What is a hyaluronic acid (HA) injection?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occurring complex carbohydrate with excellent humectant properties. It is an important cell in the body that helps to moisturise other cells for their optimal performance. Synthetic HA is now a permanent fixture in the aesthetic and medical fields due to its versatility and efficacy. A popular product is hyaluronic acid-based injectable fillers that are formulated to correct various dermal defects such as superficial wrinkles and skin creases. Some brands of HA fillers are also designed with high viscoelasticity and malleability to volumise sunken areas and sculpt facial features (e.g. nose, lips, etc.) and contours (e.g. jawline, etc.).
How is hyaluronic acid filler injected?
Hyaluronic acid filler is meant to be injected intradermally into the problematic areas. It is very important that the patient’s medical history and dermal defects are assessed extensively before the procedure to ensure that they are absolutely suitable and safe to receive HA based-filler implantation. The depth and injection techniques depend solely on the severity of skin imperfections. More often than now, the implant manufacturers will detail the appropriate treatment techniques in the package insert.
Are they any special treatment instructions?
Prior to receiving hyaluronic acid injections, some patients might be advised to reduce the dosage or stop the intake of certain medications and/or supplements that may increase the risk of post-procedural bleeding such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anti-platelets, fish oil, ginger, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort. Most importantly, patients who are experiencing any active skin inflammation and/or infections (e.g. acne, herpes breakout, rashes, cysts, etc.) may need to postpone their hyaluronic acid injection session to prevent any health complications. Further special treatment instruction will be determined by the physicians based on an individual basis.
How quickly can one observe desirable effect following HA injections and how long will it last?
Most hyaluronic acid injections deliver almost instantaneous aesthetic effects following the procedure. The residence time for the filler to remain in the tissues to correct the original dermal defects depend solely on the patient’s age, skin condition, lifestyle choices, as well as the physician’s skills and the amount of filler gel injected. Read the package insert for more information about the chosen filler’s duration of activity.
Side effects of HA injection?
Patients commonly develop localised reactions as the skin is recovering from minimally-invasive injections. Inflammatory reactions like redness, pain, swelling, and bruising are part of usual skin recovery process and should subside within a couple of days or weeks at most. Patients may apply cold compresses and gently massage the corrected areas to reduce the severity of inflammation. Besides that, they are also advised to always maintain the hygiene level of treated areas to prevent any infections. Patients should also avoid exposing the injected sites to conditions with extreme temperature such as harsh sunlight, sauna, tanning beds, hammam, and even cold rooms. Besides that, patients might have to refrain from participating in physically exerting activities. On the other hand, patients are still at risk of developing adverse secondary effects like infections, tissue death, and even allergic attacks. Physicians must educate their patients to identify these side effects so that they can obtain immediate medical attention if necessary.
Will my insurance cover hyaluronic acid injections?
Insurance does not cover hyaluronic acid injection treatments; however, there are many affordable brands for patients to choose from.