One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from my patients is, “is there a difference between Botox© and fillers?” This is a very reasonable question since they are both used to treat facial lines and wrinkles, but there is in fact a difference between them.
In general, injectables known as “neuromodulators”or “neurotoxins,” including Botox©, Dysport© and Xeomin©, are used for lines caused by repetitive motion. These lines occur most frequently in the upper region of the face including the forehead, between the eyebrows and around the eyes (“crows feet”). They can also be seen in the area around the lips (“lipstick lines”) or on the sides of the nose (“bunny lines”). When used in small amounts, neuromodulators reduce the activity of muscle contraction, thereby reducing the appearance of lines and softening wrinkles. By reducing muscle contraction, neuromodulators prevent the deepening of lines over time. The effect of these injections usually lasts between 3-4 months.
In comparison to neuromodulators such as Botox©, fillers are used to increase the volume of tissue underneath lines and folds. Usually administered to the lower half of the face, fillers are commonly used on the creases that run from the nose to the mouth (nasolabial folds). They can also be used to enhance cheekbones, lips and the area under the eyes. Fillers are used to treat lines that develop in tissues that are normally at rest, versus those treated by the neuromodulators as a result of overuse. Results typically last between 4-12 months depending on the severity of the crease, the type of filler used and area of injection.
It’s important to understand that in some cases a facial plastic surgeon may recommend a patient receive both an neuromodulator and filler. For instance, if I see a patient with facial creases that are visible at rest but also deepen with facial expressions, I typically recommend the patient receive both. It’s important to talk through your options with your facial plastic surgeon and ask him or her to walk-through their treatment plan with you.
If you have additional questions on neuromodulators, fillers or anything else related to facial plastic surgery, please join me as I host a live web chat on June 28, 2012. There I will answer any questions about facial plastic surgery from skincare advice to surgical procedures.
About Dr. Anita Sethna
Anita Sethna, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery within the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. She holds clinic at the Emory Facial Center located in Perimeter. Dr. Sethna’s professional goals are to provide her patients with the highest level of care for facial reconstructive as well as cosmetic procedures, maintaining natural and subtle results using surgical and non-surgical interventions. She joined Emory Healthcare in 2010.