Dr. F. Victor Rueckl, Lakes Dermatology Announced Today That Dermal Fillers Should Be Called "Liquid Facelifts" But In the Wrong Hands Can Produce Undesirable Effects

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Injecting fillers into your face can produce amazing or awful results. Beware of deals that sound too good to be true.

Fillers can be effective for plumping lips, but in the wrong hands...

Dermal fillers have been called "liquid facelifts" because they offer many of the benefits of a surgical facelift without the downtime.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, dermal fillers are the fastest growing, minimally invasive procedure one can have to diminish the effects of aging.

If you'd like to restore youthful fullness to your face, plump lips, enhance shallow contours or soften those facial creases and wrinkles, dermal fillers may be the answer. Dermal fillers have been called "liquid facelifts" because they offer many of the benefits of a surgical facelift without the downtime.

Although they can't help with excess sagging skin, these soft tissue fillers can add more volume and provide immediate results at a lower cost than surgery. These treatments aren't permanent, however, and they must be repeated and maintained. And some people need to use fillers more often due to their metabolism and other factors.

Some dermal fillers are used in conjunction with other skin rejuvenation treatments such as injections of botulinum toxin (Botox).

"I've seen some really poorly injected fillers that have migrated to locations near the intended spot and it gives a lumpy appearance instead of an anti-aging procedure", states Dr. F. Victor Rueckl of Lakes Dermatology in Las Vegas. "If you're thinking about having your lips plumped, nasolabial folds (the parenthesis beside your nose to your mouth), you'll want to work with a physician who has been injecting these materials for years. Many women and men just trust that the nurse or injector at a spa understand the subtleties of these drugs and candidly, they are helping me build my business with all the bad work they've done. I am one of the top injectors of fillers and Botox in Las Vegas. In the right hands, these fillers are amazing."

Here's how they work

Wrinkle fillers can be divided into two categories: Temporary and Semi-Permanent.

Human fat, also known as autologous fat, is harvested from one's own body. Using one's own fat requires a more extensive procedure than other injectable fillers because one must first must undergo liposuction to extract the fat prior to injection. One eliminates the risk of allergic reaction or rejection by the body by using fat from one's own body. Not all of the live fat cells survive when transplanted into a new site. One can expect a fairly high rate of re-absorption. Because of this, doctors will likely overfill the area being treated. At first the patient might look abnormal, but it soon settles, creating the desired effect. Interestingly, most natural fat can be stored for touch-ups. This procedure should only be performed by board certified plastic surgeons.

Collagen is a natural substance known as a protein, and the main component in cartilage, teeth and bones. It is derived either from human skin or cows (known as bovine collagen). Brand names include: CosmoDerm, Cosmoplast, Zyderm, Zyplast. "We don't like using Collagen in our practice as too many people seem to have allergic reactions, so we don't recommend it," said Rueckl.

As eerie as it sounds, human cadaveric dermis is skin that's cultivated from a cadaver, then injected into the patient's face. This substance results in particularly impressive filling of facial hollows. Brand names include: Cymetra, Dermalogen, Fascian. "Once again, with the current technology that's available, I wouldn't bother using these products," stated Rueckl.

Hyaluronic acid is also a natural substance found in one's body. High concentrations are found in soft connective tissue and in the fluid surrounding a patient's eyes. It's also in some cartilage and joint fluids, as well as skin tissue. If the name sounds familiar, it's because the same substance is often injected into the aching joints of people with arthritis to ease pain by providing extra cushioning. Hyaluronic acid is not derived from animal sources. Brand names include: Captique, Esthélis, Elevess, Hylaform, Juvéderm, Perlane, Prevelle, Puragen and Restylane. "We have had tremendous results with many of these products and depending upon the need, say lips, we use Restylane because it seems to last longer for most of my patients," continued Rueckl.

Calcium hydroxylapatite, the heaviest of facial fillers, is found naturally in human bones. This mineral-like compound is reserved to fill the deepest creases such as nasolabial folds, marionette lines and frown lines. Calcium-based microspheres are suspended in a water-based gel. Brand names include: Radiesse, Radiance. It's also used to enhance fullness of the cheeks and other facial contours. "I have been injecting many of my patients on their cheekbones, restoring the fullness they once had as younger adults and the results are astounding and seem to last a long time too," Rueckl said.

Polylactic acid is a synthetic material. When it is injected, it stimulates the body's own production of collagen. This substance is known to work particularly well in the lower half of one's face to fill the lines caused by laughing, to augment thin lips and fill out deep nasolabial folds. This substance is unlike other dermal fillers because it doesn't produce immediate results. Instead, it stimulates collagen production, so results appear gradually over a period of a few months. Brand names include: Sculptra, New-Fill.


PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) fillers contain about 20 percent of tiny PMMA microspheres that are suspended in 80 percent purified collagen gel. This substance, considered semi-permanent, can be removed. PMMA is most often used to treat medium-to-deep wrinkles, folds and furrows, particularly nasolabial folds. It can also be used to fill out pitted scars and to augment thin lips. PMMA has been used for many years in permanent surgical implants. Because of this, a surgeon will likely under-fill on the first treatment, adding more later if needed. Brand names include: Articol, Artefill, Metacrill.

So before a patient decides to filler up, so to speak, they should conduct research, interview several physicians before moving forward. "We change people's lives and views of themselves with one visit. That's what brings us so much joy in this business. We give people back their youth. I can't think of a better job!"

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Katie Rueckl

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