Dermal Fillers


Fillers are injectable treatments that help diminish the signs of aging. Fillers are composed of soft, gel-like substances that can either be synthetic or naturally occur in nature. They may also sometimes be referred to as soft tissue fillers, dermal fillers, wrinkle fillers, lip and facial fillers.

They work by smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, plumping up the skin and restoring volume and fullness to the face.

What are the Uses of Fillers?

Fillers are used primarily to treat signs of aging. Typical uses of dermal fillers include:

  • Adding volume to your lips and areas of the face
  • Lifting of your cheekbones
  • Smoothing and filling out under-eye circles
  • Decreasing fine lines
  • Rejuvenation of the skin on the tops of your hands

What are the Different Types of Fillers?

Fillers can be temporary (absorbable) or permanent (non-absorbable).

Absorbable Materials:

  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a naturally occurring substance in the body found in areas such as skin tissue, cartilage, and joint fluid.
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite is a naturally occurring mineral-like compound found typically in bone.
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is a synthetic, biodegradable substance. When injected into the skin, it causes your body to produce collagen.

Non-absorbable Materials:

  • Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) beads are currently the only FDA-approved dermal filler that is permanent and non-absorbable in nature. When used in fillers, the PMMA beads are contained in a gel-like substance and mixed with bovine (cow) collagen.

What to Expect During Your Appointment for Fillers

Before getting any treatment, you should have a consultation appointment with a qualified healthcare professional. During the appointment, your provider will review your medical history, medication list, and past treatments. Be prepared to discuss your treatment goals. Your provider will discuss treatment options, possible risks and side effects, and also the expected results.

Before starting the procedure, your provider may take photos of the treatment area and mark the site of injections. Your skin will be thoroughly cleansed before the injectables can be given. Depending on your treatment area, you may also be given a numbing cream, local injection of an anesthetic, or ice to help ease any discomfort or pain from the procedure. It's not uncommon for your dermatologist to inject the filler into multiple areas to produce the best, most natural-looking results. The process can take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour.

For most patients, there is minimal to no downtime after receiving fillers. You most likely will be able to resume your daily activities after leaving the clinic. However, your dermatologist will ask you to avoid any strenuous activity and exercise for at least a day or two after your session.

Risks and Possible Side Effects

Like any other procedure, there are side effects and risks associated with filler injections.

Risks include

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Nodule or lump
  • Asymmetry
  • Tenderness or Pain
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Damage to the skin that results in a wound and possible scar
  • Infection at the injection site

Very rarely, injectable fillers can be accidentally injected into your blood vessels causing blockage of blood flow. When blood flow is interrupted, it can lead to skin damage and potentially even blindness.

To decrease the risk of complications arising from filler injections, it is important to select a qualified injector such as a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

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