tenderness – and some degree of temporary pain may also occur.

All the risks will be discussed in detail at your consultation. However, if you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to discuss these with me.

Afterwards, the only patient restriction is to avoid strenuous physical activity for the first twenty-four hours. It is very important not to rub or massage the treated areas for the first day or two afterwards to avoid displacing the filler. The possibility of swelling or bruising can also be minimized by the application of cold packs to the area for the first 24 hours. The benefit of hyaluronic acid fillers is that if you are not completely happy and wish for it to be removed, I can simply dissolve the filler with a small injection. It is as risk free as you can get with any treatment.

You are likely to require a ‘top up’ as soon as you notice the filler reabsorbing. This is likely to be between 6 and 9 months after your first initial treatment.

Anne Dancey

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or require a little more information then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Anne Dancey

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon FRCS(Plast), MBChB(Hons), MMedSci(Hons) and MCh(PASP)