What are volume fillers?
Volume fillers are products designed to provide fullness to areas that have lost significant tissue through ageing or weight loss. They are placed deeper than dermal fillers and create soft, round facial contours and hence more youthful looks. There are a number on the market, yet we have found that the calcium ion premixed types are very popular being effective and safe. These products have calcium ion spheres that are suspended in an aqueous gel. Once injected the gel dissolves over 3 months enticing the body to fill the area with its own collagen. The result is a filling effect that can last up to 18 months. Consequently volume fillers are often known as long-term fillers. Other types of long-term fillers ARGERA uses regularly are non-animal derived sugar chain molecules similar to the dermal fillers but 8x thicker and autologous (the patient’s own) fat. Fat was once the only choice for volumizing and contouring the face but with the advent of pre-packed volumizing products it was largely replaced. Recently it has made a come back in popularity, as patients look for long-term safe options that are cost efficient.
Is it safe? What are the side effects?
Calcium ion based volume fillers are extremely safe due to the fact they are naturally occurring molecules in the body and have been used in orthopaedic implants for well over 15 years. Since they are non-human and non-animal derived the risk of allergy is low, as are lumps and infections. In fact, the only real side effects that we have seen is minor discomfort, bruising and swelling that usually settles within days. Fat transfer has virtually no risk of reaction but has increased down time because up to 50% of the fat can die and so over correction is needed. This results in excess swelling that can take up to 10 days to settle. The sugar chain types area also extremely safe and very good at lifting areas that have lost a lot of volume. This has made them very popular. They are also naturally found in the body, but interestingly 1% of the population worldwide can have a delayed hypersensitivity reaction months after treatment. Yet this reaction never has a long-term effect as the body eventually eats the product away within 12 to 18months. This makes its long-term safety excellent.
How long will the results last?
The calcium ion products can last on average 9 to 12 months on first treatment and up to 18months in subsequent ones, making it a great option for those who are not fond of needles. The sugar chain filler options last a similar time. Fat transfer lasts on average 3 to 5 years and for a lucky few a lifetime. For longevity, fat transfers need a second treatment two months later, and occasionally third treatment. The second fat transfer is less involved than the first and a 30minute visit to the clinic is all that is required. The longevity of the transferred fat depends upon a patient’s ability to stabilize their weight, on their general health and nutrition and if they smoke.
There are products on the market claiming longevity up to 4 years or longer. A word of warning! The greater a product’s longevity, the greater the possibility of it reacting in the body. The only exception is autologous fat. These reactions can be devastating and require the product to be cut out. This is why ARGERA does not offer permanent fillers. As we say, permanent products permanent problems. Furthermore, the skin ages around these products and thus the product stays in site but the result does not. It can make the area look worse than before. In our experience, the closer the product is to the body’s natural composition the safer it is. For this reason we prefer products that last 12 to 18months as our long-term options. Safety is ARGERA’S first priority.
What is the cost?
Volume fillers are made from highly purified products that are screened for disease and monitored for quality. They should only be injected by professionals who are adequately qualified and have years of injecting experience. Their cost reflects the high standards of production and care in which they are given. They are particularly cost efficient given that one syringe often goes further than the equivalent amount of dermal filler and that over 18 months some patients may return 3 or 4 times for a dermal filler but only once for a volume filler. Of course the cost is dependent upon the amount used, which will depend upon the status of the skin and the desired result. Fat transfer is a surgical treatment that involves a mini-liposuction to the donor area. Its costs reflect this, however if a patient needs a lot of filler to get their desired result then fat transfer is the most economical filler treatment since the amount removed is limited only by the patient’s fat stores. Fat transfer is a great addition to any patient under going a liposuction procedure and should be considered in the older patient. Fat gives a soft, rounder look than the pre-packed volumizing products. It also can improve the quality of skin as fat contains stem cells, collagen stimulating factors and hormones like oestrogen and progesterone.
In which areas can I get it?
Volume fillers are used wherever there is a deficit. For example, the naso-labial and marionette lines, to rebuild cheeks, the temples, around the mouth for smoker’s lines, to reshape chins and noses or to even help lift eyebrows.
Can anyone tell that I have had treatment?
For pre-packed volumizing products, initially it may be possible that patients can experience some temporary side effects as discussed. But these are short lived. Our doctor recommends that the first treatment should be carried out when the patient has time to go home and relax and not within 2 weeks of an important social engagement. Most patients come in work breaks and return immediately to work after treatment, or continue on with their normal social activities. For those undergoing fat transfer, a 7 to 10 day downtown is the norm for the first treatment and 5 to 7 days for subsequent treatments. Fat transfer is a surgical procedure and thus patients must have two separate consultations at least a week apart to ensure that they have had time to consider their options and any risks involved.
The overall effect of facial contouring will depend upon what the patient hopes to achieve, the amount and type of product used and the status of the skin. The result can be made as obvious or as subtle as desired. Fat usually provides more dramatic results.
How is Argera different?
The ARGERA Centre stocks a variety of safe, TGA approved fillers that can be used to meet the individual’s needs. Our clinical staff works with the patient to achieve their desired results in the most economical way possible without compromising on standards. We listen and we understand since all of our staff has filler treatments. In addition, Dr Argie is recognized as one of Australia’s advanced injectors and trains medical personal throughout Australia and internationally on various injecting methods in a range of products. Dr Argie has also pioneered new injecting techniques such as the X lift: Non-thread thread lift, which has been accepted into the medical scientific community. In addition, our doctor performs all the advanced injecting such as cheeks, lips and facial contouring given the high level of skill needed for these areas. Dr Argie has the experience to make an accurate an honest assessment of the patient’s cosmetic needs and happily works within their budget to achieve the maximal results possible.