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Cosmetic Injection Fillers

As we age, the elasticity, volume, and strength of our body’s tissue diminishes. Time, smoking, and sun exposure all take a toll on our skin. Still, the tissue appears firm and tight thanks to a layer of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid that forms a stabilizing framework.

But when the tissue begins to weaken, deep wrinkles and sagging in the face become visible. That deterioration creates a void between the skin and muscle, and the subsequent loss of volume cannot be reversed with exercises, dietary supplements, or topical applications.

Fortunately, injectable cosmetic facial fillers such as those manufactured by brand names such as Juvéderm Voluma, Juvéderm Vollure, Juvéderm Volbella, Radiesse, Sculptra, Dysport, Belotero, and Restylane can replace the lost tissue. These wrinkle fillers do that by restoring facial volume, stimulating collagen production, keeping your skin tight, and smoothing out contours. Fillers are a viable alternative to traditional facelifts, which reduce the amount of skin covering different areas of the face.

Cosmetic fillers are newer than more invasive procedures, but they’ve been around for years. Since they were first introduced, researchers have refined the composition of filler materials and physicians have honed their injection techniques for filler procedures.

Filler treatment is a modern yet time-tested procedure that offers a viable solution for those looking to restore their youthful appearance.

What are Cosmetic Injection Fillers?

Cosmetic fillers are gel-like substances that your dermatology physician injects between the skin and muscles in your face. Some fillers are made of naturally occurring materials while others are synthetic. They are approved by the FDA and create volume where they are injected.

What Fillers Can Do

Fillers are versatile. They restore facial contours that appear sunken while simultaneously softening creases, smile lines, fine lines, and wrinkles. Injections plump and volumize lips, cheeks, chins, jawlines, and temples. Fillers can also diminish or even remove shadows around the lower eyelids.

They can also be used to improve the appearance of recessed scars from acne. Finally, they can be used in conjunction with surgery to reconstruct facial contour deformities.

What Fillers Can’t Do

Depending on your medical situation, fillers may not be able to correct wrinkles and sagging if too much tissue is already lost. In addition, fillers cannot correct cosmetic issues that result from excess skin or neurologic issues. Note that they don’t permanently restore volume either and typically require multiple treatments over time.

Types of Fillers



Neuromodulators reduce muscle contractions by stimulating the nervous system. They include products like botulinum toxin (Botox) and are considered neurotoxins because they disrupt nerve function. A physician injects the neuromodulator into your face, relaxing the muscle under your skin.

They are best suited to address dynamic wrinkles that result from making facial expressions that push your skin together. These are typically most apparent when your face is at rest. Neuromodulators are usually used on forehead lines, crow’s feet, and frown lines.


Kybella is a fat reduction process in which deoxycholic acid injections are used to address your “double-chin.” The treatment uses a type of bile acid that your body naturally produces to break down fat cells. It is currently only FDA-approved for treatment under the chin.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers create volume and/or augmentation when injected under the skin or into the back of the hands. They mimic the healthy fat and tissue that breaks down over time due to the aging process.

Dermal fillers are best suited to reducing moderate to severe wrinkles and folds in the nose and lip areas, cheekbones, temples, and jaw. The most common filler used for wrinkles is hyaluronic acid filler, which already occurs naturally in the body. Its effects usually last from six months to one year.

Calcium hydroxyapatite is another type of natural filler. It consists of a gel filled with minerals found in bones. It offers greater volume than hyaluronic acid and usually lasts more than one year.

Autologous fat injections require surgery because they involve the removal of your own fat via liposuction. That fat is then prepared for injection and used as the filler. Results can last for several years.

Synthetic fillers include Poly-L-Lactic acid, which stimulates the production of collagen before leaving your system within a few days, and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which creates a permanent framework beneath the skin to induce smoothness and firmness.

Botox vs. Fillers


Botox and fillers are both injections that are administered by a physician to address wrinkles. Both treatments are FDA-approved and have been used for decades.


Botox solves creases and wrinkles caused by facial expressions by stopping the facial muscles from contracting. Treatment is usually limited to your forehead and around the eyes and mouth. Botox's effect usually wears off within four months, so it must be re-administered.

Fillers restore smoothness by adding volume. They're typically effective around the mouth, temples, jaw, and cheeks. There are several types of approved fillers, but your doctor can select the best one for you based on your needs. Results can last over a year depending on the treatment area and type of filler used.

FDA Stance Toward Fillers

The FDA approved dermal fillers for patients over 21 years old seeking specific treatments, including:

Only licensed medical professionals can obtain FDA-approved fillers. Do not have the procedure performed at a non-medical spa, salon, cosmetics party, or by a friend.

You should only have cosmetic fillers injected by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. A physician must perform the procedure in order for you to achieve the best results possible. Physicians are trained to assess the treatment areas, properly administer the injections, and understand the nuances of facial shape and appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should always seek out a board-certified physician for any cosmetic procedure. The American Board of Plastic Surgery has a list of members you can search through by location. Remember, regardless of the low level of risk they pose, injectable fillers are a medical procedure.

Once you have scheduled a consult, you should confirm that your surgeon regularly performs filler injections. Finally, review all of your questions with the practitioner and ask to see before-and-after photos of their patients.

Your surgeon will conduct an evaluation to determine the correct type of filler for you and your optimal injection site. The fillers are usually injected during an outpatient procedure. You will receive local anesthesia in the form of lidocaine and be awake for the injection.

Usually, the procedure takes between fifteen minutes and one hour. Treatment duration can vary based on the number of injection sites and the type of filler used.

You may experience mild facial discomfort, bruising, and/or swelling for up to a week post-injection. Fortunately, ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication are usually enough to manage your side effects.

Once the swelling subsides, your physician may administer a follow-up injection to maximize your results.

Outcomes will vary based on the patient’s overall health, the area treated, and type of filler used. Generally speaking, most fillers’ results last from 9 to 12 months. Some of the newer FDA-approved soft tissue fillers’ results may last up to 18 months.


Plastic surgeons are able to address lost contours, wrinkling, and diminished volume in several parts of the face with a variety of safe and long-lasting skincare fillers. You must consult with a healthcare physician to determine which type of filler is best suited to address your concerns.

Cosmetic injection fillers are a minimally-invasive alternative to surgical procedures and can address different types of wrinkles than Botox. The injectable treatment is low-risk, semipermanent, involves minimal recovery time, and has been refined over decades.