Dermal fillers are one of the non-surgical modalities that have completely changed the way that plastic surgeons approach facial rejuvenation. In the past, it was thought that the aged face was solely the result of gravity’s inevitable pull on the skin and tissues. Now, plastic surgeons realize that aging in the face – particularly the mid-face – is also about a loss of volume.
As the cheeks deflate, they are no longer able to provide the infrastructure to hold up the skin around the nose and mouth. The result is the dreaded nasolabial folds. However, properly placed dermal fillers in the mid-face can not only restore your youthful cheeks, but it can also improve any sagging or wrinkling around the nose and mouth. Dr. Brooke R. Seckel of Boston is a huge fan of dermal fillers. He discusses how this procedure has changed his practice and why he has his patients hold a hand mirror during their fillers procedure.
Why Fillers Are So Effective
When plastic surgeons used to perform a facelift, they thought that the main problem was sagging skin, so they would pull back on the skin and trim the excess. The results were not always ideal. The reason is that aging in the face is multi-factorial and one of these factors is volume loss. “The problem is that, although we gain fat in our tummies as we age, we actually lose fat in our face,” explains Dr. Seckel.
As the fat in the cheeks dissolves over time, it’s like letting air out of a balloon. Slowly, it causes the area around the nose and mouth to look “sad and hollow.” The result is deep nasolabial folds that can make you look and feel older than you want. Properly placed dermal fillers in the mid-face will restore the round, “apple cheeks” of your youth. This not only makes your cheeks look fresher and younger, but it also pulls the skin up a bit, reducing or eliminating the nasolabial fold. Dr. Seckel refers to it as the “instant cheek lift.”
Pain Free Fillers Procedure is Real
Patient satisfaction with fillers is very high for a number of reasons. The procedure is:
- fast – typically under an hour
- performed in the office
However, to achieve the latter, the plastic surgeon must be diligent, and take his or her time. Dr. Seckel first uses a topical numbing cream on the skin in the treatment area – this can not be rushed. He typically has his patient sit for at least 20 minutes, or until the face is completely numb. He follows this with a titanium cold roller, then the actual filler he injects has anesthesia built in. By doing this, “you can really have pain-free injections,” explains Seckel.
Benefits of Patient Holding Hand Mirror During Fillers Procedure
One of the things that patients really love about dermal fillers is that the procedure delivers immediate gratification. When Dr. Seckel uses fillers on his patients, he has the patient hold up a hand mirror. He then proceeds to inject the filler sequentially. After each small injection, he will ask the patient: “Do you want more here?” This allows the patient to see, in real time, how the fillers are lifting and rejuvenating the face.
Patients love feeling part of the process and are amazed at what a difference a bit of filler can make, restoring a more youthful glow to the face. When you feel better about how you look, this self-confidence can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
Doing Fewer Facelifts Thanks to Fillers
There is no question in Dr. Seckel’s mind that compared to 20 years ago, “I am doing about half of the facelifts that I used to do.” The reason for this is simple: dermal fillers work.
One of the first signs of aging that really bothers most patients is this loss of cheek fullness and the subsequent “jowling” around the nose and mouth. Since re-inflating the cheeks is addressed with filler, not with pulling and trimming the skin with a facelift, far fewer patients are needing a facelift. “They have the apple cheeks back and have little bit of filler in the lip and they’re happy,” explains Dr. Seckel.
Patients who do need a facelift tend to have laxity in the neck, something that can not be properly addressed with either fillers or Botox.
Exciting Moment for Non-Surgical Facial Rejuvenation
Plastic surgery is continuing to empower non-surgical modalities as they emerge with success. There are so many ways for a plastic surgeon to help a patient look younger without surgery that it makes it an exciting time to be both a patient and a plastic surgeon.