Also called soft-tissue fillers, dermal fillers, soft-tissue augmentation
As we age, our skin loses its youthful fullness. Fillers help to restore lost fullness to the face, lips, and hands.
Fillers are popular for several reasons. Our patients like that they can return to everyday activities immediately after getting most fillers. They like the immediate results that many types of fillers deliver. Patients also like that they can get this treatment during an office visit. Some fillers require a few office visits.
Uses: With a number of fillers now available, dermatologists can diminish signs of aging that appear on the face, lips, and hands. Fillers can effectively:
- Restore fullness to cheeks, hollow areas under the eyes, and deep creases
- Erase fine lines
- Restore the contour of the temples
- Plump lips
- Lift the brow or a downturned mouth
- Lessen scars
- Rejuvenate hands
Insurance coverage: Insurance does not cover treatment that reduces signs of aging.
Fillers are popular. Here is some info for you.
If you decide that fillers are right for you, it is important to know that injecting a filler is a medical procedure. Having a filler injected in a non-medical setting can be extremely dangerous. To protect your health, you should never get a filler injected at a:
- Non-medical spa
- Someone’s home
It is critical that you see a doctor who has expertise injecting fillers and many satisfied patients. The results you see depend largely on the experience of the person performing this procedure. Our dermatologist has decades of experience and the knowledge and experience required to inject fillers safely and effectively.
The procedure varies with the filler(s), the part of the body to be treated, and your medical history. Here are some general guidelines about what you can expect:
- Most filler treatments take between 15 and 30 minutes and require one office visit.
- Before getting the injections, a topical anesthetic is applied to the skin and/or ice, and occasionally a nerve blocker. This varies with the filler and area to be treated; lips often require a nerve blocker.
- Our dermatoglist co-authored some of the first information of the of ice before treatments to minimize discomfort.
- Our dermatologist will sometimes use massage or vibration to lessen discomfort as he helped pioneer this innovative treatment.
- Our dermatologist will inject the filler into the area, often giving you several injections to produce the best results.
- You may feel a stinging or burning sensation as the filler is injected. Many fillers have anesthetic as part of the preparation so after a short period of time you will feel less discomfort.
Most patients can return to their everyday activities after leaving the office.
To reduce any redness and swelling from the injections, your dermatologist may recommend icing the area for 15 to 20 minutes before you leave.
Before you leave the office, you should be able to apply makeup.
After leaving the office, you should:
- Wait until the next day to exercise or do any other strenuous activity.
- Stay out of the sun and do not use a tanning bed or other type of indoor tanning.
- Avoid touching the treated area for three days, unless you receive instructions to massage the area.
- One filler, poly-L-lactic acid, requires you to gently massage the treated area for about 5 minutes three times a day for 1 week. Our dermatologist will tell you if you need to massage the area.
This varies with the filler. Most fillers do not cause downtime. Be sure to ask your dermatologist whether you will have downtime.
Most fillers offer immediate results
When see results
|2 or 3 weeks|
You may see other fillers advertised. All fillers listed above have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To get natural-looking results, the person injecting the filler must have expertise in placing the filler.
We recommend not overdoing fillers. Your results will look more natural with a conservative approach. For example, patients who have very thin lips should not get dramatically fuller lips. Creating fuller lips in these patients could be extremely unflattering because the lips might start to resemble a duck’s bill.
Most fillers offer temporary results and require repeat treatments to maintain the results.
Temporary fillers offer one key advantage. These can be injected as needed to replace lost fullness. This is advantageous because no matter what we do, our skin continues to age.
How long fillers typically last
|Hyaluronic acid gel|
|4 to 12 months|
|6 months to 1 year|
|1 to 2 years|
As part of your consultation our dermatologist will let you know how long the recommended filler should last in the area you want treated.
If you get a temporary filler, you can usually have another treatment when the signs of aging reappear.
After receiving filler injections, some patients have minor, temporary side effects where they were injected. You may have:
- Bruising (occasionally)
- Do NOT take elective aspirin within 10 days of your procedure. For a headache, you can safely take Tylenol (acetaminophen). If your internist wants you to take aspirin daily, do not stop it, but you may have additional temporary bruising.
These side effects tend to clear within 7 to 14 days — if not earlier.
Serious side effects are more likely when the person injecting the filler does not have adequate medical training and experience. To protect your health, you should never get filler injections in a non-medical setting, such as non-medical spa, salon, or someone’s home.
When fillers are injected in a non-medical setting or by an inexperienced provider, reports of more serious side effects increase dramatically. These side effects include:
- Over-filled areas
- Allergic reaction
- Skin discoloration
- Severe swelling
This is one of the safest cosmetic treatments available. For years, dermatologists have been refining the use of fillers to diminish signs of aging. Today, dermatologists safely treat people of many ages and all skin colors.
To protect your health and find out what results you want, our dermatologist always offers a consultation before injecting a filler. To help you get the most benefit from this appointment, the AAD recommends:
- Asking questions
- Gather important information before your consultation
Questions to ask before getting a filler
Asking questions during the consultation will help you know what to expect so that you can make an informed decision.
Before receiving a filler, you can ask the following questions:
- Are the results permanent or temporary?
- What are the potential side effects?
- Do I have a higher risk for any side effects?
- Is the filler FDA-approved for this use?
- How long have you used this filler?
- How many patients have you treated?
- How much will the treatment cost?
During the consultation, our dermatologist will examine your skin. This helps to determine whether a filler can diminish the signs of aging that concern you. You may learn that another cosmetic procedure is more appropriate.
If a filler is appropriate, your dermatologist will tell you more about the filler.
Vital information to tell your dermatologist
Before getting a filler, it is essential that you tell your dermatologist about all medical conditions that you have. It is especially important for your dermatologist to know if you have any of the following:
- Bleeding disorder
- Cold sore breakouts
- Heart condition
- Previous cosmetic treatment (mention other injections and implants)
- Easily irritated skin
- Recent or upcoming dental cleanings
Your dermatologist will ask you about your medications. Be sure to tell your him or her about all medicines that you take, even ones that do not require a prescription.
Be sure to mention all vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies. It is especially important for your dermatologist to know if you are taking any of the following:
- Vitamin E
- St. John’s wort
- Garlic supplements
- Ginger supplements
Be sure to mention everything, even if it seems unimportant. Even if you haven’t taken a supplement or medicine for a while, it’s worth mentioning.
Our dermatologist is experienced and has written multiple papers about fillers and methods to minimize discomfort, so relax. While temporary side effects go away, they are generally managed easily. We will try to have you look as natural and non-distorted as possible. Many of our patients have had fillers for over 10 years and have thereby look much younger and more vital.