Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Getting Dermal Fillers

July 30, 2020

Woman after dermal fillers treatment

So, you’ve started to notice the wrinkles and grooves on your face that are telling the story of your years? That’s when you head to the internet and start researching your options to reclaim your youthful appearance without going through extensive and invasive procedures. You stumble upon information about dermal fillers, learning that there are multiple different kinds made from different materials and each one is best suited to treat specific parts of your face. It seems as though the more you learn, the more confused you become. If this sounds like you and you’re ready to get some clear answers, it’s time to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist. According to Dr. Young McMahan of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Waco, Texas, “Many people want to receive dermal fillers to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles, but they can get overwhelmed by the amount of information available online about all the different types of fillers. We do our best to offer clear information and recommendations for our patients, but if you want to get the most out of your fillers consultation, there are several questions you should ask.” In this blog, Dr. McMahan walks through the questions you need to ask at your dermal filler consultation appointment and provides some of the answers dermatologists frequently give to real patients.

1 – What are Dermal Fillers?

Dermal fillers are injectable cosmetic dermatology treatments used to replace volume loss for smooth, youthful skin, full lips, and general rejuvenation of the appearance, including treating acne-scarred skin. There are numerous different types of injectable fillers made from materials like collagen, hyaluronic acid, and calcium hydroxyapatite. You may also see dermal fillers referred to by their brand names, including Bellafil, Belotero, Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, Sculptura, and more. You can learn more about each of the types of dermal fillers used at U.S. Dermatology Partners in the next section.

2 – Are there Different Types of Dermal Fillers?

There are numerous different types of dermal fillers, including:

  • Bellafill – a collagen filler that delivers long-lasting results (up to five years) as well as stimulating the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin. This dermal filler can be used for fine lines and wrinkles on any part of the face as well as improving the appearance of acne scars.
  • Belotero – a hyaluronic acid filler used for moderate to deep fine lines and wrinkles, including frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead wrinkles.
  • Juvederm – another hyaluronic acid filler, Juvederm actually has a range of dermal filler products that are each geared toward improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles in specific areas.
  • Radiesse – a synthetic filler that is used to treat fine lines and wrinkles in all areas, and in some cases, it may be a viable alternative to surgical cosmetic dermatology solutions to improve the fullness and appearance of skin with more severe volume loss.
  • Restylane – another hyaluronic acid filler, Restylane also has a line of products that are formulated to address specific areas of need.
  • Sculptra – a synthetic filler often used to treat moderate to severe frown and marionette lines while stimulating your body’s natural collagen production for long-lasting results.

3 – Why Would I Want Dermal Fillers?

There are many uses for dermal fillers. Specifically, they are used to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age-related volume loss on the face, including:

  • Filling out deep lines around the nose and mouth
  • Restoring lost volume in the cheeks
  • Plumping the lips
  • Reducing the appearance of scarring, especially pitting commonly associated with acne

4 – What’s the Difference Between Dermal Fillers & Other Injectable Treatments?

Dermal filler treatments involve injecting a substance below the skin that plumps up wrinkles, scars, or otherwise less firm and supple skin. These treatments shouldn’t be confused with neurotoxin injections, which are also used to address fine lines and wrinkles. Rather than filling in the skin’s lines, neurotoxin injections like Botox are used to limit facial movements that may contribute to the formation of wrinkles.

5 – What Happens During Dermal Filler Treatment?

The dermal filler process is very simple and straightforward. Based on your goals, your dermatologist may prepare the treatment area by applying a topical numbing agent to the skin. Some fillers have a numbing agent in the material to further improve comfort. Once your skin is prepared for pain-free dermal filler treatment, the dermatologist injects the filler below the skin and smooths it into place. You will likely see an immediate improvement, but the results will continue to develop over the next few weeks.

6 – How Long Does a Dermal Filler Appointment Take?

Depending on the size of the area to be treated, your dermal filler procedure will take between 15 minutes and an hour. According to Dr. McMahan, “When done correctly, dermal filler treatment should not be painful. We use ultra-fine needles and know how to perform the procedure quickly and comfortably. Additionally, we may place a topical numbing agent over the area to further improve your comfort during dermal filler treatment.”

7 – Are there Side Effects After Dermal Filler Treatment?

For the most part, properly administered dermal filler treatments will have few, if any, side effects. There may be some redness or bruising at the injection site, but this typically resolves very quickly. In less common cases, patients experience an allergic response to the filler material, which can lead to bumps developing below the skin. In very rare situations, a bluish skin color may develop. According to Dr. McMahan, “Improper treatment protocols are the biggest potential risk related to dermal fillers. When inexperienced or unqualified practitioners provide dermal fillers, the result may be adverse effects like pain, swelling, and in the worst case, disfiguration. It’s really important to work with a skilled dermatologist and completely talk through your plans to ensure you get the results you’re after.”

8 – Is Dermal Filler Treatment Permanent?

Dermal fillers are not permanent, but the results of most treatments will last between six and twenty-four months. Each person’s skin will process dermal filler treatment differently, so you’ll be scheduled to visit your dermatologist a few weeks after your first treatment. During this follow up session, the dermatologist will examine your skin and partner with you to plan for maintenance treatments. Each of the different filler materials will work a little differently. Hyaluronic acid fillers are usually applied once or twice each year. Synthetic fillers are longer-lasting since it takes a little more time for these materials to be resorbed by the body, so retreatment may only be necessary every other year or longer.

According to Dr. McMahan, “Because hyaluronic acid fillers and other naturally derived products are absorbed more quickly, they can offer a good option for testing the look of dermal filler treatment before committing to longer-lasting synthetic options.”

9 – Can I Combine Dermal Filler Treatment with Other Cosmetic Dermatology Services?

Dermal fillers may be combined with neurotoxin injections and other cosmetic dermatology treatments to deliver an overall improved appearance. According to Dr. McMahan, “When I work with patients, they may come to me and say they want to reduce the appearance of the marionette lines around the mouth. But as we talk, they may say they’re also worried in general about sagging of the skin and excess fat deposits. We may move forward with a filler for the marionette lines, but they may also benefit from other treatments to help firm up their skin after volume loss.”

10 – Is it Important that I Work with a Dermatologist for Dermal Fillers?

According to Dr. McMahan, “We know that many different people now offer dermal fillers. From your general care practitioner to dentists and local medi-spas, it seems like just about everyone is offering dermal filler treatment. While visiting one of these places for dermal fillers may seem more convenient or cost-effective, it’s important to remember that dermatologists have a more comprehensive understanding of dermal fillers and how these treatments will impact your skin and your whole body health. We can provide the most specific and effective treatment options that are safe, pain-free, and less likely to cause side effects.”

Ready to Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Dermal Fillers?

If you’re ready to sit down with a knowledgeable dermatologist to discuss dermal fillers and other cosmetic dermatology options, we would love to hear from you. You can schedule a visit with your dermatologist at a local U.S. Dermatology Partners practice using our simple online request form.

If you would prefer to get more information about dermal fillers and other treatment options without leaving home, we would be happy to discuss your cosmetic treatment options virtually during a teledermatology appointment. You can also schedule virtual sessions, using our simple online request form.

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