New technique for injectable facial fillers improves comfort, recovery

October 28, 2009
This is Dr. Rod Rohrich from the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Less pain during injections for wrinkle-fighting facial fillers. Less swelling afterward. Less time in the office waiting for anesthesia to take effect.

These and other benefits of a new injection technique that UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons are helping pioneer are outlined in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The procedure combines lidocaine with injections of facial fillers to instantly minimize the pain and allows plastic surgeons to begin injection procedures without waiting for traditional anesthesia to take effect.

"People are more at ease and have far less discomfort," said Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern. "There is significant time savings in not having to wait for traditional dental block anesthesia to take hold, and the procedure is more pain-free with shorter recovery time."

Dr. Rohrich demonstrates the procedure in an online video that accompanies the journal article.

The technique mixes 2 percent lidocaine with certain hyaluronic and other fillers such as Restylane or Radiesse, providing an immediate numbing effect as the filler is injected.

Dr. Rohrich, who has used the combination for more than two years, notes, "It's becoming more of the standard." Some popular hyaluronic fillers, such as Prevelle and Hydrelle, are now beginning to include lidocaine as part of FDA approvals.

In addition, he said, studies have shown that mixing lidocaine with dermal fillers noticeably reduces pain.

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures have continued to surge despite the economy, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). Botox injections are up 8 percent and hyaluronic fillers are up 6 percent.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that Botox Cosmetic injections have remained the most frequently performed procedure since approval of the product in 2002, while hyaluronic acid dermal fillers ranked as the third most-popular procedure performed last year, based on its annual survey of physicians.

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center (news : web)

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