As we age, our faces begin to show the effects of gravity, and sun exposure. Years of facial muscle movement such as smiling, chewing and squinting lead to creases in our skin much like folding a piece of paper repeatedly along the same line. The collagen that keeps our skin looking youthful and plumped up begins to break down leading to laugh lines, smile lines, crow’s feet or facial creases over the areas where muscle movements occur. Soft tissue fillers, most commonly collagen, Juvederm and fat, can help fill in these lines and creases thereby restoring a smoother and more youthful appearance. When injected beneath the skin, these fillers plump up creased and sunken areas of the face. They can also add fullness to sunken cheeks and lips correcting the lipstick lines associated with thinning lips and advancing age. They can also smooth out the step-offs that can occur between the lower eyelids and cheeks over time.

Soft tissue fillers may be used in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures such as skin resurfacing with laser or chemical peels, or surgeries as eyelid surgery and facelift.

The most important fact to remember about injectable fillers is that the results are not permanent. Injected material is eventually metabolized by the body. In some individuals the effects last only a few months, while in others the results may be maintained indefinitely. Researchers believe that age, genetic background, and skin quality may all play a role in injected materials “staying power.”

Collagen is a naturally occurring element that provides support to various parts of the human body: the skin, the joints, the bones, and ligaments.

Collagen is injected using a fine needle inserted at several points along the edge of the treatment site. Some plastic surgeons prefer to administer some local anesthesia so the injections are not painful. Since part of the substance is saltwater that will be absorbed by the body within a few days, some plastic surgeons may slightly overfill the area. Along with injecting the soft tissue filling material, surgeons actually sculpt the injected material to produce smooth results. You may be asked to hold a hand mirror during the procedure to help the plastic surgeon decide when you feel he or she has achieved your preferred results.

Immediately following the procedure, you may notice some minor discomfort, stinging or throbbing at the injection site. Occasionally some bruising or swelling will occur, but it is usually minor. Any redness at the injection sites usually disappears within 24 hours for collagen.

No bandaging is needed and you are free to eat and drink and wear makeup with sun-block protection.

People absorb collagen at varying rates, but treatments generally last 3 months.

Content provided by Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon David Sayah.

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