Injectable fillers are the second most common cosmetic procedure after Botox. The fillers are injected into the skin to fill in facial wrinkles, or add volume where it has been lost to aging. As fillers are a relatively low risk, inexpensive, and convenient procedure, they have become one of the leading procedures in cosmetic dermatology.
Injectable fillers, like the name suggests, fill in gaps under the skin, whether it’s a loss of natural volume or wrinkles, restoring smoothness and results in a more youthful look. There are all sorts of filler materials used, but the most commonly used material today is hyaluronic acid to smooth out the face, and this filler will be the focus of the article.
Why are fillers so popular?
Fillers reliably result in the desired cosmetic outcome, have excellent safety profiles with minimal downtime (often called lunchtime facelifts), and have relatively low costs.1
Are the changes permanent?
No, the vast majority of fillers are non-permanent. Some fillers like polylactic acid are semi-permanent or even permanent, but most procedures are temporary. Longer lasting fillers are not the focus of this article – they have their uses – but it’s always a good idea to inquire with your cosmetic dermatologist about all the options.
How drastic a change can I expect?
That’s up to the patient. The patient decides what they want from the procedure. Today, most people prefer subtle, soft improvements using small amounts of filler – enough to notice a difference, but one that is not aggressive or drastic. Some patients do prefer a more dramatic change and will opt for a larger dose of filler. Communicate what you want clearly with the performing physician during your consultation.
Safety, side-effects, and downtime:
Besides being effective at rejuvenating the face, fillers also have excellent safety profiles, with minimal downtime, making it an extremely convenient procedure. Botox and fillers have often been called “the lunchtime facelift” due to this convenience and speed – it can be done in under an hour, and its effects can be appreciated almost immediately. Serious side-effects like tissue necrosis are infrequent. The most common side-effects (still very rare) are infections and irregular movement of the filler, both of which can be treated.
How much do fillers cost?
Treatments usually start at a few hundred dollars and go up from there. The factors that influence price are:
- How much filler is being used
- Which particular filler is being used
- The market (New York will likely be more expensive than Texas)
- The physician performing the procedure
However, this is only part of the equation. The vast majority of fillers are temporary fillers, lasting from 3 to 12 months, depending on the filler and the location. This means that re-treatment will be necessary to maintain the appearance over time. Finally, as fillers do not stop the aging process itself, you may need more fillers for a similar effect when you are older.
Who gets injectable fillers?
Injectable fillers are the second most popular procedure across the board. Men and women, young and old, use fillers to smooth out the skin, but the demographic skew towards middle age.2 It is also skewed towards women as well. Women form a majority of cosmetic patients generally but form a much bigger majority when it comes to injectable fillers, making about 95% of patients.3
Are injectable fillers the same thing as Botox?
No. Botox is a brand name of botulinum toxin. It is a commonly used cosmetic procedure to reduce wrinkles, most commonly in the upper third of the face, primarily caused by overuse of facial muscles. On the other hand, injectable fillers are indicated mainly for the lower half of the face to fill in and restore lost volume.
Botox and injectable fillers make up the number 1 and 2 most commonly performed cosmetic procedures as both have excellent safety, reliability, and patient satisfaction at a relatively low cost.
Do people get addicted to fillers?
No, patients don’t get addicted to fillers – at least in any conventional sense of the word. Many patients who have fillers do indeed come back for more when it wears off. Fillers generally last from 6 to 12 months and require re-treatment if they want to maintain the same appearance. The high level of patient satisfaction with the procedure and its temporary nature is likely the culprit for this misinterpretation.
Any advice for people who are considering injectable fillers?
Do your research. You want an experienced physician to be performing the injections. Ensure that they are appropriately certified and experienced in the specific injection that you want to be done. Communication is also critical – you need to feel comfortable talking to your physician about what you want, the options available to you, the price of the procedure. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions to your doctor. Clarify everything. What happens if you are unsatisfied with the outcome? Who pays for re-treatment in these cases?
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1The total costs can add up, even if individual procedures are relatively inexpensive as fillers generally only last several months. This is something that patients absolutely ought to take into account.
2There are four times as many filler-treatment patients in their 30s compared to patients in their 20s. There are four times as many filler-treatment patients in their 40s compared to patients in their 30s. After the 40s, the demand decreases.