By Bernard I. Raskin, M.D.
Looking for a safe, long lasting, cosmetic procedure that delivers instant gratification? Try a dermal filler. Dermal fillers have been used world wide for almost 30 years. With aging, the face deflates; much like a balloon loses air over time and no longer looks smooth and full. With the variety of fillers that we have today we can re-volumize the face giving back its youthful appearance. The only question now is which dermal filler to choose.
In 2003 the dermal filler Restylane® was FDA approved. Restylane® is made of hyaluronic acid. In the human body, natural hyaluronic acid provides volume and fullness to the skin. The hyaluronic acid in Restylane® has been modified slightly to last longer than the body’s hyaluronic acid. There are now several hyaluronic based products on the market to choose from. The biggest difference in these products is the consistency. Depending on the area being filled you may want to consider different products. An HA filler with a thinner consistency may be better to fill the small fine lines around your mouth, where a deep fold would probably be corrected better with a more robust filler. Your provider will help you choose the appropriate HA product for you.
In 2006 Radiesse® was approved for the correction of facial wrinkles and facial atrophy. Typically Radiesse® is injected deeper than other fillers to restore facial volume rather than fill lines. Radiesse® differs from other fillers in that it is composed of calcium based microspheres and a carrier gel. Radiesse® also stimulates your body to produce new collagen.
Sculptra® is a product that differs from all other filler agents. Sculptra® is composed of Poly-L-lactic acid which is a dermal stimulating agent, not a filling agent; it is believed to stimulate fibroblasts to produce more collagen.
The most recent dermal filler to be FDA approved is the porcine collagen filler Evolence®. Because porcine (pig) collagen so closely resembles human collagen, no skin testing is required before your treatment. Results last approximately 6 months, which appears to be longer lasting than either human or bovine-based collagen fillers.
Advances in technology have given physicians a large selection of dermal fillers to choose from. But no one filler can address every patient’s concern. Treatment should be tailored to the patient’s individual needs to achieve maximum benefit.