By Cooper Scurry, M.D.
The modern era of surgery has ‘searched the body over’ for ways to achieve excellent results with less invasive procedures. We live in an era when many major operations have become more like video games than traditional surgery. This movement has also affected the world of cosmetic procedures. Currently millions of dollars are being spent each year for cosmetic procedures with minimal pain and downtime. Many products are available which can be injected into the face either to paralyze the wrinkle-causing muscles and smooth skin, or to fill in areas of the face which have other wrinkles or folds. While there are certainly pros and cons to each of these procedures, each provide quite an exciting effect.
The two categories of facial injectable products include paralytics, and fillers. Botox® Cosmetic is the most widely recognized injectable and it acts by paralyzing the muscles of the face which cause certain wrinkles. Facial wrinkles almost always lie perpendicular to the deep muscles of the face. For example, the horizontal wrinkles which develop across the forehead actually lie perpendicular to the course of the forehead or ‘frontalis’ muscle. By temporarily paralyzing this muscle, the wrinkles of the skin overlying this muscle become smoothed. Botox® was originally conceived for medical use by an ophthalmologist to treat the muscles of the eye leading to the condition of “crossed eyes.” Soon thereafter, physicians began applying this medicine for cosmetic purposes. Botox® was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002. Botox® now has many other medical uses, some FDA approved, and many other ‘off-label’ but dramatically effective applications. A new paralyzing agent, Dysport®, used in Europe for many years and produced by the makers of Restylane®, has recently emerged in U.S. markets. The makers of Dysport® are claiming that this product may have a quicker onset-of-action and a longer duration-of-action.
The second category of facial injectable products consists of the very broad category of ‘facial fillers.’ While there are many substances currently being used as facial fillers including calcium hydroxylapatite, poly-L-lactic acid, and polyacrylamide, hyaluronic acid (HA) is the most common. Many companies have created versions of HA and two of these products are Restylane® and Juvederm®. In short, HA is a naturally occurring substance in the skin which helps to provide fullness and elasticity. HA fillers work by simply replacing lost volume in the skin as the skin ages. Officially, this filler is recommended for the folds that occur between the nose and corners of the mouth; however, unofficially, HA is being used all over the face to replace lost volume and rejuvenate the face.
Pros and/or Cons
Listed below are some of the facts about facial injectables.
- All of these products are temporary. Some even consider these products to be ‘a short term cure for a long term problem.’ Fortunately, there is little down-time and near instant gratification with these types of procedures.
- Injectable procedures can be performed immediately in an office setting. Topical anesthetics can be and are often applied before the injection takes place. Minimal bruising, swelling, and redness can occur for a brief time after an injection.
- Facial injectables are great for special occasions such as reunions, birthdays, weddings or vacations. Procedures should take place approximately one week before such an event for best results.
- These products have great applications for patient’s of all ages. The two categories of injectable products can certainly be used in combination with each other.
Naturally, there are many truths and myths about the wide variety of facial plastic surgery products and procedures currently available to the consumer. No doubt the best way to learn about these products is to sit down with your doctor and ask a few questions.
Dr. Scurry is a Winston-Salem native, and a graduate of: Reynolds High School, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest’s School of Medicine, Penn State’s Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency, and a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
To schedule a consult with Dr. Scurry please contact us at:
PENTA Facial Plastic Surgery Center
110 Charlois Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27103