If you’d like to restore
some youthful fullness to your face or hands, your dermatologist may
recommend a filler. The following explains what happens before,
during, and after this procedure.
What to Expect Before a Filler
A consultation is
essential. Your dermatologist will discuss the signs of aging that
concern you and gather your medical history. During this
consultation, tell your dermatologist if you have any medical
condition including allergies, a history of cold sores, or a heart
condition. Also mention any cosmetic procedures you have had.
Your dermatologist will
ask you about your medications. Be sure to tell your dermatologist
about all prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and
herbal remedies that you take. Warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin
E, St. John’s wort, and even garlic and ginger supplements can
affect the results you see after receiving a filler. Be sure to
Many safe and effective
fillers are available. Your dermatologist will examine your skin to
determine if a filler can diminish the signs of aging that concern
you or if another cosmetic procedure may be more appropriate.
If a filler is
appropriate, your dermatologist will tell you more about the filler. If
self-donated fat will be used to fill the skin, you will first
undergo a cosmetic procedure called liposuction, which can usually
be performed the same day.
What to Expect When Getting a Filler
Fillers can be safely and
effectively injected in a dermatologist’s office. When you arrive,
your makeup will be removed and your skin cleansed. Next, the area
may be iced or a topical anesthesia applied. Not all fillers require
anesthesia. In some cases, a medication will be injected directly
into or around a nerve in the area to be treated. This is known as a
Once the skin is ready,
the filler is injected. Some people report feeling a stinging or
burning sensation as the filler is injected. Most treatment sessions
take 15 to 30 minutes.
If your own fat will be
used to fill the area, the entire procedure can now often be
completed in 1 day. This procedure requires removing fat from your
own body, processing the fat so that it can be used as a filler, and
then injecting the fat as a filler.
What to Expect After a Filler
Redness and swelling
afterward are normal. Some minor bruising also may be visible. To
alleviate these, your dermatologist may recommend icing the area for
15 to 20 minutes before you leave. Makeup can usually be applied
To avoid increased
swelling and bruising, you should not exercise until the next day.
You also will want to avoid touching the treated area for about 3
days unless you received the filler, poly-L-lactic acid. This filler
requires massaging the treated area very gently for about 5 minutes
several times a day for 1 or 2 weeks.
Some fillers such as
poly-L-lactic acid require repeat treatments. Typically, treatments
are given every 4 to 8 weeks until the desired outcome is achieved.
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Sadick N. Aesthetic Rejuvenation: A Regional Approach. China,
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Katz SI et al, editors. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in
General Medicine. 7th edition. United States of
America, McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. p. 2380-8.
Hirsch RJ. “Dermal Fillers.” In: Sadick, Moy, Lawrence, et al.
Concise Manual of Dermatologic Surgery. China, McGraw-Hill
Companies; 2008. p. 37-45.
Matarasso SL, Sadick NS. “Soft tissue Augmentation.”