Injectables: Facelift Through a Needle

PlasticSurgery.com Staff Report © 2005-2009

With only two weeks remaining until she got married, thoughts about her wedding photos started to kick in. Because photos often last for generations, 38-year-old *P.S. naturally wanted to look as good as possible.

“I felt I was too young for a full facelift, but I was worried about the furrows and lines running from my nose to the corners of my mouth,” she says.

“More patients are asking for quick enhancements in the doctor’s office”

So she made an appointment with Pradeep Sinha, M.D. – whom she had met with six months earlier – to rid herself of those wrinkles, furrows and a few scar depressions.

Over the next two weeks, P.S., a business development professional in Atlanta , had some of the more popular “injectables,” which are substances that cosmetic and plastic surgeons use to remove facial furrows, wrinkles, worry and laugh lines, “crow’s feet,” and more.

“I had Restylane® to plump up my lips and three sessions of Botox® to smooth out facial wrinkles,” says P.S. “Finally, I had CosmoPlast to fill in some chicken pox scars.”

P.S. is among many who want quick cosmetic procedures that can produce benefits similar to a facelift, and a few effects that even surgery can’t offer. One would be an improvement to the nasolabial folds, the creases that run from your nose to the corner of your mouth. Although injectables are less expensive than a facelift, patients must often return for additional treatment to keep up their new, recharged look.

“Everybody at the wedding said I looked more refreshed and perhaps younger but could not put their fingers on it,” says P.S. “Most thought I had lost weight.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 2004 saw nearly 7.5 million minimally-invasive rejuvenate treatments, with an upturn in “lunch hour” procedures. That was a seven percent increase over 2003. Currently, Botox® is considered the top injectable, followed by Restylane® and collagen.

“From where I sit, Restylane® is replacing collagen,” says New York City plastic surgeon Elliot Jacobs, M.D.“Restylane® lasts twice as long as collagen.”

Captique, one of the most recent wrinkle-fighting injectables, was approved by the FDA in December 2004. It can be used in minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation to add volume in deep wrinkles and folds around the nose and mouth. Results last about a year because the human body naturally absorbs the substance over time.

See the chart below for a comparison of commonly-used injectibles.

BOTOX

Softens, but does not fill facial lines like wrinkles on forehead and between eyebrows, “crow’s feet,” smile and laugh lines around mouth. Results are immediate and tend to last three to five months.

HYLAFORM

Made of an animal substance, but usually requires no allergy testing. Hylaform restores fullness to the skin and removes wrinkles. Immediate results.

RESTYLANE

Wrinkle correctors made by genetic engineering of a substance already in the human body so no allergy test is required. Lasts about six to 12 months and adds fullness to the skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

COLLAGEN(Zyderm, Zyplast)

Improves appearance of the skin; fills out deep facial wrinkles, creases, furrows and some types of scars. Also used to plump up lips. Test required for allergies. Lasts three months to a year.

FAT TRANSFER

Fills and adds contours to facial features with the patient’s own fat and provides definition to cheeks and chin. Multiple treatments are often required. Also used to make hands look younger. Lasts three months to a year.

SCULPTRA

Stimulates the body’s collagen production to fill in sunken cheeks and chins by thickening the skin. Results show in three to four months but results last about two years.

RADIANCE

A newly-approved substance that contains tiny bits of synthetic bone. It first fills in deeper lines and furrow then stimulates collagen growth. It also enhances cheekbones or chins. Results are seen immediately and last one to two years.

COSMODERM, COSMOPLAST

Both are derived from human tissue and do not require allergy testing. CosmoDerm is used for fine lines and wrinkles while CosmoPlast is used for deeper wrinkles, scars and lip augmentation.

ARTECOLL

Artecoll® requires an allergy test. It is injected more deeply in small drops and provides correction of depression and deep creases like neck folds, but not for fine lines. It is also used to correct acne scarring and to plump lips. Requires two to three months to take effect, but can last three years and beyond.