In the venue of cosmetic facial injections, hyaluronic acid fillers are very popular. Hyaluronic Acid, also known as hyaluronan, hyaluronate, or HA, is a cosmetic facial filler which inflates and supports facial structures and tissue. Skin loses elasticity and volume due to the normal aging process, disease, over-exposure to the sun, lifestyle, and many other contributing factors. Hyaluronic acid injections help to smooth wrinkles and folds in the skin, by adding volume to the existing tissues, and they also rehydrate the skin’s surface, making it supple again.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) is found in many body tissues, such as the skin, cartilage, and vitreous humour, and is a great candidate, suited for biomedical applications involving the body’s tissues and healing. In the medical community, HA is used in opthalmic surgery (eye nerves, arteries, and veins), in treating osteoarthritis of the knee, ankle, and shoulder, and in inducing tissue healing. It is also used in anti-adhesive products used in pelvic and abdominal surgeries, in order to prevent postoperative adhesions.
Hyaluronic acid is a common ingredient in skin-care products, acting as a skin hydrator and moisturizer. Injections fill soft tissue defects in the skin by adding volume, elasticity, and moisture. It is a temporary cosmetic filler, which helps to lessen facial scars, wrinkles, and folds due to the aging process and other lifestyle factors. Hyaluronic acid is also used for lip augmentation, or defining and plumping of the lips.
Although HA injections are relatively new in the cosmetic field, there are now, many different brands to choose from. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was established to protect the consumers’ health, and the agency tries to assure safety and effectiveness of each of the approved drugs. Rigorous scientific tests are required and performed by the manufacturers, along with reports and test results, in order to be approved by the FDA. This is an effort to help consumers make an informed choice when viewing the many options of hyaluronic acid filler brands available.
These are some of the various brands of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers which have been approved for use in the United States, and the year they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for commercial marketing, along with the names of the companies:
- Belotero Balance – 2011 (Merz Aesthetics)
- Captique – 2004 (Genzyme Biosurgery)
- Elevess – 2006 (Anika Therapeutics)
- Hydrelle – 2006 (Anika Therapeutics)
- Hylaform – 2004 (Inamed/Allergan)
- Hylaform Plus – 2004 (Inamed/Allergan)
- Juvenile Ultra – 2001 (Allergan)
- Juvederm Ultra Plus – 2007 (Allergan)
- Perlane – 2007 (Q-Med)
- Prevelle Silk – 2008 (Mentor Corporation)
- Puragen – Currently available for use in Europe (Mentor Corporation)
- Restylane – 2003 (Medicis Aesthetics, Q-Med)
The injection procedure for these products is much the same as any other cosmetic facial filler. The major difference is that there are almost no side effects experienced from the injection since hyaluronic injections are chemically identical to the hyaluronic acid in the human body, so there is little risk of rejection. The results of injections generally can last from 3 months to a year, on an average, cost from $400-$700, and are considered outpatient cosmetic surgeries which last from 30 minutes to an hour. Any side effects are usually limited to minimal discomfort of the injection site, swelling, and bruising, which should subside within a week. The effects are immediate, and there is typically no down time.
The products are basically the same, differing only in terms of effect, longevity, and price. The same recommendations are present with these drugs, warning patients with auto-immune diseases, those taking blood thinning medications, and those who are pregnant or nursing, to refrain from having injections. It is wise to do research, and make a knowledgeable choice before making any decisions about facial injections of any type.
Possible Risks and Complications
Risks and complications may develop, if the administrator lacks injection training and expertise. Blood vessels may be ruptured, or injected into, causing tissue necrosis (tissue death), or skin discoloration. In 2009, a new injection technique using a microcannula was developed to avoid blood vessel damage. The newer injections penetrate the skin with a fine gauge needle, then the flexible microcannula slides under the skin, avoiding the nerves and blood vessels.
There are many ways to smooth facial wrinkles, and the most important guide to aesthetic success is research. If you are aware of the alternatives, effects, and know what your desired result is, you can make an informed choice. Hyaluronic acid filler injections are an option which should be researched further, if you are considering facial injections, in order to weigh its benefits and risks to you.