What to Expect from a Dermal Filler Procedure
Dermal fillers are injectable solutions that can help reduce wrinkles and lines. Typical materials used as fillers include hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, bovine collagen, and poly-L-lactic acid.
Dermal filler procedures can correct a number of concerns that occur as you age. They are used to soften and remove facial lines and wrinkles, increase the volume of your cheeks or temples, augment the lips, and rejuvenate your hands. These procedures can also correct non-aging related issues, such as the contours of the jaw or cheekbones.
Step 1: Facial assessment and mapping
Your surgeon will first examine your facial appearance, the condition of your skin, and the areas you want filled. They will then mark specific points on your face where the filler will be injected, and may also take pictures of the areas that will be treated.
Step 2: Cleansing & anesthetizing
Your surgeon will then cleanse the injection sites with an antibacterial solution. Dermal filler injections will usually come in a sterile, ready to use form. Before the dermal filler is injected, your surgeon will either numb your skin with a topical anesthetic cream, inject your skin with a local anesthetic, or use a cold instrument to chill the skin.
Step 3: The Injection
Depending on your physical condition and the amount of correction you need, your surgeon will inject the dermal filler into the middle to lower region of your dermis using a very fine needle. This usually takes just a few moments per site. Your surgeon will inject, massage, and examine the injection results, and will add extra filler if required.
The length of your procedure will depend on the number of areas being treated. The process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 4: Clean-up & Recovery
Once your surgeon is happy with the results, they will remove their markings. You can expect pain, redness, swelling, and perhaps itching after your appointment, although symptoms should diminish within 7 days (under 14 days if you get your lips treated). In terms of swelling, this may last 36 hours, and your surgeon may give you an ice pack to reduce it. Depending on the filler, a cold compress may not be appropriate. Your doctor will discuss the appropriate aftercare methods. If your symptoms worsen after 1 to 3 days, you should call your surgeon, as you may be developing an infection. If this happens, your doctor will treat you with an antibiotic.
Following your treatment, you do not need to make major changes to your routine. You can return to work and pursue other activities post-treatment. You will need to avoid exercise for at least 1 day.
In terms of skincare, you will need to make sure you do not rub or massage the treated area for 1–2 days post-treatment, unless specified by the injector. You should use sun protection rated SPF30 or higher, and should not use makeup products that contain alcohol.
What to expect before treatment
Before you are treated, your injector will determine whether or not you are a candidate for a dermal filler procedure. They will review the risks and complications associated with the procedure, such as unsatisfactory results post-procedure, the development of small lumps or irregularities under your skin, and long-lasting redness.
To reduce the risk of complications and ensure safety, your injector will refer to your medical history, including your history of allergies and medication, to make sure you are a candidate for a dermal filler procedure. If you tend to get cold sores, a dermal filler procedure could cause a flare-up. If you have many outbreaks a year, your doctor will give you a course of antiviral medication before you have the procedure. If you have a history of allergies, your surgeon may order a skin allergy test before your procedure.
Finally, your injector will instruct you not to smoke or drink alcohol before the procedure. You will also be advised not to take blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications for a certain period before your dermal filler treatment.
What to expect after treatment
You should expect to see results immediately after your procedure, though swelling post-injection is a common side effect. This should resolve in 7 to 14 days. In order to maintain your results, you will need to return for follow-up injections. Some fillers may take several months before you see the full results.
A dermal filler procedure is a good non-surgical option to correct both aging and non-aging related cosmetic concerns. The procedure generally takes 15 to 60 minutes to perform and involves a number of steps, including facial assessment and mapping, cleansing and anesthetizing, injecting, clean-up, and recovery. Prior to the procedure, your doctor will assess your suitability, and review your medical history to minimize any complications. After your treatment, you should expect to see results immediately, but will need to have ongoing injections in order to maintain an optimum outcome.