“Dermal or “Wrinkle Fillers” have revolutionized the treatment of the aging face. In the last 10 years the advancements made in the quality of the fillers and the tools used to inject them have improved dramatically. I feel that within another 5 or so years and if women will start early enough, that the need for extensive surgical face-lifts will be minimal“-Dr. DeGraaff, M.D.
Wrinkle fillers are widely used in Aesthetic offices to restore volume to an aging face to provide LIFTING and firming to reduce wrinkles, hollowness and sagging. Loss of volume in the face is what is now considered to be the biggest culprit in facial aging. This volume loss leads to the appearance of the folds around the mouth, sagging in the jowls, loss of full cheeks, hollowness under the eyes, and many other signs of aging. In the past, the only way to treat this problem was to stretch the skin back over the bones in the face which gave a “pulled” unnatural effect. Fillers restore the volume that is lost under the skin and thus lifts the skin back into place in a much more natural way. This process has become known as the “Liquid Face-lift” and has much less downtime, risk and cost than is associated with a surgical face-lift. Even though Fillers are VERY safe and have improved greatly, there are still several rules that Dr. DeGraaff feels are important to get the safest and best cosmetic result.
1. Choose the RIGHT filler for the area you are treating! There are MANY different kinds of fillers. Some work immediately, some don’t. Some are better for fine lines and some are better for deeper folds and hollowness. In fact, some fillers can actually become a problem in certain areas. It takes an experienced injector to learn what products work best in certain areas. When a patient gets a full “Liquid Face-lift”, Dr. DeGraaff actually uses several different types of fillers. For example, certain fillers are better for lips and some are better for the cheeks and some fillers should NEVER be used under the eyes, etc. Dr, DeGraaff will provide a free in-depth consultation to decide which fillers are right for your specific problem.
2. Choose the right AMOUNT of filler!! The old saying of “If a little is good, then a lot must be better” doesn’t always apply to facial volume. Over filling the area under the eye can make the lower lip look puffy or tired for example. Too much filler in the lips can also be unflattering and unnatural and throw the balance of the lower face out of whack. Additionally, sometimes injecting too much filler can actually be dangerous! In this part of the US, most of our patients are more conservative and desire a more natural amount of plumping. Occasionally however, Dr. DeGraaff will counsel a patient who may be asking for more filler than they really need and reassure the patient that sometimes less is more. Also, a large amount of filler doesn’t have to be injected at one time, and it may actually be a better plan to space the treatments out over several months.
3. Choose the right injector! The ART of injecting facial fillers is an acquired skill, but the injector really needs an “EYE” for where the filler will look best in each patient. To become a really good “injector” requires performing many treatments over a long period of time. There are many weekend courses and workshops that can give doctors the basics on how to inject, but getting really good at it takes time. Dr. DeGraaff had been injecting fillers and Botox for over 11 years. She has attended many advanced courses over the years and has been trained by some of the most famous injectors in the US. Dr. DeGraaff is also always looking for ways to improve her skills an make the treatments as safe and painless as possible. Several years ago, she was one of the first injectors in our area to use the new micro-cannulas instead of needles for the injections due to the decreased pain and risk associated with their use. In Alabama, the only practitioners LEGALLY allowed to inject are doctors. If you walk into a hair salon or chiropractors office and they offer you fillers, it is NOT in your best interest to allow them to treat you.
4. Make SURE the product is fully FDA approved! Unfortunately, there are many counterfeit products that are imported mostly by uneducated physicians from other countries. The FDA forbids doctors from importing cheaper, non-FDA approved versions of the fillers from overseas suppliers from Mexico or China. It is your right to see the product your doctor is using and ask questions about the origin of the product. After all, the doctor is about to actually inject a product into your body, so you meed to make sure you know what you are getting. Obviously, Dr. DeGraaff ONLY uses, FDA approved products that are legally sold in the Unites States.
5. Have realistic goals and expectations. Fillers are a wonderful non-invasive way to rejuvenate your face. They won’t last forever, but neither do the surgical. options. The newer FDA fillers last much longer than the fillers we once had and will last longer the more you do them. Fillers allow you to make gradual changes to your appearance and thus it can be more manageable financially and pain-wise. There is also no down-time associated with the fillers and much less side effects than surgery. Most, if not all of our patients are THRILLED with their results and are glad to be able to return to work and other activities immediately. Occasionally, a patient may have a problem that Dr. DeGraaff feels truly need a surgical treatment, but most patients can get remarkable results with a ‘Liquid Face-lift”