Collagen Injections

What Is Collagen?

One of the most commonly used injectable filler products is collagen. Products containing human, bovine (cow), and porcine (pig) collagen are currently approved for use in cosmetic procedures.

Collagen is an essential protein complex that humans and animals produce. It helps supply fibers that support tissue formation in our skin, bones, cartilage and blood vessels.

Cosmetically, collagen fillers are mostly used to eliminate crow's feet, laugh and frown lines, and scars, and to plump up thin lips. Pregnant or nursing women, people with allergies to beef or bovine products or to lidocaine (an anesthetic ingredient in collagen fillers), should not have bovine collagen treatment. About one in every hundred people will have a reaction to collagen. You should have an allergy test done before you have bovine collagen injections to determine if you are allergic.

You should consult with a board-certified dermatologist or surgeon to determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for collagen treatments.

How Long Do Collagen Injections Last?

The main downside to using a collagen filler is that it is absorbed by the body, although some of it may remain. This means that you will have plump lips or a smoothed out wrinkle for a while, but not permanently. Usually, the results of collagen injections last between 2 and 4 months.

Before your treatment, you should talk with your physician to determine the goals of your collagen injections procedure. At the start of your treatment, your doctor will mark the injection spots on your face with a pen, sometimes choosing multiple injection points for a single area to ensure a smooth result. The doctor then injects the collagen filler into those areas to create your desired look. After the injections, the physician will massage the area to smooth out the collagen. This massaging has to be done directly after the injections. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.

Collagen treatment should be performed in a medical office setting by a board-certified physician. Because the collagen contains lidocaine, a local anesthetic, the treatment doesn't usually require anesthesia, although the doctor may apply a numbing cream to the injection site(s) to reduce any discomfort. However, some people say that the injections can be uncomfortable.

Because half of the material being injected is lidocaine, which will be absorbed quickly, the treated area will be swollen for several hours after the injections and it will look too big. Treatment results should be evident within a week and will generally last for 2 to 4 months, although sometimes they can last for up to 6 months. In any case, follow-up treatments will be needed to maintain the results.

Brands of collagen filler include Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast, Zyderm and Zyplast, and Fibrel.

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