- Dermal filler treatments soften facial lines and restore lost volume for a rejuvenated appearance
- Most dermal fillers cost between $600 and $1,000 per syringe
- The amount of filler used depends on the treatment area and your personal goals
- Maintenance treatments can add to the total cost
Dermal filler treatments are very popular due to their ability to rejuvenate the skin, restore lost volume, and reverse some signs of aging. Dermal fillers’ cost can vary widely depending on factors such as the type of dermal filler used, your personal goals and your choice of provider.
What Are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal fillers are a type of cosmetic injectable treatment. They can temporarily correct wrinkles and fine lines such as smile and marionette lines, add volume to thin lips and cheeks, treat depressed scars, enhance shallow areas of the skin and define facial contours such as the cheekbones and jaw.
Filler injections are an in-office procedure with little to no downtime. Results can be visible immediately and typically last for several months to 5 years.
Are dermal fillers safe?
Facial fillers have increased in popularity in recent years, and with this increase, complicationsranging from poor esthetic results to skin necrosis and blindness have been documented. It is crucial to choose a skilled provider who has a deep understanding of facial anatomy and is aware of these complications.
In the hands of a trained plastic surgeon or dermatologist, filler injections are considered safe. Common side effects are typically mild and should resolve within 1 week. These include:
- Discomfort that can be reduced with a topical or injected anesthetic such as lidocaine
- Minor bleeding at the injection site
- Redness, swelling or bruising
Rarely, more serious side effects or complications can occur. These include:
- Allergic reactions with collagen-containing fillers
- Asymmetry or otherwise poor aesthetic outcome
- Filler migrating from the treatment area
- Formation of lumps or nodules under the skin
- Injection into a blood vessel potentially causing blindness
- Skin injury or tissue damage
Dermal Filler Cost by Type
Several types of dermal fillers are available which contain different materials ranging from natural substances such as hyaluronic acid to synthetics such as polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA).
Hyaluronic acid fillers
Hyaluronic acid is a natural compound that is abundant in the body and plays a key role in retaining moisture, tissue regeneration and skin repair. Hyaluronic acid fillers are by far the most popular type of soft tissue filler in the United States.
Juvederm (Voluma, Volbella, Vollure and Ultra), Restylane (Silk, Lyft, Refyne and Defyne), and Belotero are the leading brands of hyaluronic acid fillers. The cost per vial typically ranges from $600–$1,000.
The treatment area and your personal needs and goals dictate how many syringes of filler you require. For example, the average lip injection treatment costs $800–$1,600 (one to two syringes) while a cheek augmentation typically costs around $2,000 (two to four syringes).
Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) is a biocompatible compound that can stimulate skin cells to produce new collagen.
It is typically used for deeper wrinkles and folds, and in particular for the lower and mid-face. However one study successfully injected this filler to the upper third of the face and noted it was effective and well tolerated. It also has a good safety profile.
Radiesse is the only FDA-approved calcium hydroxylapatite filler available in the United States. Radiesse is available in two syringe sizes: 0.8 cc and 1.5 cc. The larger size syringe is more widely available and costs between $650 and $1,000.
A typical Radiesse facial treatment session uses two to three syringes and costs about $1,500.
Polylactic acid (poly-L-lactic acid or PLLA) is a synthetic biodegradable filler that, once injected, can stimulate collagen production in the skin. This filler is highly regarded as it has been shown to provide natural and pleasing long-lasting correction, even for significant volume loss.
Sculptra is one example of this filler. It works in two phases; by producing immediate results after the injection and additional results after a few weeks with the formation of new collagen.
Sculptra is relatively expensive at an average of $900–$1000 per syringe. Improvements can be achieved with as few as two vials but many cosmetic surgeons recommend up to four to six vials scheduled over two to three treatment sessions for the best results.
Bellafill is a filler that contains polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres suspended in a matrix of bovine-derived collagen. Bellafill can produce long-lasting results for up to 5 years.
Bellafill costs an average of around $1,058 per syringe. For minor corrections, two syringes can produce satisfactory results; for more extensive corrections, eight or more syringes may be required.
While the cost of Bellafill can be significantly higher than other fillers, the longevity of the results can compensate for the expense.
Unlike traditional dermal filler procedures, fat grafting or fat transfer uses liposuction to harvest fat cells from the patient’s body and then inject it into the treatment area. While the results are considered semi-permanent, this procedure is more invasive and less predictable.
The average cost for a facial fat graft procedure in 2020 was $2,508.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) has a number of cosmetic uses including the treatment of hair loss and acne. It has also gained recognition as an effective filler for facial wrinkles and folds, and has been shown to significantly increase tissue volume beyond 3 months.
In this procedure, blood is withdrawn from the patient, spun in a centrifuge machine, then injected into the treatment area.
The average cost of PRP soft tissue filler in 2020 was $981.
Collagen used to be a popular soft tissue filler; but due to the risk of allergic reactions, and with the emergence of safer and more effective fillers such as hyaluronic acid, collagen fillers have disappeared into obscurity.
Cost of Dermal Fillers Over Time
With the exception of fat transfers, dermal fillers are not permanent treatments as the body eventually absorbs the injected material. Most fillers typically last between 12 and 18 months.
Lip injections often last only between six and nine months. Fat transfer and Bellafill, which is considered a semi-permanent filler, can last up to 5 years.
If you wish to maintain your results, you will need to repeat the treatment at regular intervals, typically every 6 to 12 months. The cost of the repeat treatments is similar to the initial cost, although some providers may offer discounts for repeat customers.
Taking this into consideration, to consistently maintain your results, you should expect to pay about one and a half to two times the cost of the original treatment, yearly.
Other Cost Variables
The treatment area dictates how much filler is needed to produce good results. For example, cheek augmentation generally requires more filler compared to lip augmentation.
As with many cosmetic procedures, the cost of dermal fillers can vary widely with geographic location. If you live in a high cost-of-living area, the treatment is likely to cost more than in other areas of the country.
Although some med spas and beauty salons offer dermal filler treatments and often charge less than physicians, it is strongly advised to have your dermal filler injected by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon in order to achieve satisfactory results. The skills and experience of your provider will also factor in how much they charge.
While insurance does not cover the cost of dermal fillers, many practices offer discounts and payment plans to make the cost manageable.
Cost of Dermal Fillers vs. Botox
Although there is some overlap in the use of Botox (or Dysport) and facial fillers, such as the treatment of wrinkles, they work in different ways.
Botox is a neurotoxin that, when used in small amounts, can locally weaken muscle contractions. This is effective for the treatment of dynamic wrinkles which are caused by repetitive muscle movements.
Fillers, on the other hand, simply add volume to the treatment areas and are therefore more appropriate for static wrinkles that are caused by age-related decreased skin elasticity.
Botox is typically sold per unit. Each unit costs between $10 and $20 with a typical treatment session requiring 20 to 40 units. Smaller treatment areas such as the glabella (between the eyebrows) may only need about five units.
The effects of Botox last between 3–6 months.
There are several dermal fillers available that are designed to correct lines and wrinkles, replace lost volume, diminish the look of scars and define facial contours. These fillers are temporary solutions that need to be repeated to maintain results.
It is important to choose a skilled provider who is well-versed in these types of injections and has an understanding of the potential complications. When properly administered, dermal injections are considered safe, with side effects that are typically mild.
The cost of dermal filler treatments can vary from around $600 to over $2000 per treatment, depending on the size of the treatment area. The type and the amount of filler used are the main determinants of the cost of the treatment session.
As dermal fillers are not permanent, you should factor in the cost of repeat treatments if you wish to maintain the results. Your location and the credentials and experience of your provider will also influence the cost of treatment.
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