Injectable dermal fillers provide a minimally invasive approach to reduce facial lines and wrinkles while restoring volume and fullness in the face. More than 2.7 million dermal filler procedures were performed in 2019, according to the most recent statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Even as the popularity of dermal fillers continues to skyrocket, plastic surgeons are still working out how to maximize their benefits for patients seeking nonsurgical facial rejuvenation. Most studies have used subjective rating systems, with little objective evidence on the outcomes achieved.
One recent study suggested that in addition to their "volumizing" effects, dermal fillers may also have variable "lifting" effects. Sebastian Cotofana, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues designed a study to measure the true lifting effect of soft tissue fillers in different areas of the face. Their study appears in the May issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the ASPS.
In the experimental study, the researchers performed standardized dermal filler injections in specially prepared facial cadaver specimens. Injections were made in areas commonly targeted in minimally invasive facial rejuvenation procedures: the forehead and temple; the midface region, including both the medial (central) and the lateral (sides) areas; and the perioral area (mouth and chin) and jawline.
To measure the effects of the injections, Dr. Cotofana and colleagues performed before-and-after scans of the facial surface using an advanced three-dimensional scanning technology (Vectra 3D imaging system). The same type of 3D digital imaging system is now commonly used to assess and even simulate the results of plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures.