Botox and Injectable Fillers

Everyone’s heard of Botox, but what do they do, and are they safe? How are they different from fillers? Does it cost a fortune? Are the changes permanent? A quick overview of the two most popular anti-aging procedures.

Botox Overview:

The brand name, Botox is well known even to those who aren’t particularly into cosmetic procedures, as a wrinkle-busting procedure. Botox is primarily used to treat lines and wrinkles on the upper face, like frown lines or crow’s feet, which are largely caused by the movement of facial muscles over time. Botox is actually a trade name for a drug that uses botulinum toxin, which has the effect of freezing muscle contraction in the treated area. Dysport and Xeomin are other brands that use botulinum toxin in North America, and have similar cosmetic indications. Dr. Carruthers pioneered the use of Botox for cosmetic purposes in the early 1990s, noticing that patients who were treated for eyelid spasms also showed marked improvement in their horizontal lines. More than 25 years later, this procedure has an excellent safety profile and aesthetic appeal, and is now one of the most popular cosmetic treatments along with fillers.

What does it do?

Botox is primarily used to treat lines and wrinkles on the upper face which are largely caused by the movement of facial muscles over time. These are called dynamic lines or expression lines, and can be softened by injecting Botox to the area and restricting muscle contraction.

Is Botox safe?

Being a byproduct of a potentially deadly bacterium might give you some pause, but fear not, it has been diluted to harmless levels, and the safety profile of the procedure is excellent. Botulinum toxin has been used widely for medical reasons, prior to its use in cosmetic dermatology since the 1960s for various indications such as cerebral palsy, cervical dystonia, and hyperhidrosis and has been safely used for over 50 years.

Botox injections have an outstanding safety record when performed by a competent and experienced doctor. This last proviso is critically important; these drugs need to be stored properly, and administered by a physician who is specially trained to ensure both the safety of the patient as well as provide the best aesthetic results

How much does it cost, and how long does it last?

The costs vary depending on how much Botox is being used primarily, but other factors like who is doing the injecting, and the location of the clinic may also have an effect on the final price. Generally, however, a typical treatment can range from $300 for a touch-up or maintenance to $1200 for more extensive treatment. The effects of botulinum toxin lasts from 2 to 4 months depending on the area that’s being treated, and how much is being injected to the site. Within several days of treatment, patients will notice the effects.

Expectations and Recovery Time:

Botox has an excellent safety profile, and the vast majority of patients are very pleased with the aesthetic results of Botox. Improvement is often noticeable within a few days, and will last for 3 to 6 months depending on the amount used, and the area treated. There is always a chance, however, that the results aren’t as great as you had hoped. To avoid disappointment, proper communication prior to the procedure is very important. Don’t be afraid to let the performing doctor know exactly what you want and to listen to the doctor about the expected outcome.

In terms of the procedure itself, Botox is a non-invasive procedure that can be done at a dermatologist’s office, and requires no recovery time. Patients are advised not to lay down or massage/touch the treated area for a few hours following the procedure, but otherwise, they can come in during their lunch break, and go right back to the office.

Dermal Fillers Overview

Dermal fillers, as the name suggests, fill in the skin. Like Botox, it can be used as maintenance and to make minor soft improvements, or used to make more significant improvements. Absorbable temporary fillers like collagen, hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapetite, and poly-L-lactic acid are the most commonly used, lasting from 3 to 24 months. Although repeated treatment is necessary, this has largely overtaken permanent fillers due to practical considerations, as the results are safer and easily reversed.

What does it do?

Dermal fillers are primarily used to restore lost volume in the face, in particular, in the lower half of the face. They can be used for a wide range of cosmetic concerns, and can be used in very small or very large quantities depending on the issue that is being addressed as well as the patient’s goals.

Are dermal fillers safe?

Dermal fillers have an excellent safety profile. Most injectable fillers are based on hyaluronic acid these days, a naturally occurring sugar. Among many of its advantages, the filler can quickly be dissolved with a substance called hyaluronidase, which makes reversing unwanted effects easier, and makes correction and reversing the procedure far easier in the rare event of a medical emergency.

What is the typical cost of dermal fillers and how long will it last?

With the usual caveat of “it depends,” several hundred dollars to several thousands dollars is typical for a dermal filler. The quantity being injected, and who is performing the procedure, as well as the local market (probably more in L.A. than Detroit) can affect the pricing. Dermal fillers typically last from 6 to 9 months, but vary depending on the type (some are semi-permanent) and the location that the filler is being injected into.

Expectation and Recovery Time:

Patients can generally expect a soft natural looking improvement in volume loss with dermal fillers. The results will be immediately evident, and patients can usually just go back to work on the same day without issue. There is also very little pain or restrictions on behavior, except, for a few hours following procedure patients should avoid massaging the injected area or lying down on the area.