Injectable wrinkle fillers can give you a more youthful look for a fraction of what a traditional face lift costs.

Most will fill lines and wrinkles in less than 30 minutes with results that can last from four months to more than a year.

Wrinkle fillers can also be used as “volumizers,” plumping and lifting cheeks, filling out thin lips, and plumping sagging hands.

Here are answers to some common questions:

Q: What exactly are fillers?

A: Fillers are manufactured products or materials from your body that are injected to temporarily erase wrinkles. These treatments are performed exclusively by physicians and sometimes by mid-level providers such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

Q: What are the different fillers and basically what do they achieve?

A: There are a number of different fillers available. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Botox can erase years from the face or neck by reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles – specifically targeting the muscles that make crow’s feet, forehead lines, frown lines between the eyebrows, and neck bands. The injections are quick; side effects are very rare and minimal.
  • Sculptra is a synthetic and biocompatible material that is injected below the surface of the skin in the area of fat loss. It provides a gradual and significant increase in areas of fat and bone loss due to aging, improving the appearance of folds and sunken areas, by lifting facial contours. It is the longest-lasting filler on the market at this time.
  • Restylane is composed of hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in your skin and other tissues. It gives more superficial volume to the skin, correcting wrinkles, lifting facial contours and enhancing lips.
  • Juvederm is similar to Restylane and is used to smooth out wrinkles, plump lips, remove lip lines, and correct nasolabial folds (“smile lines” or “parentheses”) and acne scars. It is a hyaluronic acid gel that is injected into these areas of the face.
  • Radiesse is a dermal filler that immediately adds volume to safely contour, correct and beautify facial features for a soft, natural look.

Q: How long will the results last?

A: It depends on the person and the type of filler. Typically Botox will last three to six months; Sculptra can last up to two years; Restylane, up to six months; Juvéderm, six months to one year; and Radiesse, 12 to 18 months.

Q: Are these procedures painful and is there any anesthesia administered?

A: Discomfort is typically mild and a topical local anesthetic can be administered.

  1. What about down time?

A: You can go home the same day, but sometimes there is some local bruising for five to seven days and swelling for three to seven days.

  1. How long do the procedures take?
  2. Fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on questions and the amount of filler.

Dr. Oswald Lightsey Mikell, certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, is the owner of Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry.