Botox vs. Dermal Fillers: What You Need to Know

Botox and dermal fillers are all non-surgical techniques used to alleviate lines and wrinkles and, in some cases, add volume to the face. Because men and women can get the injections and leave the plastic surgeon’s office right afterward, they are an ideal procedure for lunch hours and brief breaks between errands. If you’re considering Botox or fillers, it is important to understand the benefits and risks of each product. Do your research first and then talk to your plastic surgeon about which product is right for you.

A Look at the Options

Botox is the most popular injectable. It’s a safe product derived from the botulism toxin. When injected into the muscle, it causes temporary paralysis of that muscle. This helps alleviate dynamic lines and wrinkles, like crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead creases. It’s also an effective treatment for excessive sweating. Typically, Botox needs touch-up injections every three to six months.

Dermal fillers cover hyaluronic acid fillers (Juvederm and Restylane), PMMA fillers (Artefill), and calcium hydroxylapatite fillers (Radiesse). Juvederm is beneficial in adding volume to the lips, while Restylane is also useful below the eyes. Artefill and Radiesse offer improvements in the nasolabial folds, around the corners of the mouth, along the jawline, and on the chin. They often last longer than Botox: Artefill is permanent; Radiesse lasts upwards of two years; Restylane lasts up to eight months; and, finally, Juvederm has a lifespan of approximately one year.

By the Numbers

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), Botox Cosmetic accounted for more than 245,000 procedures performed by AAFPRS surgeons in 2012. Hyaluronic acid fillers came in second with 139,383 procedures. Artefill and Radiesse followed with 19,962 procedures.

Potential Risks

When administered by a qualified facial plastic surgeon, your risks from Botox Cosmetic or fillers are minimal. The most common complaints are mild bruising and swelling at the injection site. It’s no different to the swelling you might experience after a routine vaccination. The placement of ice packs at the injection site can help alleviate these complaints.

Removing Dermal Fillers

Some patients dislike the look of permanent fillers and ask if there is a way to remove them. Surgical removal is possible, but you may end up with a permanent scar. There’s also no way to guarantee you will like the results after the product is removed. Waiting for your body to absorb the product may be the better option. One benefit of hyaluronic acid injections  is that they can be dissolved with an injection of a product called hyaluronidase.

Scared of Needles? You Have Options

Trypanophobia, a fear of injections, is a real, frightening situation for many men and women. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders estimates that 10 percent of the population have a fear of needles. This can make it seem impossible for men and women to get the Botox or dermal fillers they desire from their facial plastic surgeon.

There are options, however, that can ease your fears and allow you to get the injections you want. Talk to your facial plastic surgeon about IV sedation or other measures to help you relax when receiving the treatments.

A Price Comparison

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released the 2012 averages for minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures. This gives you an idea of what you can expect to pay for Botox and dermal fillers. Remember that actual prices depend on local factors like area rent, taxes, and utilities.

According to the ASPS report, the national average surgeon / physician fee for one Botox injection was $369 in 2012. Hyaluronic acid fillers averaged $538 per injection. Artefill cost $1,065. Finally, Radiesse cost $631. Make sure you factor in how many injections you would require over a year’s time when narrowing down your options. While Botox may seem most affordable, if you need three or four injections per year, that drives up the overall cost.

Read frequently asked questions about Botox and dermal fillers before heading to your facial plastic surgeon’s office for a consultation. Dr. Sheldon Kabaker earned his medical degree in 1964 and has decades of experience as a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Oakland, California. To schedule an appointment, call (415) 379-9015.

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