Injectable Fillers

This website is intended to provide you with general information only. This information is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and does not contain all the known facts about this procedure or every possible side effect of surgery. It is important that you speak to your  surgeon  before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain. Patient information provided as part of this website is evidence-based, and sourced from a range of reputable information providers including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Better Health Channel and Mi-tec medical publishing.

  • What are injectable fillers?

    Injectable fillers, also known as dermal fillers or soft tissue fillers, are materials injected under the skin to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, lines, folds and indented scars. Injectable fillers can also be used to enhance facial contours by adding volume to lips or cheeks.

  • What will it do?

    Injectable fillers are used for cosmetic reasons and can help to:

    • Plump thin lips
    • Enhance shallow contours
    • Soften facial creases and wrinkles
    • Improve the appearance of recessed scars

    There are five main categories of injectable fillers, these are:

    • Hyaluronic acid gel, a sugar-like component of skin
    • Collagens, connective tissue proteins derived from treated human, cow or pig tissue
    • Fat injections, from a donor or your own body
    • Synthetic polymer gels
    • Polylactic acid, which stimulates skin cells to produce collagen

    Botulinum toxin (such as Botox®) is often mistaken as an injectable filler, however it is not the same. While injections of botulinum toxin are also used for cosmetic purposes and work to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it works in a different way to fillers. Botulinum toxin works by relaxing the muscles that surround wrinkles. It may be used in conjunction with injectable fillers to improve results.

  • Is it right for me?

    Soft tissue augmentation using injectable fillers a highly individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.

    Before you decide on soft tissue augmentation with the use of injectable fillers, there are some important issues to keep in mind:

    • Injectable fillers cannot halt the ageing process or the effects of ageing
    • Deep wrinkles may appear less obvious after injectable fillers are applied, but they may not disappear. Sometimes, improvements are minimal or unnoticeable
    • Non-surgical rejuvenation treatments such as injectable fillers may not be able to achieve the same results as surgical treatments. However, it may help delay the time at which surgical treatments, such as a facelift, become appropriate

    Injectable fillers may be a good option for you if:

    • You are physically healthy
    • You have realistic expectations of what skin rejuvenation can accomplish
    • You are a non-smoker or have stopped smoking
  • Will I need anaesthesia?

    Anaesthesia is usually not required for injections of dermal fillers. Some discomfort during the procedure is normal. However, if pain relief is required, local anaesthesia may be applied to the skin or inject with a needle.

  • What are the potential risks and complications?

    Injections of dermal fillers is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur.

    Some risks and complications associated with injectable fillers may include but are not limited to:

    • Stinging, redness or itchiness
    • Pain
    • Bleeding and bruising
    • Allergic reaction to fillers
    • Infection
    • Formation of small lumps (nodules) under the skin
    • Discoloration of the skin including small blue or purple patches caused by bleeding near the injecting site
    • Movement of filler material
    • Inflammatory and autoimmune reactions
    • Formation of pimples, like acne, near the injection site
    • Localised scarring and skin damage
  • Where will the procedure take place?

    Injections of dermal fillers must only be administered in an appropriate setting with adequate equipment and protocols in place.

  • What do I need to do after the procedure?

    While you should be able to return to your normal daily activities after a procedure, it is a good idea to rest for a day. If you experience any of the following symptoms, notify your Specialist Plastic Surgeon immediately:

    • Signs of infection (swelling, redness and pus)
    • Allergic reaction
    • Pain that persists

    Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-procedural care. Be sure to follow these carefully.

  • Will I need further treatment?

    Depending on the extent of your procedure, further treatment may be necessary to achieve the optimal result or to correct minor irregularities.

  • What are the costs associated with this procedure?

    Cost is always a consideration in elective procedures. Prices for individual procedures can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office.
    Costs associated with the procedure may include:

    • Surgeon’s fee
    • Hospital or surgical facility costs
    • Anaesthesia fees
    • Prescriptions for medication
    • Medical tests

    Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.

  • Words you should know

    Collagen: A natural protein used as an injectable filler for soft tissue augmentation

    Cupid’s bow: The middle portion of the lip which has the upturn

    Human fat: Fat harvested from your own body and used as an injectable filler for soft tissue augmentation

    Hyaluronic acid: A natural substance found in the body used as a filler

    Hydroxylapatite: A mineral-like compound found naturally in human bone used as a filler

    Injectable fillers: Substances used to restore volume and a more youthful appearance

    Local anaesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain

    Soft tissue augmentation: The use of injectable fillers to restore volume and your youthful appearance

    Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more procedural terms.

Watch a procedure

Follow the link below to watch a video of this procedure.

Watch video

Find a surgeon

Visit the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or New Zealand Association of Plastic Surgeons (NZAPS) website to find a Specialist Plastic Surgeon near you.