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Our Ultimate Guide to the Longevity of Dermal Fillers (Updated)

How long do results from dermal fillers last? That’s probably the most common question Dr. Mabrie and I hear. The answer may be a bit more complicated than patients expect, because, as we explain to them, maintenance treatments can extend the results indefinitely.

Several factors influence a filler’s longevity, including the filler material, its consistency, the area of the face where it’s injected, and the speed at which each patient’s body metabolizes fillers. Patients may ask about getting semi-permanent fillers, such as silicone, Bellafill®, or autologous fat injections (using the patient’s own fat). But we tend to avoid using permanent fillers because they don’t provide the types of results that patients want, and because they aren’t reversible. Instead, we prefer long-lasting fillers that we can reverse if needed.

Filler Longevity Based on Treatment Area

How long do fillers last around the eyes?

Results using a hyaluronic acid-based filler can last 12 months or even longer when treating the tear trough area under the eyes. Restylane is a common choice for under the eyes because it’s firm enough to support the thinner skin in that area.

How long do fillers last around the cheeks?

Using a hyaluronic acid filler such as JUVÉDERM VOLUMA® creates results that can last 24 months. A touch-up treatment at 12 months helps maintain and prolong the results. VOLUMA and RADIESSE® are thicker gels that provide the lift that cheeks need to look more youthful. RADIESSE lasts approximately 15 months, with a touch-up treatment at 7 months.

How long do fillers last around the nose?

Nonsurgical rhinoplasty using a hyaluronic acid filler such as Restylane can last up to 2 years with maintenance treatments at 6 months and follow-up appointments scheduled at approximately 9 to 12 months. Restylane is a firm, thinner gel that enables the injector to sculpt and shape nasal contours more effectively than thicker fillers.

How long do fillers last in the lips?

Lip augmentation using fillers can last up to 12 months or more with multiple treatments. It can typically take 3 treatments to get the desired outcome because filler used in the first couple of treatments may get compressed. Restylane, Restylane Silk, and JUVÉDERM are popular fillers for lip enhancement. These are softer gels.

How long do fillers last at the corners of the mouth?

Hyaluronic acid fillers can produce results that last a total of 1 year, with a touch-up treatment at 6 months. Most fillers can get good results in this area, but hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved if they are accidentally injected into a blood vessel (a rare complication).

How long do fillers last in the chin?

Chin augmentation using fillers, such as JUVÉDERM VOLUMA, RADIESSE, or a combination of products, can produce results that last between 15 and 24 months with touch-up treatments. Chin enhancement creates a well-defined profile that both men and women desire.

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How Long Do Different Fillers Last?

When the FDA approves a filler, it indicates how long the results can be expected to last. While actual longevity may vary from the FDA’s information, the guidelines provide a good benchmark for expert injectors when they create treatment plans for patients. Multiple filler materials exist, including fat, and they behave differently after being injected.

Hyaluronic acid (HA): A substance that is naturally found in the skin, hyaluronic acid is the most popular filler material. It’s used in JUVÉDERM and Restylane products, and BELOTERO BALANCE®. It hydrates the skin and smooths wrinkles and creases. The gel-like material typically lasts anywhere from 6 to 18 months, or longer. The material gradually breaks down and the body naturally absorbs the particles.

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Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA): This substance naturally occurs in the body—primarily in the bones. RADIESSE is an FDA-approved filler formulated with CaHA. The microscopic particles are suspended in a smooth, thick gel that typically lasts about 12 months. The filler also triggers the body to produce collagen.

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Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA): This synthetic filler is made using a biodegradable substance that is biocompatible (it’s safe to use in the body). PLLA was commonly used in medical devices before the FDA approved its use as an anti-wrinkle treatment. PLLA is usually injected deeper than other fillers and works by stimulating collagen production. For this reason, PLLA fillers such as Sculptra Aesthetic® are sometimes called biostimulators. The gel in which the PLLA is carried dissipates after only a couple of days, but the results can last more than 2 years.

Sculptra aesthetic injectable poly l lactic acid

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA): This is also a biocompatible material with a long track record of being used safely in medical implants and other devices. Bellafill® is a collagen-based filler with PMMA microspheres that provides structural support and produces smoother skin. Results can last more than 5 years when used to correct nasolabial folds because the microspheres remain in place even as the body reabsorbs the collagen gel.

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Fat injections: Facial fat grafting provides long-lasting results, but typically involves liposuction to harvest fat from another area of the body. Purified fat can be used in multiple areas of the face. Fat grafting is considered a permanent procedure, but not all of the transferred fat survives the process.

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Your Dermal Filler Results Timeline

Let’s take a closer look at the most popular filler material, hyaluronic acid, and what’s actually happening under your skin as it dissolves. Hyaluronic acid fillers create and restore volume to the face in 3 ways, and each of them plays into the lifespan of your filler results at different points in the dissolving process.

3 Ways Fillers Add Facial Volume

The First Few Months

When hyaluronic acid fillers are injected, different amounts of water are absorbed depending on the formulation. This adds to the initial volume of the product that’s injected. At our practice, we stage the filler procedure over 2 appointments so that we can layer the filler and have more control over the results.

As the filler is slowly degraded, it turns into water and CO2 and is absorbed by the body. During the initial months, as the physical volume of the filler decreases, the remaining filler may absorb slightly more water, maintaining the same visible effects of the treatment.

The Midpoint

At about the midpoint in the duration of the filler, enough of the filler will have degraded that there is a visible decrease in the results. This is when it’s best to add some additional filler to replace the lost volume and give you several more months of great contours.

The End Result

Once the midpoint passes, you’ll be able to notice a decrease in volume in your treated areas. If you choose not to inject any additional filler, the product will eventually dissolve completely. However, some newly synthesized collagen will persist even after the filler is gone, leaving you with a small amount of remaining volume.

When to Schedule Your Dermal Filler Maintenance Appointment

As a general rule, to maintain your dermal filler results, you should repeat the injections at the midpoint of the filler treatment duration. This will help you keep your look consistent by replacing any volume loss before it becomes noticeable.

Here is an example: For fillers such as Restylane and JUVÉDERM Ultra that last 12 months, you may overlap treatments by 6 months.

After the third injection, you may notice your results lasting even longer. Remember, of course, you are also aging and losing volume over time and may need more filler to maintain your desired look as time goes on.

Extending the Life of Your Fillers

So, how can you extend the duration of fillers? The key is a phased approach that anticipates this decreasing volume. We create a personal treatment plan for each of our facial rejuvenation patients that includes an Active Phase and Maintenance Phase. This is part of Dr. Mabrie’s Illumination 360˚ approach to producing long-lasting results. By monitoring a patient’s appearance and performing touch-up treatments 1 or 2 times a year, we need only 1 or 2 syringes to maintain the results. This keeps the results appearing fresh.

A Final Word

It’s important to remember that our faces continue to lose volume as we age, so maintaining the optimal results involves adding additional volume. By not waiting until the filler is completely absorbed, less filler is needed for maintenance.

To get more information about fillers, contact us online or call us at (415) 445-9513. Our knowledgeable Concierge Team is available to answer any of your questions and schedule your appointment.

We hope to see you soon.

Until then, stay beautiful!

Kimberly Rolley, PA

Kimberly Rolley, PA

Physician Assistant & Associate Injector

Kimberly Rolley, PA trained exclusively with Dr. David Mabrie and now works alongside him at Mabrie Facial Institute as an injector and leader in the use of dermal fillers for facial sculpting. Kimberly’s favorite procedure is the Illumination 360° procedure for chin, jaw, and neck because the “results are always amazing for both men and women” and this “quick, noninvasive treatment enhances the facial shape and jawline.”

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