Fabulous Fillers

By: Beth Phillips, RPAC

This time of the year, the phone at our plastic surgery practice starts ringing off the hook with patients wanting to come in for fillers. As a practitioner, I find that my patients get much satisfaction following their filler treatments.

In the past, facelifts were the mainstay for helping to make a face more youthful. While facelifts continue to be very helpful, many women (and men) are turning to fillers for subtle improvements.

Christie Brinkley is an icon for maintaining a youthful look despite her age. She has stated openly for years that she has used Botox and fillers for years to help maintain her youthful appearance.

As we age, we lose volume in our faces. This is multifactoral. Our whole skeleton shrinks, and bones degenerate. Most people will first notice this in a loss of height. We experience this bone loss in our face as well. The fat in our face degenerates and what is left moves south. I often joke with patients that we should consider ourselves an “anti- gravity clinic.” And lastly, we lose collagen in our skin. This loss of collagen causes the skin to sag and wrinkle.

While attending conferences on facial rejuvenation, one of the biggest changes over the past decade is the recognition of the need for volume. Even physicians that are experts in performing facelifts will often say that adding volume in conjunction with a lift can elevate a good result to a great result.

So, what are dermal fillers? They are gels that are injected beneath the skin surface. They are used to fill in areas that have lost volume due to aging. Results are immediate and can last six to twelve months.

There are three main substances that I think of as fillers. They include hyaluronic acid gels, calcium hydroxyapatite gels and fat. All three of these substances occur naturally in the body, and therefore, they will not be rejected.

There are many different preparations of hyaluronic acid and based on their chemical properties, they are made to be placed at different depths within the skin and soft tissue. Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero are some of the many Hyaluronic acid gels. The benefit to a hyaluronic acid gel is that if for some reason, you are not happy with the results, there is an enzyme that can be injected to dissolve the product.

While calcium hydroxyapatite, also known as Radiesse, is not reversible, it has the added benefit of being a collagen biostimulator. This signals your body to make more natural collagen.

Fillers are used in many places. The most common area is facial wrinkles. Nasolabial folds, marionette lines and ‘smokers lines are treated to soften the look. I tell my patients to think of filler as “spackle” to smooth out grooves. Volume can be added to cheeks to create a more youthful look. There are some newer fillers that work wonderfully in the tear trough, aka the under eyes. This has been a very difficult area to treat in the past, but now we are able to get much better results.

Fillers are also frequently used to augment lips and indented scars.

Areas where fillers are used but are not as widely known include: the hands, earlobes, temples and labia.

Fat can be taken from unwanted areas and placed in other areas to create increased volume. The benefit of fat is that it is more permanent than the other fillers. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how much of the injected fat will survive when it is initially placed.

PRP (platelet rich plasma) is frequently injected along with dermal fillers to increase stimulation of collagen in those regions.

Fillers need to be injected using safe techniques and by a provider who fully understands facial anatomy and has had proper training to avoid complications.

Fillers should be placed by a practitioner who understands your desires. Christie Brinkley states, “Fill, don’t stuff!” The best filler’s results should leave you looking like a more vibrant version of yourself…not like someone else!!

For more information visit our website at www.plasticsurgeryofsyracuse.com or call us 315-663-0112.