April 3, 2016
The natural aging process brings with it some surprises. It is natural for both men and women to experience decreased facial volume with age, and this is due both to the natural degradation of cellular structures that make up our plump, youthful skin as well as exposure to the sun, environmental elements, and stress throughout our lives. It’s common for aging men and women to experience more severe and pronounced lip folds, deeper wrinkles, scarring, and fat loss around the cheeks and jowls. This also results from years of repeated facial movements like squinting, smiling, and other expressions.
With the advent of modern technology, we have a number of facial rejuvenation options at our fingertips. There are plenty of procedures that can restore facial volume for both men and women, but the two most common options are restoring volume through fat injections or through fillers. There are benefits and drawbacks to both alternatives.
Restoring facial volume with fillers is becoming increasingly common. Many of these procedures are administered quickly and relatively painlessly though costs per injection may be a consideration. However, fillers serve as a cosmetic touch-up to a common issue that occurs due to aging, significant weight loss, and other factors, and many people appreciate the simplicity and effectiveness of fillers. There is no shortage of options when it comes to fillers that restore facial volume. One common filler is hyaluronic acid, which is naturally present in our bodies. The acid is present mainly around the eyes and joints and acts as a lubricant. Some common filler products that utilize hyaluronic acid include Juvederm, Restylane, and Allergan.
Another common filler material is a form of lactic acid. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, polylactic acid is a “synthetic substance that stimulates your own body’s collagen production.” The results of this filler application are seen gradually over the course of several months following administration, instead of right away. However, the increased collagen production leads to added facial volume with a natural appearance. Some experts say that results can last for up to two years, which is a prime consideration as it relates to the cost of the procedure.
Using fillers to promote added facial volume is an effective way to counteract many of the effects of aging, weight loss in the face, and environmental exposure which degrades the appearance of your sensitive facial skin. The application of facial fillers should be performed by a skilled medical professional in order to prevent injury or an unnatural appearance. Facial fillers are administered in a medical office setting, often in a very short amount of time. The patient can expect minimal bruising and discomfort, with improved facial volume shortly after administration of the filler.
Some lesser-known fillers are effective for restoring lost facial volume as well. Collagen fillers are beneficial since collagen is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies, and is effective for filling wrinkles and moderate facial lines Captique is another form of hyaluronic acid filler, as is Hylaform. Both are effective for temporarily smoothing the skin’s surface and adding volume. Radiesse is a filler made from calcium hydroxyapatite. It causes the body to form collagen around the injection sites which effectively increases facial volume, and for this reason, it may be longer-lasting than other fillers.
Another option for the restoration of facial volume is to use fat injections. Typically, fat is harvested from the individual obtaining the facial volume restoration procedure, either from the thighs, abdomen, or other areas of the body with enough excess fat. Using a person’s natural fat source as a plumping material for the face aids in a natural appearance and may be cheaper than synthetic fillers. The patient undergoes mild liposuction in the targeted area where fat is being harvested, and the fat is processed with a machine in order before it is re-injected into the face where volume is being restored.
There are several advantages to using fat injections to restore facial volume. The redistribution of fat may result in a more natural appearance since it is using the body’s own natural materials. Additionally, there is a relatively significant supply of fat in the body which may facilitate harvesting and aid in reducing the cost of the procedure as opposed to purchasing more expensive, synthetic fillers. However, fillers like hyaluronic acid and others may pose beneficial for certain injection sites, including the sensitive skin around the eyes. Fillers often provide more shape and structure than fat, which is softer than fillers and maintains a different consistency once injected into the skin. Certain cases may call for fillers due to the necessity for a more rigid material which will maintain shape and structure in areas of the face with a significant reduction of volume.
It is typical for men and women to begin experiencing loss of facial volume around and after age 30. Synthetic filler agents are the most common application as a resolution to this because of the ease of application and the convenience of a ready-to-go product as compared to fat injections which first require liposuction. Restoring facial volume with fat injections is becoming more popular as research and practical applications evolve, and as medical professionals understand the long-term effects and specific advantages.
Choosing between fillers or fat injections when undergoing a facial volume restoration procedure is determined on a case-by-case basis. Fillers may be best for certain injection sites while fat injections may work better for others, even for the same individual. The application strategy is best determined in conjunction with a skilled plastic surgeon who understands the benefits of both alternatives, as well as the individual characteristics of the patient. It’s important to understand your personal beauty goals in order to manage expectations that may result from the facial volume restoration procedures. Whether by fat injections or fillers, you can restore the plumper more youthful appearance you once had!
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024
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