All patients want their dermal filler to last for a long time. I know there is significant cost, time spent in the office, and some discomfort with getting injectables. Marketing terms and different types of dermal fillers only add confusion to the mix!

The bottom line: the chemical content of your filler and where it is placed in your face or body will make a difference in how long your dermal filler results last.

Type of Filler

There are various chemicals that are used in dermal fillers. The most common chemical in the world is Hyaluronic Acid (HA). It’s versatile, can be melted, and comes in different formulations for different areas of the face. 

Calcium Hydroxyapetite is the chemical in Radiesse, and is usually used in areas that need more structure and support. The only downside is that it can not be easily melted.

Poly-L-lactic acid is the chemical in Sculptra, and is usually used in areas that need more structure and support. It also can not be easily melted.

PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) is the chemical in Bellafill, and can be used in areas of acne scarring as well as elsewhere in the face. This is difficult to melt as well.

What Affects How Long Fillers Last

There is a difference between the FDA labels regarding the duration of each product. HA fillers typically last 6-18 months, and other chemical dermal fillers last anywhere from 12-60 months.

Why? Your body should eventually absorb dermal fillers, and HA absorbs faster than other chemicals. If your HA filler has more crosslinking, then it will not absorb as quickly. Any filler placed in facial areas with more movement, such as your lips, will absorb faster.                     

Even if the FDA label clearly states your filler will last 12 months, if placed in your lips and close to areas of more movement, your filler may only last 10 or 11 months. The opposite is also true. If the same filler is placed in an area of your face with little movement, such as the nose or lower eyelid area, it may last much longer than 12 months. 

Why don’t I recommend using the longest lasting filler in all facial locations?  Well, dermal fillers that last longer are usually thicker, more robust, and give more support. This is fantastic for the cheek, jawline, or nose areas. This is not good at all for the lower eyelid or lip areas. The correct choice of dermal filler will ensure that you will not see or feel the filler after placement. 

It would be great if there is a soft filer that you can’t feel, that gives tons of structural support, and lasts forever. Unfortunately, such a product does not exist yet!

Movement Is The Enemy

Facial movement is the enemy of dermal filler longevity! Everyone is different, so how quickly you metabolize dermal filler is based on your body, as well as the type of dermal filler used and where it is placed.

So, any dermal filler placed in your lips or around your mouth will not last as long as the identical dermal filler placed in an area of your face with less movement, such as your cheek or nose area. Even if a dermal filler has shown to the FDA it will last 12 months, if dermal filler is placed in a more mobile area, it will last a little shorter than 12 months.  

Conclusion

Although fillers are regulated by the FDA, the specific chemical type of dermal filler, where it is placed in your face, and your own metabolism affects how long your results will last. 

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