Facials fillers offer alternative to plastic surgery

CHICAGO But there's a lot for consumers to consider including a brand new injectable.

Facial fillers are now stealing the limelight from the traditional facelift. They offer the chance to freshen up your look with just a few injections.

There's a lot to choose from and even as manufacturers are creating newer, improved products. Some doctors are wondering if we really know enough about the long term effects of some products.

"I'd do more like a circular like this way and this way." They're trying to put back what time, and nature have taken away. For image conscious Americans, such as 45-year-old Michele Fonte, fillers are a more attractive option.

"It was such a good result, it was worth it for me," said Fonte, facial filler patient.

So instead of tightening up the loose skin, you're filling it out.

There are so many products to choose from but the latest is creating a buzz.

"It seems to be one of these too good to be true products," said Dr. Jonith Breadon, dermatologist, Aesthetic Dermatology.

It's called Evolence. Chicago dermatologist Jonith Breadon is paid by the manufacturer to train other dermatologists how to use it.

It's a modified collagen-based filler that promises less bruising, fewer allergic reactions, and results from six months to possibly one year, compared to other collagen fillers that only last a couple months.

"To have something that gives you good support and structure and will last a long time this is what they were looking for in terms of the ideal filler," said Breadon.

But when it comes to fillers, does one size fit all?.

Experts tell ABC7 it's unlikely. Different fillers do different things.

"Some are thinner some are thicker and some go in certain kinds of wrinkles at certain depths some are higher or lower in the skin," said Dr. Murad Alam, dermatologist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Murad Alam says it depends on a patients' needs. Consider time, money and what you want the end result to be.

Many people choose collagen because it has a natural feel.

But then there's the allure of fillers made of hyaluronic acids.

"It's a sugary kind of paste that is similar to substance the already occurs in the body so your skin knows what it is," said Alam.

Hyaluronic acids are very popular. The public may have heard of Restylane and Juvederm to name a few. They last longer than traditional collagen injections.

Fillers with other type of materials may last a year or longer. Those include names such as Radiesse and Sculptra.

And then there's Artefill, a permanent filler that is not reabsorbed by the body.

Whatever you choose, there are no guarantees. That's what Muriel Walter found out .

"It can lump up, become lumpy," said Walter, facial filler patient

Hyaluronic acid injected on the right side of her face formed a bump. Luckily, the doctor was able to smooth most of it out. The rest will eventually fade away.

Muriel isn't worried. She's now trying different products.

"I'm very open about it it's a great alternative to a face lift," said Walter.

For the most part, doctors believe fillers approved by the FDA are safe and effective if used correctly.

But there are questions about long term effects.

A case in the archives of dermatology details how a women taking an anti-viral medication developed a severe reaction to a filler she used in her face 10 years earlier. That filler is not approved in the United States.

Arnold Klein is an outspoken Beverly Hills dermatologist who also gets paid for work he does with a company that manufacturers Restylane. He believe Restylane is safe but is concerned there hasn't been enough rigorous testing of other fillers.

"My biggest concern is they cause permanent problems," said Klein.

Dr. Klein also worries the FDA hasn't required enough research to prove the long term safety of some products.

"We must understand the science of the filler under the skin, how it behaves long term after we inject it," said Klein.

All the FDA will say is that it has set up a special team to specifically review issues related to dermal fillers.

In the meantime dermatologists believe fillers are here to stay as long as there is a demand.

Even though they are just injections, some patients tells us the shots can be uncomfortable.

As for cost, treatments can run anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand.

For information, visit the following Web sites:

  • foodconsumer.org/7777/8888/L_ifestyle/062603552008_Wrinkle_Relief_Injectable_Cosmetic_Fillers.shtml
  • www.aad.org/media/background/news/cosmetic_2007_07_25_consumer.html
  • www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/index.html
  • www.aad.org/media/background/news/cosmetic_2006_07_28_plump.html
  • www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/cosmetic_softtissue.html
  • www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfTopic/consumer/index.cfm?topic=1038
  • Dr. Jonith Breadon
    Aesthetic Dermatology and Laser Surgery
    1009 W. Fulton
    Chicago, Il

    Dr. Murad Alam
    Northwestern Memorial Hospital
    676 N. Saint Clair
    Chicago, Il.

    Dr. Arnold W. Klein
    435 N. Roxbury Dr.
    Suite 204
    Beverly Hills, CA

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