Injectable fillers, otherwise known as dermal fillers or facial augmentation, are non-surgical cosmetic procedures that can restore a more full, youthful appearance by softening lines on the face.
Whether the lines are wrinkles caused by aging or are scars, these furrows can be smoothed over and virtually erased by injecting the chosen filler into the targeted area using a fine needle. This is a popular procedure for both men and women who want to take years off the appearance of their face.
Dermal Filler Options at Clinic 360
Clinic 360 in Toronto offers a variety of dermal filler options. The most common injectable fillers are:
A temporary filler option, hyaluronic acid is rapidly becoming a popular option among those who want to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles in their face. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in soft connective tissues, in the fluid surrounding the eyes, and in skin tissue. In skin tissue, hyaluronic acid is a soft, jelly-like substance that hydrates the skin, transports nutrients from the bloodstream to living cells, and acts as a cushioning and lubricating agent. Like collagen, our hyaluronic acid diminishes with age and is also affected by environmental factors like sunlight and pollutants. Injectable hyaluronic acid can either be synthetic or natural and must be touched up twice a year.
A naturally occurring protein in the body, collagen is most commonly found as a structurally supporting substance in the bones, skin, tendons, and muscles. It is formed by fibroblast cells and promotes the growth of new cells in the dermis. Unfortunately, collagen diminishes with age, which leads to facial lines and wrinkles. Replacement collagen is sterile, highly purified, and primarily either from bovine or human sources. The injections are accepted by the body as part of its own existing network of collagen, stimulating new cell growth. Collagen injections are temporary and generally should be administered after every 6 months to 2 years after the first treatment.
Compared to collagen and hyaluronic acid, fat grafting (otherwise known as fat transfer, microlipoinjection, and fat injections) is a slightly more complicated procedure. Fat is harvested from areas of the body where it occurs in higher quantities—such as the abdomen, outer thighs, and buttocks—using liposuction. The fat is then transferred to the desired areas to be filled. Particularly in the face, fat is lost over time and can lead to lines, wrinkles, depression, and hollow cheeks that can be corrected with fat transfer. A drawback of fat grafting is that you need to have areas of the body where fat is in surplus to suction it from. A benefit is that it is mostly permanent when done properly, because your body naturally accepts its own fat and will not reject it. Please note though in areas that experience high movement (such as the lips) it may not be as effective.
Choosing the Right Injectable Fillers
Choosing which injectable filler will be most effective is a decision that should be made between you and your plastic surgeon. The first step towards this is finding a reputable cosmetic surgery firm such as Clinic 360 in Toronto. This will provide you with the optimal results you seek.
Prior to your injectable filler procedure, you should visit Clinic 360 for a complimentary consultation. During this session, you can explain to your surgeon your expectations along with any allergies you may have, your medical history, any supplements or medications you are currently taking, and any previous cosmetic procedures you may have received. It is important to be thorough and honest in these disclosures as this can help prevent future risks of complications.
Best Candidates for Dermal Injection
Ideal candidates for dermal injection should have realistic expectations and be in overall good health. If you are under 18 years of age, are pregnant, or are prone to excessive bleeding, injectable fillers may not be the right choice for you. Issues that can be corrected with injectable fillers include:
- Crow’s feet
- Scarring (acne or trauma)
- Frown lines
- Marionette lines (lines that runs from the corners of the mouth to the chin)
- Forehead lines
- Cheek depressions or hollowness
- Smoker’s lines
Injectable Filler Treatments - How It’s Done
All three popular forms of injectable filler treatments are generally performed on an outpatient basis either at a hospital or at a plastic surgery firm such as Clinic 360 in Toronto. In almost all cases, you can go home the same day as treatment.
In the case of collagen, the face is first cleansed thoroughly. The treated area is wiped with antiseptic before being injected with a fine needle delivering a mixture of collagen, local anaesthetic (lidocaine), and saline solution. Depending on the depression being treated, the injections may also be massaged in before they firm up.
For bovine collagen replacement therapy, skin tests will have to be carried out prior to full treatment. This is because for 3% of the population, the body can react allergically to bovine collagen as it is derived from cows. Tests consist of a small amount of the substance being injected just below the skin of the forearm. Signs of allergic reaction include:
These reactions may take up to 4 weeks to appear and more than one test may be required to ensure safety. Human collagen injections do not carry this risk of allergic reaction.
Hyaluronic acid is injected using a fine needle, with the entire procedure taking between 20 minutes to an hour. In some cases, your surgeon may also inject some local anaesthetic (lidocaine). The filler is generally placed through a series of small injections forming a line and your surgeon may massage the targeted area following treatment. If necessary, it may be recommended that you receive another treatment or two for optimal results (with at least a week’s time between injections).
Because hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the body, it does not carry the same risk of allergic reaction as bovine collagen replacement therapy and, as such, does not require a prior skin test. In fact, hyaluronic acid injections are often recommended as an alternative to those patients allergic to bovine collagen.
Fat transfer is performed in three steps:
- Fat is harvested using liposuction from a donor site on the body where it occurs in surplus such as the outer thighs or abdomen. This is done by first injecting a tumescent solution (local anaesthetic, epinephrine, saline) into the targeted harvesting area before making a small incision and suctioning the fat out through a stainless steel tube known as a cannula.
- The harvested fat is then purified (either by hand or mechanically) before being prepared for injection via a syringe.
- The area that the fat will be grafted to is sanitized before a small incision is made. Through this incision, a cannula is inserted and the purified harvested fat cells are carefully injected. This may be repeated multiple times until the desired results are achieved.
Unlike collagen and hyaluronic acid injections, it is not advised to massage the treated area following fat transfer as this can lead to fat cell migration and diminished or asymmetrical results. The body will re-absorb approximately 65% of the fat injected though new techniques are consistently reducing this number. If results are not in line with expectations, a repeat fat transfer may need to be performed though it should not be until at least 3 months following the first procedure.
Risks & Complications
Your surgeon at Clinic 360 in Toronto will explain these risks in complete detail prior to your injectable filler treatment. During your complimentary consultation, you will also be given a set of aftercare instructions that will help minimize your complications. If you are a smoker, it is best to stop smoking the week prior to treatment and for at least 2 weeks following. Also, you should avoid Aspirin-based painkillers the week leading up to and post-treatment as well.
As with any cosmetic procedure, there are certain risks inherent to fat injections. These risks include:
- Allergic reaction to anaesthetic
- Asymmetric results
- Undercorrection (desired outcome not achieved due to not enough being injected)
- Overcorrection (too much filler injected)
- Clumping (particularly in fat grafting)
- Allergic reaction to bovine collagen
- Nerve damage
- Tissue damage
- Scarring (particularly in fat grafting incision sites)
Injectable Fillers Recovery
Recovery from collagen and hyaluronic injections is relatively minimal. If you received local anaesthetic during treatment, it is advised that you have somebody drive you home after the procedure. Otherwise, it is best to avoid excessive sun exposure, strenuous activity, smoking, Aspirin-based painkillers, and heavy alcohol consumption.
In the case of fat transfer, immediately following treatment you should avoid heavy facial movement and massage. Also, it is recommended that you place ice packs on the treated area for 24 to 48 hours to reduce swelling. You should schedule a follow-up appointment with your surgeon at Clinic 360 in Toronto between 6 to 8 weeks after your fat grafting in order to assess initial results.
Cost & Financing
Most injectable fillers are considered elective cosmetic procedures and, as such, are not covered by health insurance. In the case of fat transfer, cost can be heavily influenced by availability of fat on the body along with the anticipated complication surrounding its harvest and transfer.
Treatments begin at $550 per session and increase from there. You may either pay via cash, debit, credit, or through a financing plan. Please consult a representative at Clinic 360 to hear more details about all your payment options.