I meet a fair number of patients who don’t know what “Fillers” are or why they are used.
You are also probably seeing a lot of advertisements now for facial fillers. Restylane and Juvederm are the most commonly seen. Other brand names are Perlane, Sculptra, and Radiesse. These are not as commonly used and tend to be for specific isolated purposes. In any case, let me give you a crash course on the more common Hyaluronic Acid fillers.
The fillers used today are replacing collagen. Collagen was ‘ok’ but there was the potential for allergies and it didn’t last very long. The new fillers are predominantly Hyaluronic Acid (HA). Like collagen, HA is also a protein that we already have in our skin. The advantages of HA are that allergy to the products in not an issue and it typically lasts about a year or more.
The purpose of fillers it to fill in deep folds like the ones we all have separating our cheeks from our lips. They are also commonly used to plump shrinking lips, treat the corners of the mouth, or marionette lines. Additional uses are to fill the tear troughs, acne scars, or deeper wrinkles of the forehead.
The fillers are not ideally suited for smoothing out the fine surface lines we get around our eyes and mouth. They help smooth these out, but they are really intended to treat deeper lines and folds.
A final not, Fillers and Botox are not the same thing. Botox smoothes wrinkles by deactivating the muscle responsible for the wrinkle. Fillers fill. They can and frequently are used together to get the best results in facial rejuvenation.
Lee Corbett, MD