Injectable Cosmetic Treatments
One question many people ask when they are thinking about cosmetic enhancements is, “Do I have to have surgery?” The answer is no, thanks to a new generation of treatments that allow doctors to treat wrinkles and other signs of ageing with cosmetic injectables.
Cosmetic injections – both anti-wrinkle and soft tissue fillers – top the list of minimally invasive treatments in the U.S., the largest cosmetic medicine market in the world. The most popular treatments in Australia continue to be anti-wrinkle treatments including muscle relaxants (anti-wrinkle injections) and dermal fillers.
The phenomenal growth of injectables can be attributed, in part, to the introduction of new types and brands of soft tissue fillers for patients to consider in addition to traditional fat injections. These emerging treatments are less invasive, more effective and less expensive, making them more appealing and accessible to patients.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most in-demand injectable treatments to help you make an informed and knowledgeable decision about whether this course of treatment is right for you.
How Cosmetic Injectables Diminish Wrinkles
Wrinkles, laugh lines, frown lines, and other changes in the face can make you look old beyond your years. Dermal fillers are injectable gels that soften facial lines and folds, especially those that appear at rest. Filler injections are also used to smooth scarred, wrinkled, or furrowed skin on the face, while others are used to add fullness to the lips.
Each brand and type of filler lasts different lengths of time as your body slowly absorbs the filler gel, causing the skin to go back to its normal state. Depending on the filler, the area being treated, and your body’s reaction to it, you might require repeated treatments.
Muscle relaxants are used to treat wrinkles and lines caused by repeated muscle movement, such as smile lines and forehead creases. They work by temporarily weakening the underlying muscles.
Who Is A Good Candidate for Injectables?
Dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections can correct problems including
- Deep nose to mouth lines.
- Fine lines caused by smoking and ageing.
- Loss of volume in the cheeks.
- Thin or misshapen lips.
- Minor nose deformities.
Age is not a criterion for facial rejuvenation. Women and men of various ages choose non-surgical facial rejuvenation to delay or improve visible signs of ageing on the face. As we reach our 50’s and 60’s, however, injectable fillers and anti-wrinkle injections may be less successful.
While nowadays fillers and anti-wrinkle injections are generally regarded as safe, they are not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women. Additionally, people with acne are at a greater risk of infection following injections with dermal fillers. Finally, autoimmune disease and rheumatoid arthritis can also make you an unsuitable candidate for a treatment with dermal fillers.
What to Expect During a Cosmetic Injectable Treatment
Prior to any treatment, your doctor will meet with you, get your medical history and then take the time to talk with you about the results you wish to achieve. Your doctor will evaluate your general skin tone and facial appearance, examining the areas of your face you wish to change.
- Anti-Wrinkle Injections – One of the most popular cosmetic enhancement treatments is the injection of a protein that selectively decreases muscle function and prevents the formation of wrinkles and deep lines on the face. These injections can improve the appearance and lessen the prominence of crow’s feet, forehead furrows, and frown lines.
They do not require anaesthesia and usually take just a few minutes to perform at your doctor’s office. A fine needle is used to inject the material, which helps minimise discomfort and maximise accuracy.
Injections are usually repeated every three to four months to maintain results.
- Dermal Filler Injections – The type of dermal filler your doctor uses determines how this treatment is performed. For example, thicker fillers used for volume replacement are injected at a deeper level, using larger needles than fillers that are being injected into wrinkles and fine lines at a more superficial level.
Because they are injected at a deeper level, some dermal fillers can cause more discomfort than more superficial injections. Interestingly, some fillers already contain a form of local anaesthetic. For fillers without the anaesthetic already “built in,” your doctor may recommend a numbing cream to minimise any pain.
In some instances, only a few injections will be needed to achieve results, but often multiple injections may be necessary. You may feel some stinging or burning during your treatment, which usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour.
- Lip Enhancement Injections – Your doctor will first determine, depending on your lips, which type of filler to use for your lip enhancement. Prior to beginning the injections, your doctor will administer a dental block to manage any discomfort. A dental block is a numbing medication that dentists use to block the sensation of pain in one region of the mouth at a time.
When the treatment area is numb, your doctor will mark the areas he wants to treat and then inject the filler evenly along the natural lines of your upper and lower lips. There are different areas of your lips that may need alteration. Your doctor will carefully inject the filler in the appropriate spots and then massage the material to ensure a proper contour.
After the anaesthesia wears off, you will likely experience some discomfort, so you may not wish to return to work or your normal activities right away. It is also recommended that you minimise movement of the treated area for a while after treatment.
Possible Risks and Complications of Filler Injections
Any discomfort is generally mild and temporary. Your doctor will likely offer you an ice pack to make you more comfortable. You may apply makeup following filler procedures, but you must be careful not to apply pressure to the treated areas. Doing so may result in movement of the dermal filler.
Although well tested, filler injections can cause problems, including:
- Allergic reactions.
- Lumps under the skin’s surface.
In the event that you see new redness, swelling, or pain after the first day, call your doctor immediately, as you may need antibiotics to fight off an infection.
There are rare reports of life-threatening complications after the use of dermal fillers, including anaphylactic shock, sepsis, and blood clot in the retinal artery. The best way to “inoculate” yourself against these complications is to choose a skilled, trained professional who has performed injectable treatments many times before.
Average Cost for Cosmetic Injections
Many factors will affect the cost of treating your skin with injectables. Each syringe of filler costs several hundred dollars, with the price varying on the type of material being used. Be sure to talk with your doctor ahead of time to map out how many injections will be necessary, how often you will need to come in, and at what cost.
Health insurance will not pay for this treatment unless it is to treat excess under-armpit sweating.