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Steps Involved in a Dermal Filler Procedure

Steps Involved in a Dermal Filler Procedure

Dermal fillers are an injectable medical device that can help patients experience facial rejuvenation by helping to improve the appearance of many age- or illness-related skin imperfections. Often made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance within the skin that depletes over time, dermal fillers return moisture to the skin and increase volume, making skin brighter and healthier while also smoothing out lines and wrinkles caused by the aging process. Some dermal fillers are even able to add volume to sunken areas of the face, sculpt the facial contours, and shape and augment the lips to help patients look and feel more beautiful.

Depending on the areas being treated and the severity of the corrections required, a typical injection session with a dermal filler will only take, on average, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 1: Facial assessment and mapping

Once you are in a licensed medical practitioner’s office, the doctor or his/her specially trained nurse will discuss with you the areas in which you’d like to see an improvement. They will then assess your facial appearance, the condition of the skin, the skin tone, and evaluate any of the areas of the face you would like to have augmented. This process may involve marking certain areas of the face for injection, and photographs may be taken, particularly of the areas that are to be treated.

This step shows why it is so vital to go to an experienced, licensed medical practitioner for dermal filler treatments. The needs of every patient will differ, and the person administering the injections has to have a keen understanding of the underlying facial structure in order to provide the best results for the patient. The skill of the individual doing the injection is the most important element for having a successful treatment.

Step 2: Cleansing & anesthetizing

After the face and area of treatment has been mapped, the skin has to be prepped. First, the treatment area will be cleansed and sterilized with an antibacterial agent to minimize the risk of infection at the injection site.

Next, an anesthetic may be applied to the injection site. While injections are generally well-tolerated and the procedure is typically quick enough that pain is not a huge issue—many patients may wish for the procedure to be as free of pain as possible. Some dermal fillers may have an anesthetic included in the formulation already, so this step would involve a small injection with the filler product and then a brief rest to let the numbing effects kick in. Otherwise a topical ointment or simply a cold compress may be used.

Step 3: The injection

The overall duration of the treatment session will depend on how many areas are being treated, but injections usually only take a few minutes per injection site. Different doctors may use different injection techniques depending on the filler product being used, the area being treated, and the severity of correction required. If you have had injections before and notice that the injection feels a little different, it may be that the doctor is using a different injection technique. However, never hesitate to ask questions if something feels different or is unfamiliar.

Once the filler is injected, the doctor will then massage the treated areas to ensure even distribution of the gel. The doctor will then assess the results of the injections, and perhaps add more filler in certain areas as needed. The great thing about most dermal fillers, especially those that use hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient, is that results are immediately apparent, so your doctor may even show you the results straight away.

Overall, treatment sessions will likely last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on what is being treated.

Step 4: Clean-up & recovery

Once satisfactory results have been established, it is time to clean up! Any markings will be washed off the face, and an ice pack may be offered to help control any swelling that may occur, and to help with any discomfort that may be felt at the injection site.

Due to the minimally invasive nature of dermal fillers, you will be able to return to your daily life and activities unimpeded after injections. While there may be some pain or tenderness for a day or 2 after the treatment session, it will likely not require any medication or be so severe as to hinder the patient in any way.

What to expect before treatment

Though very safe and effective, dermal filler injection is still a medical procedure, and any practitioner you go to will treat it as such. Prior to treatment, be prepared to:

  1. Go over your medical history with the administering practitioner;
  2. Listen to all of the risks associated with the procedure;
  3. Sign a consent form to show that you understand all of the risks and potential complications;
  4. Be aware that it may require more than one session to get the results you desire;
  5. Ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure, the results, and any precautions you may have to take.

What to expect after treatment

While the vast majority of dermal filler procedures are performed without complication, it is possible to experience some mild side effects, such as:

  1. Bruising, bleeding, and swelling at the injection site;
  2. Infection at the injection site;
  3. Itchiness or rash;
  4. Redness at the treatment area;
  5. Rarely, skin necrosis, blindness, or hypersensitivity.

Additionally, while you will be able to return to your daily activities, there are some things you should be prepared to avoid for a short period of time after the procedure, including:

  • Makeup for 12 hours;
  • Extreme temperatures, including saunas or extended exposure to heat or cold.


Dermal filler injections are a safe, minimally invasive, non-surgical anti-aging solution that can help you look and feel more confident. For effective results, educate yourself on the products that may be used, and be sure to find a highly reputable and fully licensed health-care professional to administer the injections.

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