Tomorrow’s Filler Options Are Here and Include Innovative Ways to Use Fat

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We are filling so many things these days, it’s getting hard to keep track of all the things we can fill: cheeks, chins, earlobes, even divots in our butts. If there's an area on our bodies that lacks volume, doctors have found a way to fix it. Vero Beach, FL plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD at Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery says the way he is using long-term filler and fat at his practice today is indicative of how far we’ve come from the fillers of the past.

NewBeauty: What long-lasting fillers are you using a lot of?
Dr. Durkin: Radiesse and Radiesse Plus. They both use calcium hydroxyapatite microspheres to produce long term volumization effects. This filler acts as a bioinduction agent, meaning that it exerts its effect by stimulating the body's own ability to create collagen. The body creates a response to the filler which specifically produces type I collagen. This type of collagen is most associated with youthful, elastic skin, which in my opinion gives Radiesse a huge advantage over its competitors. 

NB: How long does this type of filler last?
Dr. Durkin: Patients who receive Radiesse can expect the results to last from 15 months to upwards of 24 months. My patients who have undergone multiple treatments always show lasting signs of skin improvement, as the collagen effects of this filler extend into the deeper dermis.

NB: What areas of the body can you treat with Radiesse?
Dr. Durkin: The face, hands and buttocks. Any of the common areas for on- and off-label filler uses.

NB: What other fillers do you use to treat volume loss?
Dr. Durkin: Another bioinduction agent I've been seeing great results with is Renuva, an alternative to fat transfers using liposuction. This all-natural filler can be used to fill in scars and dimples, plump the cheeks, or rejuvenate the hands.

NB: Is Renuva an injectable dermal filler or injectable fat?
Dr. Durkin: Renuva is an all-natural extracellular matrix rich with regenerative properties.

NB: Wow. That is a mouthful. What does that mean in layman’s terms?
Dr. Durkin: Instead of creating collagen, Renuva creates natural human fat. Many people do not realize that we stop making fat cells after puberty. When we gain weight, we only make our fat cells bigger, but we don't make more fat cells. Renuva changes all of this. When injected into areas where there is hollowness, it acts as a scaffold that allows the body to recruit new fat cells to attach to it. Renuva contains the same collagen, growth factors and proteins as your own fat. Because it is made from human allograft tissue, Renuva is a safe and effective alternative to fat grafting to restore volume.

NB: Where does the fat come from if it’s not from a patient’s own liposuction?
Dr. Durkin: Renuva is human adipose tissue. For nearly one hundred years’ human tissue has been used for reconstructive and other procedures, including skin grafting for burn care, abdominal wall repair, and other surgical procedures. In this case, donated tissue is screened extensively and processed for quality and safety. 

NB: How long does Renuva last?
Dr. Durkin: Renuva injections are usually done as a series of injections over six to eight weeks, making it a very convenient, gradual volumizer. Preliminary studies have shown that the results can last for more than five years. And unlike other long-term filler options, it has not been associated with excess scarring, nodularity, or granuloma formation. Also, Renuva has been approved by the FDA to be used throughout the face and body.

NB: Where on the body is it being used?
Dr. Durkin: It is commonly used for nonsurgical butt lifts, as it is remarkably safer than Brazilian Butt Lift surgery, requires zero downtime and creates fat without mechanically transferring it surgically. It is also outstanding to use in hands and as a complement to breast augmentation surgery. It can help to fill in hollowness above the breast implant that can create a concave look in the upper pole area of the breasts.

NB: All of this seems so futuristic, but these procedures are currently trending at your practice. What do you attribute that to?
Dr. Durkin: Natural-looking results that are low maintenance. My patients like it because it fits in with their lifestyles and gives them a youthful glow so they can continue to age gracefully. This means fewer trips to the doctors and no awkward conversations about what you had “done.”