Injectable fillers provide facial enhancement without the time, expense or risk involved with surgery. Dr. Lapuerta suggests facial fillers to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and shadows on the face. He carries a number of filler brands including Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse and Sculptra. Injectable fillers, when combined with other anti-aging treatments, such as BOTOX®, have been labeled the “liquid facelift” of our time. These procedures are considered outpatient and are performed right inside our Houston, Pearland, and Katy, Texas plastic surgery centers.
Technological advances have made it possible to manufacture a variety of fillers. Most fillers are derived from natural substances (such as collagen) while others are artificially produced. The patient’s skin condition and aesthetic goals will decide which type of filler will be best to use.
Fat transfer is the harvesting of excess fat from a donor site on the patient’s body. The fat is extracted using liposuction. These fat tissues are then purified and reinjected gradually into an area of skin with layering precision. The doctor will massage the skin and ensure that the intended contour is achieved. The body naturally absorbs fat and the results often last up to 6 months.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in human and animals. Skin, bone, cartilage and teeth are rich in collagen. These are harvested and converted into a sterilized liquid form and used as a derma filler. It is a popular filler for lip augmentation procedures. Some collagen is derived from animals. Patients using a derma filler of this nature will require allergy testing ahead of the procedure to ensure that they will not have any complications.
Usually found in the bones and teeth of humans, calcium hydroxyapatite is also harvested and processed to use as a liquid filler. It is considered as one of the heavier substances and ideal in adding volume to deep creases. This particular filler product usually lasts longer than some of the others on the market.
Hyaluronic acid is another substance that is sourced from humans. Rich deposits of this substance are commonly found in ligaments and connective tissues. As with other natural substances, when used as a derma filler, the results are natural and effective, but they are not long lasting as the body reabsorbs the solution over time.
Polylactic acid is an artificial substance. When injected, it doesn’t just add volume underneath the skin, but it also triggers the production of collagen, which helps in skin renewal. The contours will be visible immediately and the skin quality will be evident after several months. This filler can last up to a year or longer for most patients.
This is a popular derma filler as it lasts longer compared to fillers that are made only from natural substances. PMMA is a hybrid of microspheres mixed with a collagen solution. The result is a more solid, heavy filler that works well for deep creases and for reconstructive purposes when a good amount of tissue is absent. This filler is considered longer lasting, meaning it has the potential to work for several years or longer.
Injectable fillers are performed in the doctor’s office with the use of local anesthetic creams if necessary. Almost pain-free, the patient will only feel a prick from the injection. The substance will be injected gradually in even layers to make sure a natural looking result and contour is achieved. Sometimes, it may take more than one full syringe depending on how much volume is needed. There may be slight swelling, bruising and redness on the treated area but this usually subsides after a few days. Patients will be able to return to a normal routine a few hours after treatment.
The cost for an injectable filler treatment varies per full syringe. Some treatments may require more than one syringe in a specific target area. In addition, there may be several target areas per session. Fees range from $350 to $1,500 per session.