Everything You Need To Know About Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers FAQ

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If you’re interested in getting dermal fillers, I highly recommend doing your research before seeing a doctor. In this article, I’ll reviews exactly what you need to know about dermal fillers, including how they works and what to expect during treatment.

What are dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Radiesse are substances that are used to restore volume to the face.  

How do dermal fillers work?

Many dermal fillers are composed of a gel called hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is which is a substance that our bodies contain naturally and can lose in the aging process.

Radiesse is a dermal filler that contains calcium which serves as a scaffold for the face to fill itself months after it has been injected.

Other dermal fillers, such as Sculptra, undergo a chemical reaction that causes volume to be restored to the face over a period of weeks.

How long does it take to work?

The vast majority of dermal fillers work immediately, and the results are noticeable as soon as they are injected.

However, some dermal fillers, such as Sculptra, require time and possibly multiple injections to see the complete results.  

Exactly who are dermal fillers for?

Dermal fillers are most commonly used for patients who want to restore volume to the cheeks and smooth their appearance.

One common place dermal fillers are used is the nasolabial folds, which are the deep lines that form from the corner of the nose to the corner of the mouth.

Another common place is the marionette lines, which are the lines that start at the corners of the mouth and draw down from there.

They can also be used to fill hollow temples, camouflage under-eye bags, decrease the appearance of vertical lip lines (i.e. smoker’s lines), enlarge the lips, and create a more chiseled jawline.

Why would your doctor recommend dermal fillers?

Your doctor may recommend dermal fillers to treat an area that has lost volume and/or created a static wrinkle. This means any wrinkle that is present at rest.

Areas that do not tend to respond to dermal fillers are dynamic wrinkles such as the crow’s feet. These areas are best treated using neuromodulators such as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin.

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What are some common side effects of dermal fillers?

The most common side effects of dermal fillers are bruising and swelling. In the first 24-48 hours after dermal fillers are injected, the area may swell. This can cause the area to appear to be overtreated. Fortunately, this swelling generally subsides after a couple of days.

Bruising with dermal fillers occurs more commonly in patients who are taking blood thinners.

More serious side effects, such as vascular compression and infection are much more rare.

On average, how much do dermal fillers cost?

Pricing for dermal fillers can vary from provider to provider. Some doctors choose to charge by the number of syringes, while others will charge by area.

As with any major purchase, it is important to consult a few different providers to find one that you are comfortable with.

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Does insurance cover dermal fillers?

Unfortunately, insurance does not cover dermal fillers for cosmetic reasons.

On the other hand, some insurance companies will cover dermal fillers that are used for reconstructive purposes (i.e. after trauma). Consult your insurance company to find out more information.

How should I prepare for getting dermal fillers?

There is nothing that you have to do to prepare for the appointment. Simply come willing to share your concerns and questions that you have about the treatment.

What happens on the day of getting dermal fillers?

On the day of getting dermal fillers, your doctor will take a thorough history. This will include your chief complaint, past medical and surgical history, medications, and allergies.

Once you decide on a treatment plan, your doctor may apply topical numbing cream to provide more comfort during the procedure.

The doctor will then inject the filler(s) to the appropriate areas and may provide you with an ice pack after the procedure for additional comfort. Also, you can go back to your normal life immediately after the procedure.

Will dermal fillers make me feel numb and look frozen?

No. Dermal fillers do not affect sensory or motor function, and will therefore not cause you to feel numb or look frozen.

However, your doctor may choose to use a numbing injection prior to injecting the filler that can cause your face to temporary feel numb immediately after the procedure.

The goal of treatment is to soften the wrinkles and restore volume while preserving your ability to make facial expressions. When injected properly, dermal fillers can produce beautiful, natural results.

Others will think that you went away on vacation and are getting more sleep, rather than you just had a treatment done.

If I stop getting dermal fillers, what will happen?

You’ll turn into a pumpkin (just kidding)!

Honestly, if you stop getting dermal fillers, after a period of time your face will return to normal.

If you have been getting dermal fillers for several months or years, your face may still look improved compared to when you started.

Are dermal fillers addictive?

Dermal fillers are not addictive. Most patients who undergo treatment with dermal fillers make the conscious choice to return because they love the effects so much!

If you have additional questions about dermal fillers, feel free to ask them in the comments below!

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Paul Johnson, MD
Dr. Paul Johnson is a board-certified ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in cosmetic and reconstructive oculoplastic surgery. He performs facial rejuvenation procedures including upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty (eyelid lift/contouring), brow lifts, Botox injections, soft tissue fillers (Radiesse/Juvederm/Restylane), and chemical peels with meticulous attention to detail. Dr. Johnson is also skilled in reconstructive oculoplastics including ptosis repair, excision, and reconstruction of eyelid skin cancer, orbital decompression surgery, repair of orbital fractures, eye socket reconstruction, management of facial nerve paralysis (Bell’s palsy), blocked tear duct repair (dacryocystorhinostomy), ectropion and entropion repair, management of thyroid eye disease, enucleation and evisceration surgery, and the repair of orbital, eyelid, and tear duct trauma. He attended Johns Hopkins University and Jefferson Medical College. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, and his oculoplastics fellowship at the top-rated Wills Eye Institute. He has authored multiple publications and has been actively involved in teaching future ophthalmologists at both New York Eye & Ear and Wills Eye Institute.