The limitations of dermal fillers
Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More
Over the last couple of decades, the use of dermal fillers as a non-surgical cosmetic treatment has increased in popularity. Today it’s no longer Hollywood celebrities, models or social media influencers that are having dermal filler treatments to reduce the signs of ageing. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds have discovered that dermal filler treatment can transform their faces. Dermal fillers are composed of a substance naturally found in your body and can be an effective way to enhance your lips, cheeks and jawlines. However, Dr Gavin Chan (MBBS, Cosmetic Doctor, Liposuctionist) cautions that dermal fillers aren’t the ‘cure-all’ to reduce the signs of signs of ageing. He explains, “over the last 15 years of treating patients with dermal fillers, I’ve noticed there’s a worrying trend that people think dermal fillers will fix everything.”
While Dr Gavin Chan is an advocate of dermal fillers, over the last year or so he’s been questioning the limitations of dermal fillers. Now Dr Gavin and his highly trained and experienced team of Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses take time to educate their patients, so they have realistic expectations of dermal filler treatment.
Four limitations of dermal filler treatment
While dermal fillers are effective at enhancing lips, cheeks, mouth corners, nasolabial folds and tear troughs, they have limitations that many people aren’t aware of.
1 Dermal filler treatment won’t improve your wrinkles
Dr Gavin Chan notes, “the first limitation of dermal fillers is a really ironic one. The name dermal fillers imply they’re injected into the dermis or the skin and 99% of time they’re not.” He explains when dermal fillers are injected, they penetrate deeply into the subcutaneous tissue (the tissue between the skin and muscle) or even down to the bone.
The perception that dermal filler treatment will improve fine lines and wrinkles is a fallacy that may have begun when the first fillers were composed of collagen. Dr. Gavin Chan notes that collagen fillers did improve wrinkles, but the dermal fillers used today will not.
Dermal fillers are effective for contouring the face, adding volume and shape and balancing out the proportions of your face. They are not effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The gold standard for the treatment of wrinkles (particularly on the upper lip) is laser resurfacing with the Erbium laser or the Carbon Dioxide laser. However due to the long downtime associated with this treatment it’s not a very popular treatment.
2 Dermal fillers will not add lift to your face
The second limitation of dermal fillers is the perception they can create lift in your face. Dr Gavin Chan notes, “using normal volumes of dermal fillers will not lift the face to any significant degree.” If patients want dermal filler treatment in their cheeks to lift their jowls, they would need an extraordinary amount of filler that would be cost prohibitive.
A few years ago, Dr Patrick Trevidic, a Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgeon based in Paris conducted a study where he injected 10 mLs of dermal filler in the cheeks of patients. He found that even with this extraordinarily large amount of dermal filler, there was no visible improvement in the lift of the face.
Dr Gavin Chan explains there’s been another trend over the last few years to inject fillers under the suspending ligaments of your face. This dermal filler technique is hard to administer as it’s difficult to know where a patient’s suspending ligaments are. From seeing this procedure firsthand, Dr Gavin Chan couldn’t see any change in the patient’s appearance.
Dr Gavin Chan notes, “adding more dermal filler to your face won’t give it the lift you desire. It will only result in your face looking like it’s swollen with dermal fillers. The best treatment for lifting your face and treating your marionette lines is to have facelift surgery.”
3 Dermal fillers will not replace lost volume in all of your face
The third limitation of dermal fillers is the belief they can experience all the lost volume in your face. This can occur as a natural part of the ageing process if you exercise a lot or are quite slim. If you were to have dermal filler treatment to address this issue, it would be prohibitive in terms of cost and would be a major non-surgical procedure.
Dr Gavin Chan explains the best option for these types of patients is to have a Facial Fat Transfer procedure. This surgical procedure involved harvesting fat from your abdomen, hips or thighs and transferring it to your face. Performed under general anaesthetic, this is a very effective way to add volume to your face.
4 Dermal fillers will not fix your unrealistic expectations
When patients have dermal filler treatments, they can develop unrealistic expectations of what they should look like. Striving for perfection and over scrutinizing your appearance can result in a desire to get more dermal fillers. Getting more fillers won’t create the perfection you’re aspiring to though; your face will only look puffy and unnatural. This is why it’s important to consult with experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses as they’ll guide you and advise what can and can’t be achieved with your dermal filler treatment.
They’ll also remind you that dermal fillers are only one treatment option available to rejuvenate your face. For the last 15 years Dr Gavin Chan and his team of highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic have been successfully treating patients with dermal fillers to transform their faces.
Where to get the best dermal filler treatment in Melbourne
Dr Gavin Chan recommends that you conduct thorough research before your dermal filler treatment. He cautions that dermal fillers are only one treatment method to reduce the signs of ageing. Other treatments that may be more effective include laser skin treatments using the Erbium or Carbon Dioxide laser, facial fat transfer surgery or facelift surgery. It’s also important to attend a reputable medical clinic who have highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses performing dermal filler treatment. With more clinics offering cut-price dermal filler treatment Dr Gavin Chan suggests you ask the following questions before booking an appointment:
- What training and experience do the staff have?
- Does the clinic have before and after photos of their patients?
- If you don’t like the dermal filler treatment result, do the staff know how to dissolve the dermal fillers?
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