Also known as dermal fillers and soft tissue fillers
Fillers are a type of minimally invasive aesthetic medicine used to add volume, alter the contours of the face, and fill in wrinkles. Common areas to inject fillers are in the face, neck, and hands, resulting in a fuller, smoother and more youthful appearance. Dermal fillers are among the most popular aesthetic procedures because they carry immediate results, very few risks and little recovery time.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering fillers. If you want to focus on those specifically unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for fillers?
The following are some common reason why you may want to consider fillers:
Fillers are administered with a syringe to various areas on the face and head, including around the eyes, along the jaw, around the lips and in the forehead. The number, location and depth of the injections depend largely on the type of dermal fillers used and the desired results.
Some fillers contain a local anesthetic like lidocaine to enhance comfort during injection. Numbing cream may also be used.
There are three types of fillers commonly used: temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are temporary, while other types of fillers offer longer-lasting results.
Longer-lasting dermal fillers typically contain thicker substances, such as the biodegradable synthetic filler known as poly-L-lactic acid. These types of soft tissue fillers are used to treat deeper facial lines, and though they offer semi-permanent results, it’s possible that you’ll need an occasional “touch up” several weeks after your initial injections.
Permanent fillers are made of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which are microspheres that are not absorbed by the body. The filler also contains collagen and is only recommended for thick-skin areas such as the nasolabial folds. It is not recommended for any areas around the eyes or for the lips.
Silicone Injections – Patient Safety Warning
Silicone injections are an unsafe and unacceptable option to use as a filler. These injections are not FDA approved and often offered by unlicensed individuals and should be avoided. Always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon, preferably an ASAPS member, if you have questions about a particular type or brand.
What are the brand names for fillers?
There are a number of soft tissue filler brand names, but some of the most common are:
It’s important to choose your surgeon or injector based on:
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are experienced and qualified to perform your aesthetic procedure. Learn how to Select an Injector.
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who is experienced in performing filler injections, you will need to make an office appointment to set up your consultation. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is a cost associated with the initial visit.
During your initial consultation with your plastic surgeon, he or she will ask you about the areas on your face that concern you the most and what outcomes you’d most like to see. He or she will also evaluate the lines on your face to make recommendations. Together, you’ll decide on a type of dermal filler that will be best suited for your needs as well as injection sites to target. Once your surgeon or injector understands your goals, alternative and additional treatments may be considered (see related procedures).
Fillers can be administered the same day as your consultation because of their minimally invasive nature, low downtime, and safety record. Based on your goals, physical characteristics and many years of training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
For a general list of questions to ask your surgeon about his or her background, to find out about plastic surgery safety, and to plan your procedure, visit the Injectable Safety Planning Guide (Planning Toolkit).
We developed these questions to help you:
It is important for you to take an active role in your procedure, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
Your surgeon will provide thorough pre-treatment instructions and answer any questions you may have. In the weeks before your injections, you’ll be asked to refrain from taking aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, St. John’s Wort, and any other medications that could cause bruising. Be sure to inform your physician of any medicines you are taking. If you have a history of cold sores, your surgeon may recommend taking Valtrex as a precaution. Your doctor may ask you to stop smoking before the procedure. Regardless of the type of procedure to be performed, hydration is very important before and after treatment for safe recovery.
Before going for a consultation, it would be a good idea to read our Injectable Safety Planning Guide.
Immediately after injection
You will likely see the results of your injections immediately following the procedure, though it’s not uncommon for patients to experience swelling or minimal bruising in the area of the injection site. Your physician may give you an ice pack or cold compress to help stem swelling. The period of swelling will depend largely on the type of soft tissue filler you received, though most swelling, bruising, and redness should dissipate within one week to ten days.
Recovery time frame
One of the most enticing features of soft tissue fillers is their minimal recovery time. In the approximate week it takes for swelling and bruising to disappear, your doctor may advise you to avoid wearing hats or other headgear and only use small amounts of makeup.
The length of results from your dermal fillers is dependent on the type of injection you received:
The cost of filler injections varies from doctor to doctor and from one geographic area to another.
These numbers only reflect the physician/surgeon fees last year and do not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, surgical garments, or other miscellaneous costs related to fillers.
Filler injections are elective treatment, so insurance does not cover these costs. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training, and experience—not cost.
See why ASAPS members are widely recognized for upholding the highest standards in the area of aesthetic plastic surgery by viewing their basic credentials, training, and certifications.
As with any cosmetic procedure, patients must be in contact with their doctor during their recovery period. You should get in touch with your surgeon at the first sign of an abnormality or unexpected side effect. Prolonged pain and swelling could be a sign of infection or an allergic reaction.
There are very few risks associated with fillers, but you should contact your doctor if:
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your filler injection procedure.