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Facial Sculpting with Botox and Fillers

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 | Tags:

To smooth wrinkles and sagging skin without going under the knife, many people are look to less invasive treatments like Botox and fillers. We find out more about these procedures, and put them to the test with the help of a volunteer.

Treatment Summary

Intro

Injectables (e.g. Botox and fillers) are a class of facial rejuvenation cosmetic surgeons use as an alternative to more invasive procedures (like actual surgery) in order to improve wrinkles and help clients look younger.

Botox is a formula that is injected under the skin and preventsmuscles from tightening to form wrinkles. Fillers are formulas used to physically fill in the wrinkle area from the surface, creating a smoother appearance.Botox and fillers together are often used to treat severe wrinkles. Both are temporary and are eventually absorbed by the body.

How it Works

Botox, a form of theBotulinum Toxin, interferes with nerve impulses, essentially paralyzingthe muscles. It has been used since 1989 to treat muscle spasms, andsince 2002 it has been approved for cosmetic use to treat frownlines and wrinkles.

Botox is injected into the muscle that typically forms the frown line, causing it to relax. The doctor may then “sculpt” the injected area in order to mold the treatment into an optimal place for best results.

For example, in our tester’s case, the doctor gave her cheekbones a bit of a lift by massaging the Botox into an area at the top of each cheekbone, beneath the eye sockets.

Fillers, or dermal filling, dates back to the 1890s, when doctors took fat from patients’ arms and injected it into their face. Injectable bovine collagen was developed in the 1970s and is still in use today, along with multiple other collagen materials including human collagen, hyaluronic acid gel (Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, Hylaform, Captique), calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), Poly-L-Lactic Acid or PLLA (Sculptra or New-Fill), and polymethylacrylate beads (PMMA microspheres) delivered in a bovine collagen gel (Artefill, Artecoll).

Commitment Required

Botox: The injection procedure is quite quick. You may require an initial consultation with the doctor to assess and plan your treatment. The actual treatment session may take only around 15 minutes, as Botox is injected under the skin. 

Fillers: this procedure can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the area and amount being treated.

Cost

The average cost of a botox procedure is anywhere from $400-3000 or more per session, depending on the amount of work being done. The effect will last anywhere from 3-6 months for Botox.

When it comes to fillers, there is a wide range in cost and longevity, but expect anywhere between $500 and $4000 or more. Collagen fillers are said to potentially last up to 18 months, but most patients report a 3-5 month effect. Other fillers can last 6 months to 2 years or more.

Side Effects

Botox: Commonly patients may experience temporary bruising, eyelid drooping, dry eyes, and double vision.

Severe side effects, including death, should be noted. In these cases, it appeared the toxin spread from the injection site and caused paralysis of respiratory muscles and other problems. These were mainly related to use in treating muscle spasms, however, not cosmetic procedures.

Fillers: There is potential for allergic reaction to the bovine collagen. Doctors will perform a skin allergy test before proceeding with full treatment. Non-allergic side effects include selling, redness or bleeding around the injection site, and temporary hardness or numbness. Severe complications include uneven results and migration of collagen to other parts of the body.

Hyaluronic acid gel can cause temporary redness, pain, and tenderness, and may cause allergic reactions. Serious side effects can include immune system reactions that create facial bumps called granulomas.

Finding a Clinic

Now widely available, you can find Botox treatments anywhere from spas to the dentist. We recommend going to a doctor or registered nurse with plenty of experience. If you choose to use one of the more readily available avenues, make sure they are using real Botox and have years of experience.

Fillers require an artistic skill along with medical experience. Again, we recommend going to a medical professional for these treatments.

TEST LAB NOTES

Our volunteer, Perri, a 48-year-old executive, wanted a subtle change to help her smooth frown lines and look more refreshed.

She visited Dr. William McGillivray, cosmetic physician at Pacific DermAesthetics in Vancouver. He recommended using Botox to treat her lips to improve lines, add a bit of volume enhancement, and some cheek enhancement. He also suggested a bit of a brow lift to help treat the lines around the eyes.

Total Treatment Cost: $3350

Overall Experience

The procedure was very quick. Perri was surprised how little time it took and how easy it was. She experienced some minor bleeding at the injection points, and of course, a bit of needle pain, which is to be expected.

Results

We checked in with Perri one month later. She cannot get over the great results, and said with each day immediately after the treatment, the effects were improving with time.

She is a bit disappointed that her forehead frown line didn’t lessen as much as she was hoping. She absolutely loves the results around her eyes and cheeks. She says she can’t believe she has absolutely no wrinkles around her eyes. Perri says she will absolutely do it again in the future.

Does Facial Sculpting with Botox get the A&K Stamp of Approval?

Yes. Perri is over the moon with her results. Though the cost is steep, her reaction to the results tells us it was worth it for her. 

Since Botox and other fillers can cause side effects, if you choose to undergo such a treatment, we must stress how important it is to do your research and find an experienced cosmetic physician.

 

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