Injectable Dermal Fillers

Posted on February 14, 2012

Which is more superior? Injectable Dermal Fillers vs. Plastic Surgery (San Jose, CA)

Volume is the new vogue in aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery. Injectable dermal fillers do just that….. they provide volume and/or stimulate the formation of collagen in the face. Since wrinkles are accentuated by uneven soft tissue volume distribution, restoration of that soft tissue volume will often improve the wrinkle topography of the face. Many patients have noticed that they looked younger when their weight is stable or even a bit on the heavier side. The popularity of injectable fillers have also extended to the young and wrinkle-less. Injectable fillers are used to enhance areas like the lips or improve the shape of the nose (so called “liquid rhinoplasty”).

The most common form of injectable dermal filler (Juvederm®, Restylane®, and Prevelle®) are made of hyaluronic acid, a natural gel that is in our skin and joints. This compound is highly hydrophilic (attracts water) and will retain water and plump the tissue that it is injected in. Radiesse® is another class of filler that uses small microspheres of calcium crystals coated with collagen. Over time, the hyaluronic acid or calcium microspheres will break down and the results reverse. Sculptra® is in a class of its own. Unlike traditional “fillers” Sculptra® is not space occupying. This poly-L-lactic acid solution is injected and as it breaks down it stimulates new collagen formation. There is also evidence that repeat injections of hyaluronic acid and calcium microspheres also can stimulate new collagen formation for the plastic surgery patients in San Jose, Bay Area. Botox®, another popular injection is not a type of injectable filler and will be addressed in another article.

Whereas the majority of dermal fillers are manufactured, sterile and instantly available off the shelf, there is one type of filler that is 100% natural and is readily available from the patient….. FAT! Fat grafting is technique where a patient’s fat is removed from their body, cleaned and purified into injectable fat grafts. The fat is then reintroduced into the patient’s body in areas that are deficient of soft tissue. Common areas are the face, breast or buttock. San Jose plastic surgery patients are excited at the fact that they can get rid of fat from one part of the body and donate it to enhance another part of the body. Patients often call this “lite San Jose liposuction.”

But wait…. this sounds too good to be true. Although, fat grafting is a powerful tool in plastic surgery there are many reasons why injectable dermal fillers are superior when it comes to facial injections. Fat grafts require harvesting the fat cells from one area of the body, processing the fat and then re-introducing the cells to another part of the body. This requires a surgical procedure to harvest and process the fat. In addition, it is unclear what percentage of the fat cells will survive. Injectable dermal fillers are more predictable in their survival and are pre-packaged so there is no down time.

So injectable dermal fillers are better than fat grafts? Not quite. Injectable dermal fillers have an important role in the plastic surgeon’s armamentarium of procedures but they are not a panacea. Injectable dermal fillers have become so popular that some cosmetic practitioners will readily inject any patient anywhere. Performance of injectable fillers seems deceptively simple that patients are willing to accept these injections from any practitioner. Celebrities like Priscilla Presley have been fooled by allowing a “cosmetic surgeon” (turns out he isn’t a licensed physician in the US) to inject industrial grade silicone into her face! Therefore patients should abide by the adage “Caveat emptor (buyer beware).”

Regardless of what type of injectable dermal fillers you are interested in, it is important for you to be evaluated by a plastic surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for injectable dermal filler correction, plastic surgery or both. Facial aging is a combination of both anatomic changes and volumetric changes. Therefore any successful rejuvenation must incorporate and harmoniously balance components of both. Injectable fillers and aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery are not substitutes but rather complementary procedures. A patient with thick neck bands and jawline laxity and jowls is not going to benefit from injectable dermal fillers but rather a facelift. Another patient with midface deflation and a clean neckline could benefit from injectable dermal fillers or surgical facial rejuvenation or both. Both injectable dermal fillers and plastic surgery have complementary roles in facial rejuvenation. A thorough facial analysis by a plastic surgeon specializing in aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery will best determine which is best for you.

At Liu Plastic Surgery we believe successful aesthetic rejuvenation starts with listening to the patient’s aesthetic concerns and goals. A thorough facial analysis is then performed built on the training and understanding of facial aging and its effects on facial anatomy that comes with 17 years of collective training from the aesthetic fellowship trained plastic surgeons at LPS. Your visit starts with a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons in San Jose-Los Gatos who have advanced fellowship training in facial injectable procedures. Your plastic surgeon will listen to your concerns and analyze your face focusing on the facial anatomy that is causing the area of concern and providing you with an individualized aesthetic goal that may include injectable fillers, aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery or both. The plastic surgeons at LPS will give you a thorough and honest assessment to determine if you are a patient who would benefit from injectable dermal fillers. All injections are performed by the plastic surgeons themselves.

Contact Liu Plastic Surgery (San Jose – Los Gatos) at 408-418-0808 to see if you are a candidate for injectable dermal fillers.

This is a 50-year old San Jose-Los Gatos cosmetic surgery patient who has undergone injectable dermal filler for correction of her facial soft tissue deflation and aging. She has received three sessions of Sculptra® (6 vials). In addition, she has also received Restylane® (2 syringes) for soft tissue touch up and fine contouring. Shown is her 14 month result showing restoration of her facial soft tissue volume. She initially presented because she did not like her lower eyelid bags and wanted a lower eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). With volume restoration her orbital-cheek junction is softened. Her lower eyelid fat bags look less pronounced. She did not get a lower eyelid blepharoplasty. Her face looks fuller, more youthful and rested.

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