Filler injection is a cosmetic treatment to smooth wrinkles or pitted scars in the skin, usually on the face. They are also used to make the lips fuller. When injected under the skin, a filler raises or puffs up that area. This usually goes away over time. There are many kinds of injectable fillers, including:

  • Human collagen made in a lab (CosmoDerm, CosmoPlast).
  • Hyaluronic acid (Restylane, Juvederm, Captique). The hyaluronic acid draws fluid to the treated area.
  • Bovine collagen (Zyplast, Zyderm). You need an allergy test 4 weeks before treatment.
  • Human collagen from human tissue (Cymetra).
  • Fat cells harvested from your body (autologous fat).
  • Man-made biodegradable polymer (Sculptra).
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse).
  • Microscopic plastic beads and bovine collagen (Artefill). The plastic beads are made of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The collagen goes away over time, but the plastic beads remain under the skin permanently.

Talk to your health care professional when deciding which treatment is right for you. For some fillers, your skin is first numbed with a local anesthetic. (Collagen fillers have a numbing medicine mixed in with them.) Then a needle is used to inject the filler under the skin. The treatment session takes about 15 minutes. Some fillers are done in repeat sessions a couple of weeks apart.


What to expect after treatment?

After filler injection, expect some pain, redness, swelling, and possibly itching. Swelling may last up to 36 hours. If symptoms start to get worse 1 to 3 days after the treatment, call your doctor-you may be getting an infection.

How well does it work?

Depending on the area being treated and your body’s reaction to the filler, you may have to repeat filler treatment one or more times. Different fillers last different lengths of time. Slowly, your body absorbs the filler. This makes the skin go back to its normal state. As with all cosmetic procedures, the results may or may not be quite what you hoped for.