Dermal fillers offer easy, non-surgical remedies to enhance the appearance of the face and hands by minimising the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars and depressions of the skin, and by volumising specific areas, with immediate results.

Fast Facts

  • Dermal fillers are injected into the skin using very fine needles, along wrinkles and lines or into areas that have lost fat and bone with age.
  • There are a variety of dermal fillers available in Australia. The type of filler required depends upon which area needs treatment and the extent to which it is required.
  • The type of filler best suited for your needs is a decision that you must make in consultation with your practitioner.

Dermal fillers are injected into the skin using very fine needles, along wrinkles and lines or into areas that have lost fat and bone with age. The resulting smoothing effect is temporary and usually lasts for a limited period, making it necessary to have repeat injections. It is common to include dermal filler injections into an ongoing skin maintenance regime. Lately, new fillers with relatively longer lasting effects have entered the Australian market.

Dermal fillers are also often referred to as soft tissue fillers.

Reasons for choosing to have dermal filler injections

Both women and men have dermal filler injections for a variety of reasons:

  • To reverse the effects of ageing, which include lines, wrinkles, loss of volume, and depressions. In particular, people choose dermal fillers to diminish or erase deep folds between the nose and mouth and creases around the mouth, and to minimise the appearance of wrinkles from the cheeks and chin area.
  • To volumise the face, filling sunken or hollowed areas and to improve the appearance of sagging skin.
  • To treat the appearance of scars.

Dermal filler injections are an easy, minimally invasive treatment requiring little downtime.

Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that dermal fillers were the second most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure in the US during 2011. Around 1.9 million soft-tissue filler treatments were performed in the US that year.

For specific information about hand rejuvenation with dermal fillers, this article addresses that topic specifically.

Things to consider once you’ve decided to have dermal filler injections

There are three main types of dermal fillers available and within these types there are many brands to choose from. The TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) prevents anyone in Australia from discussing both brand names and their ingredients in any open forum. Therefore, you will need to seek your doctor’s advice on which is best for you depending on your needs.

Essentially, each dermal filler has a different level of viscosity and each is best suited for a certain type of application. Some fillers last 3 – 6 months, some last 6 – 12 months and others, considered long lasting or permanent, are effective for at least a year and longer. There are a few dermal fillers available that are also considered ‘dermal stimulants’ in that they stimulate collagen production.

The type of filler best suited for your needs is a decision that you must make in consultation with your practitioner. Practitioners may also have preferences among the variety of available options, according to their experience, product safety and efficacy.

What to expect

Dermal filler injections take little time and can be performed during one visit. Because the needles used are very small and discomfort is minimal, the treatment can proceed without anaesthetics. In some cases, topical anaesthetics or nerve blocks may be used, such as when working on extremely sensitive regions or at the request of the patient.

Before and after dermal filler injections

Little or no preparation is needed before treatment. However, it must be noted that dermal fillers are not for everyone.

Dermal fillers may not be suitable for people with autoimmune disease, severe allergies such as asthma, or food allergies. Some people are allergic to bovine collagen. Others are allergic to chicken, and therefore, to fillers which are made with rooster combs.

Those who have experienced anaphylaxis or life-threatening allergic reactions at any time should not consider certain types of dermal fillers. Those who have a history of keloid scarring or have inflamed or infected skin should also avoid them.

It is essential to discuss these conditions and the risks they pose before undergoing any treatment with dermal fillers. You should also mention to your practitioner before beginning treatment any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. This is important because some medications, such as blood thinners, may increase the risk of complications.

Possible risks and complications

Side effects vary depending on the type of dermal filler used, but even if you are not especially at risk, certain potential complications may arise. These include:

  • Bleeding, bruising, itching, swelling or redness at the site of injections
  • Skin discolouration
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Ulcerated skin around the treatment site
  • Nodules or lumps under the skin
  • Allergic reactions

Following fat injections, there may be some swelling and bruising as well as numbness in the treated area. Usually, all these effects are temporary. There may also be asymmetry or contour irregularities following fat injections, resulting from under- or overcorrection of certain features. If a lot of fat gets reabsorbed into the body, this may diminish the effects of the volumising injections.

Using the services of a qualified professional will go a long way towards avoiding unnecessary risks and complications. Ensure your practitioner has ample experience in this procedure, because the skill of the injector is a key factor in the success of injectables. Sometimes your doctor may not be the person who performs the treatment, but the person who performs the injecting must be working under a doctor’s supervision.

Rough costs involved

It is difficult to specify a price or price range, because different fillers require different treatment regimes, and a different number of treatments. Costs also vary due to the filler being used, as well as the area needing treatment. Fat injections will involve the cost of extracting and additionally processing the fat as well as injections.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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