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Filler injections are a cosmetic treatment
used to smooth wrinkles or pitted scars in the skin, usually on the face. They
are also used to make the lips fuller. When injected under the skin, a filler
raises or puffs up that area. This usually goes away over time. There are many
kinds of injectable fillers, including:
Some doctors use fillers that are not approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Check with your doctor when deciding which
treatment is right for you.
For some fillers, your skin is first
numbed with a
local anesthetic. Then a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist uses a
needle to inject the filler under the skin. A treatment session takes about 15
minutes. Some fillers are done in repeat sessions a couple of weeks
After a filler injection, expect some
pain, redness, swelling, and possibly itching. Swelling may last up to 36
If symptoms start to get worse 1 to 3 days after the
treatment, call your doctor—you may be getting an infection.
Filler injections are used to smooth
scarred, wrinkled, or furrowed skin on the face. Some fillers are also used to
add fullness to the lips.
Depending on the area being treated,
the filler, and your body's reaction to the filler, you might have one or more
Different fillers last different lengths of
time. Slowly, your body absorbs the filler. This makes the skin go back to its
As with all cosmetic procedures, the results may or may not
be quite what you hoped for.
Filler injection can lead to problems. Possible
There are rare reports of serious or life-threatening
complications after filler injection, including
sepsis, blood clot in the retinal artery leading to
blindness, skin breakdown (necrosis), and
abscess needing drainage.
If you have a lot of
herpes zoster or
herpes simplex outbreaks, a filler injection could
trigger a flare-up. If you have several herpes outbreaks a year, your doctor
will want you to take an antiviral medicine before having a filler
Each syringe of filler costs several hundred dollars.
Costs vary, depending on the type of filler. Talk to your doctor ahead of time
about how many you will use, how often, and at what cost. Health insurance is
unlikely to pay for this treatment.
Complete the special treatment information form (PDF)special treatment information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this treatment.
Cohen SR, et al. (2007). Five-year safety and efficacy
of a novel polymethylmethacrylate aesthetic soft tissue filler for the
correction of nasolabial folds. Dermatologic Surgery,
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery
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