Dermal filler


To plump up fine lines, wrinkles, some scarring, and augment the lips by restoring volume and definition.

The treatment:

Most manufacturers of dermal fillers recommend that treatments should only be carried out by medical professionals. Dermal fillers are currently injected by doctors and nurses.

Dermal fillers are made from a variety of materials and the effects can be either temporary or permanent, depending on the type of filler. Any fillers placed on the market as medical devices must meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Directive. Such materials must be CE-marked, which indicates that the manufacturer has verified that the product will not compromise the clinical condition or the safety of patients when used under the conditions and for the purposes intended, and that any risks are acceptable when weighed against the benefits anticipated from the clinical use intended by the manufacturer.

There are dermal fillers derived from collagen, some which come from a bovine source and some from porcine. Other fillers are synthetically produced in laboratory and are derived from hyaluronic acid. Fillers derived from both collagen and hyaluronic acid are temporary biodegradeable products which last 3-9 months depending on the product and the amount used. Fillers made using collagen will require a skin test whereas fillers made from hyaluronic acid will not. Some of the brand names include Restylane®, Hydrafill®, Hylaform® and Juvederm®.

Other fillers include:-

Radiesse® - a temporary filler made using calcium hydroxylapatite, the results can last up to 2 years. No skin test is required.

Silskin®- a permanent filler made using sterile, colourless silicone oil. No skin test is required.

Bio-Alcamid® - a permanent filler made from 96% water and 4% syntheric polymer (poly-alkyl-imide). Once injected a thin capsule of collagen forms round the filler. The manufacturers claim the filler can be extracted easily at any time of the results are not to the patient's liking.

The practitioner injects the filler in a series of small injections and the area gently massaged. You can expect to be a little swollen and tender for a short while afterwards. Some treatments require the application of a local anaesthetic cream, and others which are carried out by doctors or dentists may be performed using nerve block anaesthesia. The treatment time can vary between 30 minutes to an hour.

The area may be a little swollen and tender for 24 hours and during that time you should avoid coffee, alcohol, hot drinks and the sun.

The results:

The lines and wrinkles are softened, the lips can be plumped up and given more definition. The degree of correction is dependent on the patient's wishes and the amount of product used. Results are also dependent on a patient's skin type and facial structure, their life style and their own perception.

The risks:

Risks can include a small risk of allergic reaction to the filler or bruising of the treated area. People with a history of cold sores may experience a recurrence after treatment, although this can be minimised by the use of antiviral medicines.

Fillers are a single use item, and part-used syringes should not be stored for future use.

Before you start:

Ensure you have a thorough consultation, make clear your expectations, and make sure all your queries have been answered.

Also see:

Fat implant/ fat transfer
Lip implant
Cheek implant

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health ( Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.