Which “Filler” to Use: Restylane, Radiesse or Sculptra?
There are many injectable “fillers” that have FDA approval, each having a special use in diminishing wrinkles and furrows.
What is Restylane?
Since its FDA approval in December 2003, Restylane has become the most popular wrinkle-filling injectable treatment in the United States. Restylane is used mainly for superficial wrinkles and has almost entirely replaced older collagen treatments. Unlike bovine collagen (obtained from cows), Restylane is a pure natural substance called hyaluronic acid. It is not derived from animals and is produced in a laboratory environment.
Restylane is identical to human hyaluronic acid, so no allergy testing is required (as it is with the use of bovine collagen). Restylane is clear and is thus generally not visible after it is used to smooth superficial skin wrinkles. The improvement in wrinkles after Restylane injection can last a year or more. Studies have even shown that Restylane stimulates natural collagen production in the skin, an effect that can be long-lasting. Juvederm, another filler composed of hyaluronic acid, is very similar to Restylane and is used in the same way.
Two additional injectable “fillers” that have FDA approval are Radiesse and Sculptra. Radiesse is best used for deeper furrows, such as the fold that runs from the lower nose toward the corner of the mouth. Radiesse can also be used to augment volume over cheek bones and along the jaw line and to fill in hollow areas of the cheek.
What is Radiesse?
Like Restylane, Radiesse is a natural substance (calcium hydroxylapatite) and is identical to the mineral content of human bone. Thus, no allergy testing is needed. Radiesse is also produced in a laboratory environment and is thus not derived from animals. The biggest advantage of Radiesse is its longevity; improvement may be visible for up to three years.
Another newer injectable is Sculptra, a polymerized form of lactic acid (a product of sugarcane). Lactic acid polymers have been used for many years to produce absorbable surgical sutures (stitches), which gradually dissolve.
What is Sculptra?
Sculptra is a suspension of small particles of the material; when injected just beneath the skin, Sculptra stimulates production of collagen as it dissolves, adding extra volume to the cheek. Sculptra is usually given in a series of two or three treatments, each spaced several weeks apart. The volume augmentation can take two or more months to be fully evident. The treatment effects are more than additive in that the second and especially the third treatment sessions result in more volume augmentation than the first.
Each of these three filler materials has an optimal application. Restylane is ideal for filling in superficial-to-moderate wrinkles. Radiesse is well suited for filling in deeper furrows and can be used to add volume to hollow areas of the face. Radiesse can also add volume to the cheek bone, chin and jaw line areas. Sculptra works at an even deeper level and can be used as a non-surgical alternative to augmentation using the patient’s own fat tissue (lipo-augmentation). Dr. Langdonhas extensive experience with all three fillers and can discuss with you how they can be used non-surgically to improve facial wrinkles and furrows.
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