Have you ever noticed that some people seem to age almost overnight? One day they (or you) seem fresh as a daisy, and just a few months later it’s like ten years have been added to the face. Studies on the ageing process have confirmed that yes, this does happen- and it’s almost entirely due to loss of tissue in the cheeks.
Researchers tracking the ageing process observe that sun damage during the teenage and early adulthood years causes a slow, progressive accumulation of uneven skin pigmentation and wrinkles. The fatty tissues under the brow and jowls slowly fades away, causing the skin to gradually sag.
But the cheek tissue- in many people, the tissue that supports the cheeks vanishes practically overnight, leading to sunken cheeks, sagging skin, and an apparent gain of ten to fifteen years on the face over the course of less than a year.
Often a stressful situation seems to trigger this kind of sudden facial aging. A divorce, or a mid-life job loss. Yo-yo dieting can also cause this kind of sudden cheek collapse, especially in women. Luckily, there is a cure for this. If you find yourself suddenly looking ten years older, dermal fillers can restore your youth by lifting your cheeks back up.
Fillers are simply injected under the skin in a minimally invasive procedure. They take the place of lost fatty tissue to lift and support the skin, restoring it to its previous position. There are many different materials used as fillers:
- Calcium hydroxylapatite
- Hyaluronic acid
- Polylactic acid
- Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres
Choice of material depends on the individual patient’s needs and preferences and should be determined only after discussions with the doctor.
The actual procedure is quite straightforward- a series of simple injections to the face. Some massaging of the tissues to spread the materials out may be necessary. Topical anesthetics are often use to numb the area; otherwise, minor burning and pinching sensations may occur. Depending on the size of the area being treated, a full treatment may take 15 to 45 minutes.
There is no recovery period required after injection of soft tissue fillers. Patients can get treated on their lunch hour and return to work immediately. There may be some mild bruising or swelling that will quickly go away. Ice packs to the face may be helpful. The discomfort level is rarely high enough to require pain medications.
How Long Will it Last?
The length of time that the filler lasts before needing to be re-applied varies tremendously. It depends on the type of filler chosen, the amount injected, and the individual patient. Most fillers last at least two years; some are essentially permanent.
Fillers are extremely safe. There is a slight risk of a reaction to the material. On infrequent occasions an infection can develop. Rarely, lumps or scarring can occur. Fat transplants are slightly riskier than other filler materials because of the need to harvest fat from elsewhere on the body, and the risk of the transplanted fat not surviving the procedure. In general, however, patients are delighted with their restored cheeks.