9 Questions to Ask Before Getting Dermal Fillers

Written by Malini Fowler, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on August 2, 2022 One Comment

popular dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are a relatively quick and non-invasive cosmetic treatment with the ability to instantly rejuvenate the skin. In the hands of an experienced injector, fillers can help smooth skin, plump lips and cheeks, correct hollowness (resulting from volume loss), and eradicate even the deepest lines and wrinkles.

Before undergoing a filler treatment, however, it’s best to understand what to expect, how to properly maintain results, and if there are any possible risks. The following is a list of simple questions to ask their potential provider before getting dermal fillers.

Do I Need Filler or A Neurotoxin Like Botox?

While both dermal fillers and Botox address lines and wrinkles, they work in different ways. The best treatment options for each patient depends on the underlying cause of their wrinkles as well as their desired end results.

Botox is a neurotoxin. It smooths dynamic wrinkles and helps prevent static ones by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause them. It works best for dynamic wrinkles like crow’s feet, 11 lines and forehead wrinkles.

Dermal fillers inject a gel-like substance underneath your skin to smooth static wrinkles by filling them. Ideal for static wrinkles, filler can also plump lips and cheeks or help minimize nasolabial folds and marionette lines.

Is The Injector Medically Qualified?

While dermal fillers are available at medical spas, it’s safest to visit a board-certified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist for treatment. Board-certification means your doctor has received extensive training in their area of expertise, updated every few years.

A certified, experienced provider will be well-versed in the latest products and injection techniques in addition to having a thorough understanding of facial anatomy. A skilled injector will offer natural-looking results that most closely meet your expectations, while minimizing risk. They will avoid overfilling which can leave some people looking “overdone” as well as minimize bruising, swelling, and other unwanted side effects.

How Do I Know Which Filler I Should Get?

Before deciding on your own, ask for a consultation with your potential injector. Explain your expectations and let them help you design the most effective treatment plan. In many cases, they may combine fillers for the most natural-looking results.

Dermal fillers are classified by the FDA into four main types, based on the material each is made of. The most common type of filler used today is made with hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a substance which exists naturally in the skin. It attracts and holds water for plumpness and promotes collagen production for structure. Each particular brand of hyaluronic acid filler comes in varying consistencies, with different amounts of active ingredient. A single line of fillers will offer a range of thicker consistencies for creating volume, and thinner consistencies to address fine lines.

The best injectors will be familiar with the different types of filler and all their variations, and will create a treatment plan that’s best for you.

How Long Will It Take to Recover?

The great thing about dermal fillers is that there’s little to no downtime needed after the quick, in-office procedure. Bruising and swelling generally subside within a week, and you can return to work immediately.

If you have an important, major event coming up you may want to ‘test’ your look up to 6 months prior. If the results aren’t what you expected, this gives them time to fade or allows time for a touch-up.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks?

Fillers have been proven to be safe, especially when administered by an experienced injector. Most people will experience an extremely short recovery period. Common side effects of dermal fillers include swelling, bruising, or redness at the injection site. This typically resolves on its own within 1-2 weeks.

Less common side effects include bleeding at the injection site, infection, or raised bumps or lumps under the skin.

Very rare side effects include the complications that arise if filler is accidentally injected into the bloodstream. This can lead to blurred vision or blindness if it occurs near your eyes. Visiting an experienced, board-certified injector minimizes the above risks.

Can I Afford Ongoing Maintenance? 

The results of dermal fillers are not permanent. Most hyaluronic acid fillers last approximately 6 months to 1 year, as the natural substance is slowly reabsorbed by the body. If you love your look and you’d like to maintain it, you’ll need touch-up appointments, potentially once or twice a year.

On the other hand, if you’re not happy with your results, you can rest assured they will fade.

Keep in mind that dermal fillers do not prevent natural aging. As your skin loses elasticity and volume, you’ll need more filler to maintain the same look.

Do I Have Realistic Expectations?

Dermal fillers smooth or plump skin by adding volume where needed. That said, their ability to completely recontour the face is limited. Plus, they’re not approved for body contouring at all.

If you’re seeking more dramatic change, you may need a treatment plan that includes more than dermal fillers alone. Talk to your injector about the specific results you are looking for. Also be open to any advice they give, including alternate procedures.

What Should I Do to Prepare for My Injections?

The week prior to your injections, refrain from taking ibuprofen or aspirin, vitamin E or fish oil. This helps minimize bruising and bleeding. Make sure your doctor understands which, if any, prescription medications you’re currently taking. Here’s more on what to do before and after your treatment.

Is This Filler Deal Too Good to Be True?

If you see a deal for dermal fillers that seems too good to be true, it probably is. The Botox or filler could be fake! The average cost of a single syringe of dermal filler ranges from $500 to 800. It’s not safe to split syringes between patients and most patients need more than one syringe to achieve their results.

A reputable provider is simply unable to offer deep discounts or deals that fall well below these prices. Also, they will never provide services outside of a safe and sterile medical facility. Trust your instincts and be skeptical of offers that don’t seem right. Inexperienced injectors often botch their patients, either providing bad results or even worse: leaving the patient with unwanted side effects. If that filler deal is too good to be true, it probably is!

Malini Fowler, MD

Dr. Malini Fowler is a Board Certified Dermatologist that completed her undergraduate studies and graduated summa cum laude from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Fowler enjoys providing medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology at our new San Antonio office.

One Response to “9 Questions to Ask Before Getting Dermal Fillers”

  1. Avatar Victoria says:

    The touch ups are well worth it, I can attest to that 🙂

Leave a Reply