Fillers for Rejuvenation and Enhancement
Injectable fillers are inert gels that occupy space, with no pharmacologic (drug) effect on the tissues. They also stimulate some collagen production within the injected areas, which creates additional useful volume. Fillers are most commonly injected into areas of volume deficiency caused by aging, which manifest as grooves, hollowing, and contour depressions in the face. When used in this way, fillers will restore lost volume and rejuvenate the face, making it look more youthful (because youthful faces do not exhibit these grooves, hollows and depressions). When the right type of filler is injected injected into certain locations, it can even exert a powerful lifting effect on the cheeks, so that the net effect of the filler is not just “filling”, but “lifting and filling”.
When used to address the aging face, fillers are most commonly injected into the grooves below the lower eyelid (the tear trough), the upper cheek groove (malar groove), the laugh line (nasolabial groove), and the droopy corner of the mouth (marionette line). Other facial areas that can become hollow with age and which would also benefit from filler injections are the temples and the sides of the cheeks.
Apart from rejuvenating the aging face, fillers can also be used to enhance the face when they are used to augment (add to) areas of primary volume deficiency (lack of volume not due to aging but due to genetic makeup). For example, the forehead can be made fuller and more rounded, the bridge of the nose can be made higher, the cheekbones can be made to look higher and fuller, the lips can be filled to give them more volume, and vertical length and forward projection can be added to the chin, all by filler injection.
There are two main types of filler: permanent and non-permanent. Permanent fillers are made of either an inert polymeric gel or a suspension of numerous tiny microspheres, while non-permanent fillers are mostly made from hyaluronic acid gel, which is a naturally occurring substance found in human tissue. There are many different brands of filler, each with different physical properties. Dr Huang uses his product knowledge and clinical judgment to select the most suitable filler to address each patient’s concerns.
Filler injections are non-invasive office based procedures completed under topical anesthesia with numbing cream. Some of the fillers contain local anesthetic so this makes the injections even more painless. The results are immediately visible, since the effects of the filler are physical rather than chemical. Bruising and swelling can occur post-treatment, but Dr Huang takes specific technical measures to ensure that these side effects are either absent or mild and there is normally no downtime.
When a non-permanent filler is used, it may need to be partially replenished every 6 to 12 months after the treatment, depending on the filler and site of injection. This is because the filler gradually and naturally dissolves away in the tissues. However, after a few treatments, the interval between treatments tends to become longer. As for non-permanent fillers, Dr Huang usually prefers to inject them in one or more steps rather than to inject a large amount in a single treatment. This careful approach allows greater accuracy to be achieved in terms of the results. Once the desired correction has been achieved, additional injections are not usually required for a long time, except to address further changes due to the natural process of aging.