The Liquid Facelift: FAQs with a Facial Plastic Surgeon

In Birmingham, AL

By Blake Raggio MD

woman receiving filler injectable | Raggio Facial Plastic Surgery

Published on May 2023

The Liquid Facelift: FAQs with a Facial Plastic Surgeon

Last month we discussed the nuances of botulinum. toxin (e.g., Botox) and its powerful role in facial rejuvenation. This month we will discuss a similarly popular anti- aging modality, dermal fillers, and the associated “liquid facelift.” By the end of this article, I hope you will appreciate why the instant results, quick treatment time, and minimal downtime make facial fillers so appealing for those seeking a non-surgical option for facial rejuvenation.

First, tell me what exactly are Facial Fillers?
Facial fillers, herein referred to as “fillers,” represent a variety of FDA-approved products that can be used to restore a more youthful look to the face. Whilst a multitude of filler types exist, they can most easily be categorized by the substance they are made from: Hyaluronic Acid (HA), Calcium Hydroxylapatite, Poly-L-lactic Acid, Polymethylmethacrylate, and autologous fat injections. Nowadays, the HA-type fillers represent the safest and most reliable filler options (note: they can be dissolved), with the most notable brands including Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero, RHA, and Versa.

So, what is a “Liquid Facelift”?
The term “liquid facelift” reers to the use of fillers to fill hollows and depressions associated with age-related volume loss. Because fillers vary in their ability to absorb water, stimulate collagen, and “lift” surrounding tissues, they can often be used to mimic the results of a traditional facelift, thus the term “liquid facelift.” Age-related problem areas typically addressed include a depressed forehead, hollowed temples, sunken eyes, deflated midface/cheeks, lines around the nose and mouth, decreased lip plump or pout, recessed chin, poorly defined jawline, jowls, and prominent neck creases. A more experienced injector may even utilize filler for reshaping the nose, coined “liquid rhinoplasty.” Combining such treatments with botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox) further augments the results. NOTE: Some of these treatments may be considered “off-label,” so please consult with a credentialed physicion well-versed in facial anatomy and the various filler options available.

What happens during a Filler treatment?
For most people, filler injections are a quick in-office procedure (30-60 minutes) associated with minimal discomfort. In short, the area is cleansed, marked, and the filler of choice is precisely placed into the target area using a very fine needle or blunt- tipped cannula. For those concerned about discomfort, you may be relieved to hear that most filler preparations come pre-mixed with lidocaine. It may also help to find an injector who offers ancillary measures to maximize your comfort, which include vibration devices, ice, or topical and/or regional anesthesia.

How soon will I see the results of Filler treatment, and how long does it last?
The beautiful thing about filler is that results are often immediate! Final results, however, typically take 2-3 weeks to “settle” but can vary depending on the product used, amount injected, and any associated swelling. Results last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, but ultimately depend on a variety of factors including the product, the area injected, and the patient’s intrinsic factors (e.g., age, weight, etc.). Repeated “maintenance” injections every 12-18 months will help patients sustain their results for a longer period, sometimes requiring less amount of product during subsequent visits.

Is Filler safe?
YES! Fillers for cosmetic use have an extremely high safety profile with minimal and temporary side effects including bruising, swelling, redness, or tenderness to the injection site. You may be prescribed a medicine, such as a steroid or an antihistamine, to lessen the chance of such reactions. Rare but serious adverse events have been reported and may include
skin necrosis, stroke, and blindness. It is also recommended to avoid treatment within 2 weeks of being sick, having dental work, or receiving a vaccine. Nevertheless, injectable fillers represent a safe and powerful tool for facial rejuvenation in the hands of an experienced injector.

What is the cost of Filler?
One syringe of filler (1 ml) may cost anywhere between $400-900, usually enough for 1 treatment area (e.g., lips, chin, cheeks, tear troughs). It is not uncommon, however, to receive 2-5 syringes per session, depending on your aesthetic goals. A word of advice: beware of injectors offering heavy discounts. Although more experienced injectors will likely require more of an investment financially, you must remember that you are not just paying for the product, but rather the skill and expertise of the injector as well. To that effect, more experienced injectors often utilize less product to obtain the desired result. In the end, a lower cost does not always equate to a better deal (or result!). In short, remember the adage “you get what you pay for.” After all, it is your face we’re talking about.

When should I start getting Filler?
There is no right or wrong age to begin filler treatments, but rather any person with signs of facial aging wishing to refresh their appearance would likely be a good candidate. The first step involves finding a reputable and experienced injector with intimate knowledge of facial anatomy who can offer you a customized treatment plan (surgical and non-surgical) based on your aesthetic goals.

As always, choose a surgeon whom you trust. There are few things more important than the relationship you have with your doctor.
In Good Health,

Blake Raggio, M.D
Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Patient reviews

  • Torrey

    5 Star Review

    I am a week post-op from my cosmetic rhinoplasty with Dr. Blake Raggio, a Facial Plastic Surgeon here in Birmingham, Alabama. I just had my cast removed today and I could not be happier with my results already!

  • Jessica

    5 Star Review

    Thank you, Dr. Blake Raggio, for the excellent work on my nose. The Rhinoplasty to correct the deviated septum and nostril closure went so smoothly. My breathing has improved and the before and after pictures were amazing. Your knowledge and skills improved my health and facial profile.

  • Pamela

    5 Star Review

    Dr. Blake Raggio is an amazing Facial Plastic Surgeon. I am one week out from having my
    Blepharoplasty and Browlift and could not be more pleased. Not only is he a talented Facial Plastic Surgeon he also has a wonderful bedside manner.

  • Elizabeth

    5 Star Review

    Dr. Raggio and staff get an A+ for their superb care! From the time you walk in the door to the time you leave, you will be treated like family! Best of all you’ll leave looking younger and feeling good! You can’t beat the care and compassion from Dr Raggio and his staff!

  • Chelsea

    5 Star Review

    Dr. Raggio is the absolute best! He listens and is very precise with his injections. I am extremely happy with the results I have gotten with him. He does not push any services on you, either. I have uploaded two pictures to show the difference. I get Botox and lip filler.

  • Sheila

    5 Star Review

    I went to Dr Reggio for my eyelids. They were folding over. I was scared to have the surgery but the right eye was bothering me. So I decided to have the surgery and this Doctor is such a delight and kind-hearted. I am very, very happy with the way my surgery turned out. I would highly recommend Dr. Raggio to anyone!

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