Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers have been used in cosmetic medicine for many years as part of non-surgical facial rejuvenation treatment. Their popularity has resulted in the development of various types and brands of dermal fillers to become available in the UK, which has become confusing to practitioners and patients alike. With an increase in the number of practitioners offering these treatments – many of which have varying degrees of training – the number of problems and dissatisfied patients has also increased. However, you can be assured that the team at The Face Surgeons understand this kind of facial rejuvenation treatment better than most.

What are dermal fillers?

It’s an unfortunate fact of life, that we lose facial fat and therefore facial volume, as we get older. We also slowly but surely develop lines, wrinkles and folds which contribute to an ageing appearance. A dermal filler is a chemical substance that is injected carefully into the soft tissues of the face to improve volume and/or minimise the appearance of wrinkles or skin folds, helping to rejuvenate an ageing face without the need for surgery. Dermal fillers can also be used to treat areas of facial asymmetry and even improve the appearance of scars and skin pockets to improve the overall surface of the skin and your appearance.

During facial rejuvenation with dermal fillers, the lips, nasolabial and marionette lines, and small lines around the mouth (often called lipstick or smokers lines) can be treated. In some cases crows feet and lines around the eyes might be suitable for dermal filler treatment in combination with wrinkle reduction injections, although there is a chance you can get uneven distribution of the dermal filler material. If your concern is volume in the cheekbone area, the cheeks can be improved with heavier weight dermal fillers. Booking a consultation is the best way to discover which dermal filler treatment is most suitable.

What types of dermal fillers are available?

Dermal fillers can be categorised as temporary, permanent, or semi permanent. There are around 50-60 different types of dermal fillers on the UK market now; each similar to the other but from different manufacturers. Most of the dermal fillers available now have local anaesthetic in which reduces discomfort following the injectable treatment. Autologous fat transfer is an alternative to dermal fillers that can give successful results but may need repeating, like injectables.

How is dermal filler treatment undertaken?

A series of small injections are administered to the line or wrinkle you wished to be filled. A topical anaesthetic cream is often applied prior to injection but this will not stop some mild discomfort, so the team often offer local anaesthetic injections if requested, making patients more relaxed and comfortable during dermal filler treatment.

What can I expect following treatment and are there any risks?

You should see an immediate improvement in the appearance of wrinkles in the treated area but the injections can produce at some redness in the skin at the injection site. Sometimes bruising can also occur, and dermal filler injections around the eye area are more likely to bruise due to the thin skin. This may look concerning but it will settle in a few days. Makeup can be lightly applied following treatment if you wish to cover the redness, but there is a small risk of infection and you should keep your face well cleansed following dermal filler treatments.

If you choose to have dermal fillers into the lips you should expect to have some swelling and mild bruising to the lip area after the injections but this will settle in 1-2 days. After 2-4 weeks a top-up treatment might be recommended after your treatment to improve appearance from your initial treatment with dermal fillers.

Occasionally the treatment area may feel slightly raised or lumpy for a few days but usually this will settle in a day or so. Gentle massage can help disperse the lump if you are worried, but remember you may disrupt the filler too, so keep this to the minimum if possible.

Temporary dermal fillers will last 6-12 months and will need repeat treatments to maintain their filling and smoothing effects. There is small risk of allergic reactions to dermal fillers.

Alternatives to dermal fillers are autologous fat transfer, implants or possible bony osteotomies. Your surgeon will be happy to advise you which is the most appropriate for your concerns.