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Collagen Injection Information

Collagen Injection Introduction

Collagen Injections can be used to fill in creases, wrinkles, and depressions in facial skin, including laugh lines, smile lines, facial wrinkles, lip creases, crow's feet, and acne scars. It can also be used to treat areas of the neck, back, and chest, temporarily restoring a smoother, more youthful-looking appearance, or to create plumper cheeks or lips. The procedure involves injecting a substance (collagen and/or fat) into the skin in order to plump or fill-up the area being treated. The injected collagen has been FDA approved since 1981.

Depending on the substance injected, you may need continued treatments to maintain the smoothing effect. When collagen is used touch-up injections may be needed 2 to 4 times a year to maintain the smoothing effects. For some, however, the collagen injections can stimulate the body's own production of collagen, lengthening the time necessary between follow-up injections. Fat, depending on how it is used, can sometimes achieve permanent results.

Usually the anesthetic lidocaine is mixed in with collagen for pain relief, so additional anesthetic is usually not used. However, if you are especially sensitive to pain, your doctor may use a topical cream anesthetic or spray to numb the area.

Collagen Injection Overview

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that provides support to various parts of the human body: the skin, the joints, the bones and the ligaments. Injectable collagen is derived from purified bovine (from cows) collagen. The purification process creates a product similar to human collagen. Injectable collagen has been used for about the last 20 years. It is produced in various thicknesses to meet individual patient needs.

Collagen is used primarily to fill wrinkles, lines and scars on the face and sometimes the neck, back and chest. Since part of the substance is salt water that will be absorbed by the body within a few days, your doctor will slightly overfill the area.

Immediately following treatment, you may notice some minor discomfort, in the injected area. Occasionally some bruising or swelling will occur, but it is usually minor. Any redness that appears in the injected site usually disappears within 24 hours. However, in some individuals, particularly fair-skinned patients, this redness may persist for a week or more.

Fat Injections Overview

The fat-injection procedure is known as autologous fat transplantation or microlipoinjection. It involves extracting fat cells from the patient's abdomen, thighs, buttocks or elsewhere and re-injecting them beneath the facial skin. Fat is most often used to fill in "sunken" cheeks or laugh lines between the nose and mouth, to correct skin depressions or indentations, to minimize forehead wrinkles and to enhance the lips.

After both the donor and recipient sites are cleansed and treated with a local anesthesia, the fat is withdrawn using a syringe with a large-bore needle or a cannula (the same instrument used in liposuction) attached to a suction device. The fat is then prepared and injected into the recipient site with a needle. Sometimes an adhesive bandage is applied over the injection site.

As with collagen, overfilling is necessary to allow for fat absorption in the weeks following treatment. When fat is used to fill sunken cheeks or to correct areas on the face other than lines, this overcorrection of newly injected fat may temporarily make the face appear abnormally puffed out or swollen.

You can expect some swelling, bruising or redness in both the donor and recipient sites. The severity of these symptoms depends upon the size and location of the treated area. In the meantime, you may use makeup with sun block protection to help conceal your condition. The swelling and puffiness in the recipient site may last several weeks, especially if a large area was filled.

Why Do Lines Appear?

In young skin, the collagen framework is intact and the skin remains moisturized and elastic. It's resilient to the many facial expressions we adopt as well as everyday environmental exposure. But, over time, the support structure weakens and the skin loses its elasticity. The skin begins to lose its tone as the collagen support wears down. Every time you smile, frown or squint, you put stress on the collagen in your skin. The effect of these facial expressions is cumulative and facial lines begin to appear.

Why does this work?

Your Skin consists of two layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The outer-most layer, is a protective layer known as the epidermis.  Below the epidermis lies the second layer known as the dermis.  The dermis acts as a support structure for your skin and is primarily made up of a protein called "collagen."

Collagen injections will replenish the skin's natural collagen. As the contour of the support structure is restored, the natural beauty of your skin is restored. Just like natural collagen, collagen replacements begin to lose form and will eventually wear down.

Closing Remarks

If you and your doctor decide injections are appropriate, your doctor may start with a skin test in your forearm to determine if you are sensitive to the substance being used. You must watch the area very carefully over a four-week period. Most men and women tested show no reaction to the skin test and can have injections.  No bandaging or pain medication is necessary after injection. You are free to eat, drink, and wear makeup with sun block protection shortly thereafter. There may be some temporary swelling and redness in the treated area which should dissipate within a few days. Patients can return to work and normal activities immediately. If you're like most patients, you will be very satisfied with the results of your treatment. If anything, you will be surprised at the pleasing results that can be gained from this procedure.

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