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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 apart.
After a filler injection, expect some pain, redness, swelling, and possibly itching. Swelling may last up to 36 hours.
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 repeat injections.
Different fillers last different lengths of time. Slowly, your body absorbs the filler. This makes the skin go back to its normal state.
As with all cosmetic procedures, the results may or may not be quite what you hoped for.
Filler injection can lead to problems. Possible complications include:
There are rare reports of serious or life-threatening complications after filler injection, including anaphylactic shock, 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 injection.
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.
Last Revised: July 31, 2012
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