Soft Tissue Fillers

Soft tissue fillers, also known as dermal fillers, are implants used to create smoother, fuller, more proportionate contours in the face, cheeks, lips and back of the hands. These fillers are injected beneath the skin to restore the volume lost during the aging process, to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, fill deep creases and enhance the natural contours of the face. Because soft tissue fillers require injections as opposed to surgical incisions, many people opt for this procedure as an alternative to face and brow lifts.

Who is a good candidate for soft tissue fillers?

Men and women with smile lines, sunken cheeks, diminished vertical lip lines and large creases in the chin and forehead are good candidates for soft tissue fillers. Furthermore, if you have depressed scars on your face caused by acne or an accident, soft tissue fillers can correct this issue by filling in the space left by the deep scar.

Those who have extremely droppy skin around the eyes (bags below the lower lids and bags above the upper lids) and a saggy neck (commonly known as ‘turkey neck’) may not benefit from soft tissue filler and instead be ideal candidates for eye and neck lifts. Additionally, fillers do not create the same taut appearance that would be achieved after a facelift. If you are looking for a tighter facial appearance, then talk to your surgeon about getting a facelift instead.

Finally, in order to be an ideal candidate for soft tissue fillers you need to be in overall good health. During your initial meeting with your surgeon they will assess your medical history to help determine your candidacy for this procedure.

What does the recovery process entail?

The recovery process following soft tissue fillers is fairly simple. After receiving dermal fillers you should notice the results immediately. The area that was treated may bruise or swell temporarily but this will subside within days.

You will be able to return to your normal activities after your treatment as long as you avoid exercise or strenuous activities for 48-72 hours.

The only major avoidance you will need to take on after this type of treatment is smoking. You cannot smoke after undergoing any type of procedure whether it is surgical in nature or not. Smoking delays the brain’s ability to properly process oxygen and hinders the circulation system.

What to look for in a surgeon?

The Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS) is the only surgical body recognized in Canada. Your surgeon must be a member of CSAPS and certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Dermal fillers can also be injected by a dermatologist as long as they are a member of the Canadian Dermatology Association. It’s important that the surgeon or dermatologist you choose to perform your soft tissue filler treatment has experience and makes you feel comfortable.

Here are three questions you can ask dermatologists and surgeons to ensure that they are qualified to administer soft tissue filler injections:

1. How many soft tissue fillers have procedures have you done?

2. Where did you train as a surgeon or dermatologist?

3. How long have you been a practicing surgeon or dermatologist?

Below you will find information regarding the procedure itself, the types of materials used to create the fillers and other useful information about soft tissue enhancements.

What happens during the procedure?

Before the procedure begins, the skin will be cleansed with an antibacterial agent. If you have sensitive skin or are nervous, you can ask for local or topical anesthetic to be applied to the injection site. This procedure is not completely painless but most people report that they do not feel any major discomfort during it.

Your surgeon will inject the dermal fillers into the necessary areas then massage them until they are in place. Additional fillers may be needed depending the area being treated. The whole process can take anywhere from 10-40 minutes. There are no bandages needed after your procedure and your surgeon may give you an ice pack to place on the area afterwards.

There are different types of soft tissue fillers that can be used. The type of fillers you receive depend on your skin type. Most fillers are made of materials that are absorbable by the body and will not cause any harm should they migrate from their original position. Collagen, hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite are usually the materials used in soft tissue fillers because they are naturally occurring in the body. You can also have fillers made of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and polymethylmethacrylate beads (PMMA) which are man-made yet still safe. Common filler brands are Restylane, Juvederm, Radiesse, Sculptra and Teosyal. Each of the aforementioned brands are approved by Health Canada.

Although, soft tissue fillers can be used on the hands to increase fullness, they cannot be used on the feet. Also, they cannot be used in breast or buttock augmentation surgery or as implants to make the certain areas of the body (chest, thighs) to appear more muscular. There are a separate type of implants made of silicone or saline for augmentation procedures.

Depending on your skin and the type of fillers used, the effects can last anywhere from 6-12 months.

Most people do not develop a reaction to the fillers because the substances used in them mirror what is found in the human body. However, some soft tissue fillers contain lidocaine (a mild anesthetic) and allergies to that substance are common. Your surgeon will have already taken your medical history during your initial consultation and will ensure that you receive lidocaine-free fillers.