Dermal Fillers – What are they?
Dermal fillers these days are the rage! Everyone loves the instant results of having fillers done. Fillers bring back volume to sunken areas of the face, shedding years off your age. It is even catching up in popularity here in Malaysia based on the number of patients we have had in the past few months. The minimal to zero downtime (swelling or redness) has attracted most patients to opt for dermal fillers when it comes to a having their nose bridge higher or having their tired looking eyes (dark eye circles, eyebags, etc) be rejuvenated. Patients can have the procedure done within 5 to 10 minutes and walk out of the clinic looking like nothing was done. Compared to surgery which has higher risks, bruising and swelling, it is no wonder many opt for the magic of dermal fillers these days!
What are dermal fillers?
By definition, a dermal filler is a product that is injected or placed into the dermis (deeper layer of the skin). The perfect dermal filler would be inexpensive, safe, painless to inject, hypoallergenic, and long lasting. In addition, it should have consistent and predictable results, feel natural under the skin, take little time to inject, be ready-to-use, exert no downtime on the patient, and have a low risk of complications. Modern day technology has enabled researchers and doctors to work together to create newer and better fillers.
At The Retreat Clinic, we choose hyaluronic acid dermal fillers as our main weapon of choice. We use FDA approved brands such as Juvederm and Restylane to treat our patients who come looking for a more youthful face, higher nose bridge or even sharper chin.
So what are hyaluronic acid dermal fillers? Are there other types of dermal fillers? Well, when dermal fillers were first introduced in 1981, they used bovine collagen as dermal fillers which lasted a mere 3 months. The instant treatment of wrinkles was magical and unheard of at that time. However, bovine collagen dermal fillers had some shortcomings such as (1) the potential for allergy to the bovine collagen, which required skin testing prior to the first treatment; (2) results generally lasted 3 months or less; and (3) disappointing results if used to fill moderate rhytides (wrinkles), skin folds, or scars.
Hyaluronic acid helps collagen and elastin fibers to bind together. The binding of collagen and elastin fibers break down with aging resulting in disorganized clumps of collagen and elastin. These benefits make hyaluronic acid an excellent dermal filling agent. In February 2003, the FDA approved Restylane, a cross-linked, non animal sourced hyaluronic acid. This dermal filler was quickly found to be relatively long lasting, have minimal adverse effects, was easy to use, was ready to use out of the box, did not require refrigeration, was cost effective, and did not require skin testing prior to treatment. Because hyaluronic acid is identical in all species, the risk of allergy is remote and almost none.
How long do hyaluronic acid dermal fillers last?
Hyaluronic acid potently binds to water and, when injected into the skin, volumizes, softens, and hydrates the skin. In addition to these benefits, it plays a role in cell growth, membrane receptor function, and adhesion. A recent study revealed that although modern day hyaluronic acid dermal fillers last for 12 to 18 months, the results are much longer lasting than that. This is because of the stimulation of collagen production in areas filled with hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. What this means is that when you get a syringe of filler into your cheeks, it not only brings back instant volume but also helps to promote the growth of collagen in that area, giving you longer lasting youthfulness. Patients only need to have a small top up when needed and the effects will last a long time.
In the uncommon circumstance when an undesirable outcome occurs with hyaluronic acid, correction is possible with the injection of commercially available hyaluronidase, which breaks down the unwanted hyaluronic acid dermal filler. In Malaysia, we have seen patients being injected with silicone, being promised that results will last up to 5 years. We have seen silicone last much longer than that and unfortunately most patients develop lumpiness that migrate downwards (due to gravity). Being silicone, the only way to remove it is by open surgery.
What are dermal fillers used for?
Dermal fillers these days can be used for a variety of indications. Dark eye circles, higher nose bridges and fuller cheeks are the most popular indications for patients seeking dermal fillers at The Retreat Clinic.
Techniques for injecting dermal vary with the area being injected and patients should always get a trained medical doctor to perform the injection. Patients should also ensure that the doctor injecting dermal fillers should be trained with the latest techniques. An up to date injector makes the biggest difference between a bad result and an excellent result. Unfortunately in Malaysia, there are still many who seek the services of untrained non medical injectors. We have had many patients coming to us complaining of lumpiness and wanting to remove their fillers.
So Is It For You?
If you are looking for a quick way to get back the years you have lost through aging, dermal fillers is a very satisfying procedure to undergo. The instant result and minimal to zero downtime ensures that you do not have to skip work or even social events. The best part about dermal fillers is the natural results that you get. Everyone will notice but no one will know what you have done. That slight increase in sharpness of your jawline or even that higher nose bridge. That is the beauty of dermal fillers.
We have a variety of dermal filler procedures over here at The Retreat Clinic and we will be updating our blog soon with some of our latest signature procedures such as the Heart Shape Face & 8-Point Total Rejuvenation.
You can have a look at Ms L’s transformation from sunken cheeks and tear trough (under eye area) to youthful fuller cheeks & fresher eyes!
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