As our bodies age, our skin also ages and begins to show changes that may be undesirable. The fat and collagen underlying our skin begins to diminish due to the natural aging process. Therefore, our skin starts to sag and develop wrinkles. One way to correct these effects is a surgical procedure called a facelift, which is costly and is an invasive procedure that has risks. Dermal fillers are a minimally invasive procedure with little or no recovery time, which costs less then surgery and has minimal risks. Dermal fillers have become a very trendy way to address the aging process.
Dermal fillers can be injected into areas with fine lines and wrinkles. Most of the problem areas include the area around the eyes, brow, bridge of the nose, mouth, jaw line and cheeks. Other areas that can be enhanced by dermal fillers include the lips, which can look fuller and younger after an injection. Scarring from injury to the face or acne can also be corrected with dermal fillers.
There are many different types of dermal fillers which include human collagen, hyaluronic acid, donor tissue fat and even one’s own fat (autologous fat). Each of the dermal fillers has different strengths and weakness, some last longer than others, sometimes a combination of different fillers may be used for best results. Dermatologists can formulate a specific treatment for each individual patient.
Bovine collagen was the first legally approved soft tissue augmentation in the U.S. Bovine collagen is derived from domestic cattle; therefore, Mad Cow Disease is a risk factor that may limit their use. Some patients may be allergic to bovine collagen therefore skin testing is required before they can be used. Bovine collagen is not used much anymore due to the availability of human collagen and other more superior filling agents.
Human collagen does not require skin testing and therefore may be more favored. Hyaluronic acid gives skin volume by binding to water and requires no skin testing. Autologous fat is usually taken from the thighs, buttocks or stomach by a micro liposuction procedure. Calcium hydroxyapatite degrades slowly; therefore the result is longer lasting. Some other dermal fillers include, poly-L-lactic acid, polymers and collagen related implants, and many new products that are constantly being researched.
Common side effects of dermal fillers include bleeding or bruising after the procedure. Allergic reactions have also been reported. Superficial beading of the overlying skin immediately after the procedure may be disturbing to the patient; reassuring the patient that it usually resolves spontaneously with time may be necessary. Patient should expect some degree of pain during the injection and redness for up to 36 hours after the procedure. Application of ice to the injection sites can decrease these symptoms.
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