The treatments available at non-surgical skin clinics can provide very useful alternatives to plastic surgery or other invasive kinds of skin treatment. Although the practitioners at non-surgical skin clinics are often certified plastic surgeons, treatments typically offered at such clinics do not involve the use of facial surgery. It is fairly common however, for non-surgical techniques to be used in tandem with plastic surgery to enhance results.
Reasons to consider treatment at a non-surgical skin clinic might be to improve sun-damaged skin or skin showing the effects of smoking or natural aging. Treatments are also available for a variety of other reasons, including treatment for baldness, cosmetic appearance for the lips, dermal fillers to reduce facial lines, treatment for active cases of acne, skin rejuvenation, cellulite and fat removal, remediation of facial scars, stimulation of hair regrowth, and cosmetic rejuvenation of rings under the eyes.
This discussion will focus on just one of these kinds of treatments, dermal fillers.
The dermal filler procedure
Dermal fillers are a kind of skin treatment that involves the injection of material into the skin for the purpose of filling in wrinkles and scars to improve facial appearance. The material injected is a clear gel made of hyaluronic acid, which is formulated to act very much like the body’s naturally produced hyaluronic acid.
Areas typically addressed by this kind of procedure might be the lips, where increased volume can be added to increase fullness and produce subtle re-shaping. Cheeks are another commonly addressed area, where contouring can add volume and re-shaping of the facial structure. Dermal fillers are also sometimes useful beneath the eyes, in the area commonly referred to as the ‘tear troughs’, for the purpose of filling in the hollow look often attendant upon that area, and which often presents an unappealing tired appearance to the world.
The dermal filler procedure typically requires less than an hour to perform in an outpatient setting, when only a single area is being targeted. There is no discomfort to the patient, because local anesthetics are generally used to numb the affected area, so that injections are not felt.
Risks involved with dermal fillers
The general risk with the dermal filler procedure is that it addresses a highly visible area of the body, so any resulting problem or irregularity will be readily apparent to everyone you come in contact with. Even though it is accurately described as a minimally invasive procedure, dermal filling is not without certain risks.
Some of the more common risks with dermal fillers involve incorrect placement, over-filling, or a resultant asymmetry in the facial structure. However, these negative effects are normally avoided by an experienced cosmetic surgeon, and he/she will also be aware that it is best to inject less filler material at first rather than more, because it is far easier to add more later than it would be to remove material already in place.
It is fairly normal for temporary swelling to develop, along with redness or soreness, although these are not serious and are usually resolved naturally by the body in a matter of a week or two. It is also possible for cysts to develop at the injection site, a result of filler having been injected too close to the surface of the skin.
Lumps can also develop in the deeper dermal layers if a faulty injection technique was used, or if too much filler material was injected. In the case of excess filler injection, the excess amount can be dissolved by hyaluronidase, which breaks down the hyaluronic acid filler.
Some kinds of infections may occur, although this happens very rarely and the infections can be treated with antibiotics if they should develop. If hyaluronic acid is accidentally injected into a blood vessel, it could block the blood vessel and any tissue supported by that blood vessel could then die off from lack of oxygen. While this can lead to other even more serious problems, it should be remembered that this is another extremely rare case, and is generally avoidable by having a skilled surgeon with a high level of experience conducting the procedure.
Results of dermal fillers
The results achieved by the dermal filler procedure are aesthetic improvements to the facial structure, in whichever area was targeted, and these benefits are apparent within days. There are two ways to address the dermal filler procedure, temporary and permanent. When the temporary approach is adopted, results typically last between six and 12 months before re-filling is required.
Permanent treatment is also available as an option, but may not always be the best approach, since changes to the facial structure may occur over time, which then make the fillings look out of place. When this happens, much of the benefit of the dermal filler is lost, and other remedial action may be necessary.