Soft tissue injections

background

Soft tissue fillers are injected underneath the skin as a cosmetic procedure to reduce lines and wrinkles, usually on the face. Fillers are usually used on the face because lines and wrinkles are usually the most visible on this part of the body. After the procedure, these fillers thereby give the skin a smoother appearance.
The soft tissue fillers that are injected under the skin take one of two forms: collagen or fat.
The collagen used as a soft tissue filler may be derived from the body tissue of a cow or from human cells and some of these fillers are synthetic. The fat used as a soft tissue filler is taken from another part of the patient's own body and injected into the desired site.
Soft tissue injections are most often applied to the face. Wrinkle lines most often appear in areas where the most muscle movement occurs. For this reason, the areas treated with collagen injections are the forehead and around the eyes and mouth.
The effects of injectable fillers are not usually permanent, and it is difficult to predict how long the collagen or fat will remain at the site before being metabolized by the body. Reabsorption depends on factors such as age and genetics. For this reason, some individuals choose to have soft tissue fillers injected into their skin on multiple occasions.

Related Terms

Injectable fillers, injectable collagen, injectable fat, soft tissue fillers.

procedure

Before the procedure, an individual arranges an appointment with a plastic surgeon. The individual discusses cosmetic concerns with the doctor, and the doctor discusses treatment options. Based on the patient's skin and the area where the procedure will be performed, the doctor and patient choose the type and brand of filler that will be injected into the skin. If soft tissue injections are decided upon as a treatment, then the patient makes an appointment for the actual procedure.
Soft tissue injections are usually performed at a doctor's office. However, if the soft tissue procedure is combined with a more surgically invasive procedure, such as a facelift, the patient may have the injections performed at a hospital.
Collagen injections: Some patients are allergic to the collagen used in soft tissue injections. In order to screen for this allergy, the doctor injects the patient with a very small amount of collagen three to four weeks prior to the scheduled procedure. Patients who experience an allergic reaction are not able to have all of the desired areas of their body treated with the soft tissue injections.
The collagen used in soft tissue injections is available in several different brands. A painkiller called lidocaine is usually mixed into the collagen. However, some doctors also apply a painkiller to the surface of the skin as well. The doctor injects the collagen into several places along the undesired wrinkles or lines. The patient may feel some stinging or burning around the area. The doctor may put a pre-determined amount of collagen into each area; however, in some cases, the patient holds a hand mirror and tells the doctor when to stop injecting collagen. Some individuals have swelling, itching or reddening at the injection site for up to a week after the procedure.
Fat injections: This type of soft tissue injection takes fat from one part of the body and transfers small amounts of it underneath the facial skin. Typically, this fat is taken from the thighs, buttocks or stomach; this is called the donor site. The fat is removed using a very large needle attached to a liposuction machine. The fat from the donor site is then cleaned of impurities and injected into the face using a much smaller needle. The area receiving the fat that came from the donor site is called the recipient site. Both of these sites are numbed before the procedure begins. If a patient chooses sedative drugs to feel drowsy during the procedure, then they are required to arrange for a friend or family member to return them home after the procedure. The doctor typically injects more fat than what may seem necessary into the face because the body slowly absorbs its own fat after the procedure. Some swelling, redness and bruising is common at either or both the donor and injection sites.