Filling in time
With immediate results and little-to-no risk, it is easy to see why the use of dermal fillers is on the rise.
Plastic and cosmetic surgeon Patrick Briggs says dermal fillers help to replace lost volume in the face and involve injecting a small amount of manufactured hyaluronic acid — a naturally-occurring protein — into target areas including lips, cheeks and the jawline.
“As we age we tend to lose volume, particularly in the face, ” Dr Briggs tells Mind+Body.
“We lose it in the lips, we lose it in the cheeks and we lose it in the general support structures all around the face.
“The fillers are made of naturally occurring substances in the body, it’s just that they are manufactured in a laboratory, so they are exactly what the body has but they are made artificially.
“They are injected through a very tiny needle and we can enhance the lips and the cheeks and we can give you a better jawline.”
Plastic surgeon Mark Duncan- Smith, of BeU Cosmetic Surgery, says injectable fillers are designed to fill facial lines but there is more of a tendency to use them to also replenish volume.
He says hyaluronic acids absorb water and, by doing so, fill out areas of the face.
“Basically they are used to reduce the visible signs of ageing by replacing volume loss as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, ” Dr Duncan-Smith says.
“They are most commonly used on the lips, cheeks, nasolabial folds (between nose and lips), marionette lines (between lips and chin) and tear troughs, which are under the eyes.”
Dr Briggs says dermal fillers are often used in conjunction with the wrinkle-relaxer Botox.
“Basically, if someone has a very expressive face where they have developed deep wrinkles, we may need to attack that from a two-pronged situation, ” he said.
“In other words, we may need to paralyse the muscle with Botox and then fill the valley — the wrinkle indentation — with filler.”
Dr Briggs says fillers are so appealing because they deliver immediate, long-lasting results — a minimum of nine months but, on average, anywhere between 15-18 months.
“It’s almost instantaneous and that’s what is so attractive about them, ” he says.
“Even though it’s a biological agent, you can, assuming you don’t get a bruise, have the filler that afternoon and be out that night.
“Obviously we aim never to get a bruise but there is a small risk.
“There’s almost no downside. Obviously there are risks with everything and they are discussed at the consultation, but the risks are extremely low, easily managed and if these treatments are done properly, patients love them.”
© The West Australian