The Surgeon Minute

Fillers vs. Facelift – What’s the Best for Facial Aging?

Fillers vs. Facelift – What’s the Best for Facial Aging?
There’s no debating that injectables are incredibly popular for facial rejuvenation. Last year there were millions of non-surgical injectable procedures performed in the United States alone. While these treatments can help to eliminate deep wrinkles and frown lines, there may be an age where a facelift is a better alternative. Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Brzowski discusses the best approach to deciding when to switch from filler to facelift.

Skin Deep – The Role of Injectables

Injectables are quickly becoming the workhorse of cosmetic surgery. There’s a stable of products for patients to pick from that have been proven to be effective. Experts advise that Botox and Dysport are best used to relax facial muscles, while Restylane and Juvederm can be used to fill in areas that have lost volume, like the laugh lines. Patients have seen the difference these products can make, but may have unrealistic expectations. “There’s a lot of marketing and a lot of hype that patients are seeing in the media that would make them think they can come in and have a filler put in their face and essentially replace what a facelift would correct,” says Dr. Brzowski.

Brzowski says fillers can help a patient push off surgery, or even improve the results of a procedure, but they won’t eliminate the need for a facelift, once a person reaches a certain age. “When we see a patient come in and they are asking for fillers often times we can supplement what we need to do with fillers, but it doesn’t replace what only surgery can do.” Experts say that fillers may be most effective in patients who are younger than fifty.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

We’ve all seen the images of overdone lips or overfilled cheeks. Experts agree that there can be too much of a good thing, even with fillers. Brzowski says there are plenty of examples of celebrities who have been overdone. “We have many examples in the media of patients who have been overdone, with cheeks and lips and everywhere else you can think of.”

Brzowski says there are plenty of examples where fillers were overused. “We have examples of an overaggressive effort with fillers, which should have been addressed with surgery. Experts also say the poor use of fillers can lead to misshapen cheeks and impaired expressions. Patients also believe that injectables are cheaper than surgery, but the bill can add up when considering that fillers are temporary and require maintenance, while surgery does not.”

Injectables Can’t Do It All

There is a natural desire to avoid surgery, if at all possible – but experts say that fillers aren’t always the right answer. In fact, fillers are not effective in older patients with loose skin and jowl formation, according to some authorities. These patients are much better suited for a facelift to improve facial appearance. It can be difficult deciding when to switch from fillers to something more permanent. “The transition from fillers to surgery, should be decided with a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation with the patient,” says Brzowski.

He says there can be reasons to push off surgery for health or finances, but ultimately surgery will make the most sense and deliver the best results. “When a patient develops so much lax skin, they develop deep jowling and wrinkles – then we really have to think that fillers might not be the best approach and that may be the time for a surgical intervention.”

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