Fillers are natural or synthetic materials that are injected into wrinkles or lips to 'fill' them out. There are a large number of fillers available, each with their own pros and cons - the choice of filler used will depend on the area to be injected, volume needed, and surgeon experience or preferences.
Fillers may be temporary and gradually broken down by the body, or permanent. The permanent ones, whilst being non-absorbable, will not give permanent results as the rest of the face will continue to age and change around the filler.
What are fillers used for?
Fillers are useful for treating wrinkles and lines that are not suitable for Botox injections. Gently stretch your wrinkle - if it disappears, then Botulinum toxin may be suitable. If the wrinkle is still visible, then a filler may be more appropriate.
Fillers are also used to enhance lip volume, and can be used to build up the cheeks and chin.
How are fillers used?
Fillers are injected through a needle. The needle size will depend on the filler used, which in turn will depend on the purpose of the procedure. This can cause a degree of discomfort on injection, so anaesthetic creams may sometimes be used to numb the area first. Some fillers have anaesthetic 'built in' to the filler material itself.
It is common to have some bruising and swelling for a few days after injection.
The effects of the filler will last from a few months, to many months, to being permanent.
What are the risks of using fillers?
Bruising and swelling - this is very common after filler injection
Allergy - some fillers use collagen, so allergic reaction is possible but uncommon
Lumps - as the filler settles small lumps can occasionally occur. These are often remedied with further small injections, or allowed to settle in time.
Infection - a very rare risk, but one that can lead to poor cosmetic results
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You may also be interested to read our articles on Do it yourself fillers, Botox, face lifts, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) or other Cosmetic surgery articles
Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist. Whilst these risks will seem very worrysome, and indeed can be serious, it should also be borne in mind that many people have no postoperative problems whatsoever.
The information provided is as a guide only and you should discuss matters fully with your specialist before deciding if this is the right procedure for you. Please also read our disclaimer