Procedure: Plump up creased, furrowed, or sunken facial skin; add fullness to lips and backs of hands. Works best on thin, dry, light-colored skin.
Length: 15 minutes to 1 hour per session.
Anesthesia: Juvéderm or Radiesse: usually none; local may be included with the injection.
Side Effects: Temporary stinging, throbbing, or burning sensation. Faint redness, swelling, excess fullness.
Risks: Juvéderm or Radiesse: allergic reaction including rash, hives, swelling, or flu-like symptoms; possible triggering of connective-tissue or autoimmune diseases. (A skin test is required before Juvéderm or Radiesse treatment to determine whether an allergy exists.) Both: Contour irregularities, infection.
Duration of Results: Variable; a few months to 1 year.
If you're considering injectables...
As we age, our faces begin to show the effects of gravity, sun exposure and years of facial muscle movement, such as smiling, chewing and squinting. The underlying tissues that keep our skin looking youthful and plumped up begin to break down, often leaving laugh lines, smile lines, crow's feet or facial creases over the areas where this muscle movement occurs.
Soft-tissue fillers, most commonly injectable Juvéderm or Radiesse, can help fill in these lines and creases, temporarily restoring a smoother, more youthful-looking appearance. When injected beneath the skin, these fillers plump up creased and sunken areas of the face. They can also add fullness to the lips and cheeks. Injectable fillers may be used alone or in conjunction with a resurfacing procedure, such as a laser treatment, or a recontouring procedure, such as a facelift.
If you're considering a facial-rejuvenation treatment with Juvéderm or Radiesse, this will give you a basic understanding of the procedure - when injectables can help, how the procedure is performed, and what results you can expect. It may not answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please ask your doctor if there is anything about the procedure you don't understand.
Knowing your options
Injected Juvéderm or Radiesse are primarily used to improve the appearance of the skin's texture. They can help fill out deep facial wrinkles, creases and furrows, "sunken" cheeks, skin depressions and some types of scars. They can also be used to add a fuller, more sensuous look to the lips.
Injectables are usually not sufficient for severe surface wrinkles on the face, such as multiple vertical "lipstick lines" that sometimes form around the mouth. Instead, your plastic surgeon may suggest a resurfacing technique, such as chemical peel, dermabrasion or laser treatments. Rather than filling in facial lines, resurfacing methods strip away the outer layers of the skin to produce a smoother appearance.
Deep folds in the face or brow caused by overactive muscles or by loose skin may be more effectively treated with cosmetic surgery, such as a facelift or browlift. Injectables are sometimes used in conjunction with facial surgery procedures; however, injectables alone cannot change facial contour the way surgery can.
Keep in mind that a plastic surgeon is a specialist that can offer you the full gamut of the most advanced treatments ranging from cosmetic surgery, refinishing techniques, laser therapy, injectables and the use of other fillers. You and your surgeon may determine that a single procedure or a combination of procedures is the best choice for you.
ASPS brochures are available on chemical peel, dermabrasion, laser treatments, facelift and browlift. If you and your doctor think that one of these other procedures might be more appropriate for you, ask your plastic surgeon to provide you with a copy.
A word about other types of fillers
What to expect from treatment
The most important fact to remember about injectable fillers is that the results are not permanent. Injected material is eventually metabolized by the body. You should not expect the same long-lasting results that may be gained from cosmetic surgery.
In some individuals, the results may last only a few weeks; in others, the results may be maintained indefinitely. Researchers believe that age, genetic background, skin quality and lifestyle as well as the injected body site may all play a role in the injected material's "staying power." However, the precise reason for the variation of results among patients has yet to be identified.
Risks Related to Injectables
When injectables are administered by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor in nature. Still, individuals vary greatly in their anatomy, their physical reactions and their healing abilities. The outcome of treatment with injectables is never completely predictable.
Risks not necessarily related to allergies include infection, abscesses, open sores, skin peeling, scarring and lumpiness, which may persist over the treated area. Reports of these problems are very rare.
Planning for treatment
Facial rejuvenation is very individualized. That's why it's important to discuss your hopes and expectations with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with many different types of surgical and non-surgical facial procedures.
In your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will evaluate your face - the skin, the muscles and the underlying bone - and discuss your goals for the surgery. Your doctor will help you select a treatment option based on your goals and concerns, your anatomy and your lifestyle.
Your surgeon will ask you about your medical history, drug allergies, and check for conditions that could cause problems, such as active skin infections or non-healed sores from injuries. Juvéderm or Radiesse injections are generally off limits for pregnant women, patients who suffer from autoimmune diseases, and those who are allergic to lidocaine (the anesthetic agent contained in the syringe with the Juvéderm or Radiesse material). For more specific information about the contraindications and risks of Juvéderm or Radiesse use, ask your doctor for the manufacturer's brochure for patients.
Where your treatment will be performed
Injectables are usually administered in a surgeon's office-based facility. If, however, you are being hospitalized for a facelift, necklift, browlift, or any other procedure, your injections may be administered in the hospital as well.
Types of anesthesia
If you are especially sensitive to pain, your doctor may use a topical cream anesthetic or a freon spray to numb the injected area. Or, you may elect to have an injected local anesthetic or sedative drugs.
Juvéderm or Radiesse
Juvéderm or Radiesse is used primarily to fill wrinkles, lines and scars on the face and sometimes the neck, back and chest.The procedure: The Juvéderm or Radiesse is injected using a fine needle inserted at several points along the edge of the treatment site. If a local anesthesia has not been used, you may feel some minor stinging or burning as the injections are administered.
Since part of the substance is salt water that will be absorbed by the body within a few days, your doctor will slightly overfill the area. You may be asked to hold a hand mirror during the procedure to help your doctor decide when you've had enough.
After treatment: Immediately following treatment, you may notice some minor discomfort, stinging or throbbing in the injected area. Occasionally some bruising or swelling will occur, but it is usually minor. Any redness that appears in the injected site usually disappears within 24 hours. However, in some individuals, particularly fair-skinned patients, this redness may persist for a week or more. Tiny scabs may also form over the needle-stick areas; these generally heal quickly.
No bandaging is needed and you are free to eat, drink, and wear makeup with sunblock protection shortly thereafter. There may be some temporary swelling and redness in the treated area which should dissipate within a few days. If these symptoms persist, contact your surgeon.
Results: As stated earlier, the duration of results from Juvéderm or Radiesse injections is variable. Juvéderm or Radiesse's longevity depends on the patient's lifestyle and physical characteristics as well as the part of the body treated. In general, the injected material is likely to disappear faster in areas that are more affected by muscle movement.
Your doctor can help you determine how long you can go between treatments to best maintain your results.
Your new look
If you're like most patients, you'll be very satisfied with the results of your injectable treatments. You may be surprised at the pleasing results that can be gained from this procedure.