As we age, the volume in our faces diminishes over time. However, in the right hands you can age gracefully and look as good as you feel for a long time, which is the goal I have for all my patients. Volume restoration of the face, as a part of an overall comprehensive facial rejuvenation algorithm, combined with skin resurfacing and tissue repositioning, can yield beautiful results.
The aging process causes fat volume reduction in the face. The fat in our faces is organized into discrete packages and, predictably, the fat found just below our cheekbone is one package which reduces in volume first. The combination of gravity and volume loss in cheek fat results in our faces changing shape. Our cheeks appear to decrease, and our skin drops. Cheek folds become more pronounced, creating the inevitable downward-turning at the corners of the mouth and contributing to the jowling effect in the lower jaw line.
Another area that can experience volume loss is the lateral forehead in the temple region, which results in the brows re-draping downward, causing a hooding effect and obscuring the upper eyelids. Still another indication important to women is the loss of volume of the lips and the relative loss of the three-dimensional appearance of the upper lip with increased vertical lines emanating from the red border.
The tear trough region around the lower eyelid can lose volume, regardless of your age, particularly if the eyelid fat pads are prominent with a relatively soft mid face projection.
All the above areas can be treated nicely with filler agents. The advantages of out-of-the-box filler agents is they can be used quite nicely with topical anesthetic agents in the office. There’s relatively little to no bruising and no downtime. Many filler agents contain hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring agent in our skin that acts like glue to hold components of our dermis together. Denser material with lots of cross-linking can have a better effect of lifting tissue. Because of its dense properties, Voluma can last up to two years and is routinely placed in the area where the cheek fat packet decreases. This filler is used to lift the cheek back to a normal position, thus improving the cheek fold and the corners of the mouth.
Lips can be enhanced to normal volumes (not the duck lips that I see coming from various spas) to create a natural red lip border with the adjacent skin helping to eliminate the vertical lines. I also enhance the vertical pillars that span between the base of the nose and the cupids bow high points, which returns a three-dimensional appearance to the upper lip. I mostly utilize Juvederm for this area.
The tear trough deformity can be handled nicely with Restalyn or Juvederm to blend the eyelid cheek junction and smooth the appearance of the lower eyelid.
Volume restoration of the temples to return the brow to a more normal position can be best handled using a step-wise approach with Sculptra, which is an injectable form of a polymer of lactic acid. When introduced to the tissue, the lactic acid induces an inflammatory response leading to the formation of new collagen. The advantage of this material is that it can restore large areas of volume loss, which would be difficult with traditional filler agents. It also slowly builds up collagen and restores volume over a six-week period making your transformation less obvious to your friends and family.
Without question, the concept of volume restoration of the face as a part of an overall comprehensive facial rejuvenation algorithm has led to superior results compared to plans that did not include volume replacement. As with Botox, the overall value of the injection material is greatly dependent on who is administering the filler agent.
Poor technique can result in poor outcomes. I liken filler agents to sculpting materials for the face. You can put clay in front of a true artist who can transform this simple material into a work of art. An untrained eye with no sense of perspective or artistic skill will create very little value out of the raw materials. The same goes for these injectable products in the Wild Wild West of aesthetic services here in American and abroad.