Growing array of filler options changes dermatologists' treatment techniques

February 1, 2012

Beginning in 2003, with approval of human collagen and in the following years the introduction of products containing hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, poly-L-lactic acid and more, it's no surprise that fillers have taken on an ever-increasing role in aesthetic dermatology. On Call wondered whether dermatologists' treatment techniques have changed as a result of the growing array of product options, and if so, how.

Key Points

On Call wondered whether dermatologists' treatment techniques have changed as a result of the growing array of product options, and if so, how. Ultimately, whether they do many cosmetic procedures or just a few, all dermatologists interviewed for this column voiced a common goal - a more natural-looking result.

A different approach

"We've been going from filling lines to creating volume, instead of trying to make individual lines go away, which is how we started," he says. "Doctors are now trying to smooth out the entire face.

Dr. Heimer says he's made some changes in technique that advance the goal of adding to facial volume.

"I've moved away from using needles and am using primarily cannulas," he says. "They're blunt-tipped cannulas, which allow us to move tissue without intersecting the blood vessels and nerves. You also have more control of subtle placement throughout the entire face, so you can do the eyelids, the eyebrows, the dimple area, the lateral face and jawline."

As doctors gain confidence and improve techniques, patients' satisfaction also grows, Dr. Heimer says.

"It's a quantum leap. It's not just a little bit better - it's a significant improvement in patient satisfaction," he says. "Also, the pain is a lot less, and that's always important."