Elective facial surgeries are an increasingly popular way for patients to smooth and fill in wrinkles, shore up sagging skin and reduce the visible signs of aging. In the past, facial rejuvenation involved surgical procedures designed to tighten the skin. Nowadays, the focus is more preventative in nature, with many patients opting for non-surgical treatment involving injectable facial fillers.
Botox is a prescription drug made from the Clostridium botulinum bacterium that is used to temporarily paralyze muscle activity. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, botulinum toxin injections are the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure available. In fact, last year, Americans underwent more than seven million Botox treatments.
What Does Botox Do?
Botox injections are primarily used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles by blocking signals from your nerves to your muscles, preventing them from contracting. This causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. Botox is most useful in treating:
- Frown lines between your eyebrows
- Crow’s feet, which are the lines that extend from the corners of your eyes
- Forehead furrows
How Is Botox Performed?
Administering Botox injections takes just a few minutes and doesn’t require anesthesia. A numbing medication or cream can be applied to the skin beforehand, if you’re worried about discomfort. Your doctor will use a thin needle to inject a small dose of Botox into your skin or specific muscles.
Results usually take a few days to appear and will last anywhere from three to 12 months. Maintenance injections are needed if you wish to continue treatment beyond the initial dose.
Some temporary bruising at the injection site is common but beyond that, side effects are rare. They may include headaches, drooping eyelids and a crooked smile. In rare cases the botulinum toxin may spread to other parts of the body and cause problems.
Contact a medical professional right away if you experience muscle weakness, vision problems, trouble speaking or swallowing, breathing difficulties or loss of bladder control.
Botox can be dangerous if administered improperly, so be sure to choose a skilled and certified doctor who is experienced with Botox injections.
Injectable wrinkle fillers are soft tissue fillers that are injected into the skin to give you a more youthful appearance. They fill in lines and wrinkles that are the result of aging, smoking, sun exposure and gravity. The typical procedure takes less than thirty minutes and results last up to a year.
While Botox injections work by relaxing muscles, injectable wrinkle fillers use substances that fill in lines and creases and add volume to facial features. They can be used to plump up cheeks and lips, soften facial features and reduce saggy skin. Often, they are used in conjunction with other skin treatment procedures (e.g., facelifts and Botox injections).
Types of Fillers
A variety of substances are used as wrinkle fillers. All are absorbed by the body over time, which means repeated injections are necessary to maintain results. These include:
- Collagen. A natural protein that is found in the skin and tissues.
- Hyaluronic acid. A natural lubricating gel the body produces to plump the skin.
- Calcium hydroxylapatite. A mineral found in bone; it is biodegradable and implanted as a gel.
- Poly-L-lactic acid. A synthetic material made from alpha-hydroxy acid that has been used in medical procedures involving dissolvable stitches and bone screws.
- Human fat.
In addition, a permanent filler that isn’t absorbed by the body, polymethylmethacrylate beads –small, round plastic particles that are biodegradable – are sometimes used. The type of filler chosen varies based on your needs and your doctor’s recommendations.
Injectable wrinkle treatment is a quick outpatient procedure performed in a doctor’s office with either a local or topical anesthesia. Results are immediate and will last from four months to a year.
Possible side effects and risks include infection, bruising, swelling, redness, pain, tenderness, numbness, itching and rash, skin nodules, abscesses, open sores, blurred vision, flu-like symptoms and allergic reactions. Most of these are temporary and disappear within a week; in rare cases, long-term side effects may occur.
Before undergoing this type of procedure, be aware of the potential risks and make sure you select a doctor who is trained for your specific procedure.
Restylane is a hyaluronic acid (HA) based injectable filler used to treat facial wrinkles and folds and add fullness to your lips. The clear gel adds volume and fullness to your skin, smoothing out moderate to severe wrinkles and folds. This was the first HA filler to be approved by the FDA and has a long and proven safety record.
Restylane is effective at reducing aging lines on the face including the nasolabial folds that stretch from the nose to the corner of the mouth; melomental folds in the mouth corners, crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles and orbital troughs around the eyes.
Treatment with Restylane usually lasts 6-12 months depending on the patient’s lifestyle, age and skin type. Afterward, follow-up treatments can be given on a regular basis.
Side effects are mild. There is the possibility of temporary bruising at the injection site as well as some swelling, numbness, redness and tenderness, but these usually dissipate after a few days. In rare instances, small bumps may appear on the skin. Those with skin conditions such as sores, acne, rashes, hives, cysts or cold sores should delay treatment until healed, as injections might delay healing or worsen the condition.
Juvederm is an injectable gel filler used to smooth away wrinkles around the mouth and nose and soften deep folds in the face. This hyaluronic acid (HA) based filler is used to reduce nasolabial folds (often referred to as “smile lines”), add volume to the lips and skin and fill in facial scars.
Juvederm is produced using a unique technology called Hylacross™, a cross-linking process that chemically binds the acid chains together to change them into a smooth gel structure that lasts up to one year with a single treatment – the only FDA-approved filler designed to be that long-lasting.
Juvederm is administered with a thin needle under the skin. Hyaluronic acid, which occurs naturally in the body but diminishes as we age, is immediately restored, adding volume and reducing lines, folds and wrinkles. Results are instantaneous.
The treatment is safe and effective, with few side effects. You may experience bruising, numbness, tenderness and redness, though these are temporary and should disappear within a few days. Serious complications such as facial bumps may occur, though these are extremely rare. Patients with severe allergies should refrain from seeking treatment.
Lip augmentation uses fillers and surgical implants to alter the underlying structure of your face and provide a better balance to the facial features. This procedure is an option for anyone who feels their lips are not proportioned to their face.
A lip augmentation is a non-surgical procedure used to give you the appearance of full, plump lips. The most common lip augmentation is the injection of a dermal filler into the lips or in the area around the mouth. This procedure typically uses hyaluronic acid fillers, which improve the appearance of your lips by adding shape, structure and volume.
Hyaluronic fillers have more benefits than other fillers. They give your doctor better control of lip volume, involve gradual injections, lumps and bumps dissolve easily, there is less bruising and reasonably long-lasting results. An allergic reaction from hyaluronic fillers is unlikely because these fillers are made from a substance that is found in the body.