This article from AliceHart.com does a beautiful job explaining what a “liquid facelift” treatment is like; what to expect before, during and after, along with all of the according pictures.
Would you let this man put 10-syringes of filler into your face?
‘Small scratch…’ murmurs Dr Tapan Patel, as he nips the first needle into my right cheek and we’re off on a filler-marathon, a mega session of stealthy facial readjustment.
I have to admit, I’m a tad nervous. Not about the injections per se – I’ve been having injections of fillers to pad out my cheeks and lips for around 15-years – but about the quantity that is on the menu.
When using facial fillers, injectors previously believed that less is more, and that the art of refreshing the face was to use the minimum quantities possible, a vial or two at most. That way, patients ended up looking subtly refreshed, rather than hamster-cheeked and slug-lipped.
But now, the aesthetic gurus who set the trends and establish the protocols in how fillers are used – principally the Brazilian plastic surgeon Dr Mauricio de Maio, the rock god of the genre – have come up with a new approach. What you really need for the natural-looking result which is the ultimate goal for all injectors, is more product, not less.
‘Originally, fillers were used to fill lines,’ explains Dr Patel. ‘But over time, as practitioners developed a better understanding of the ageing process, it was clear that volume loss was a major factor, so we started using fillers to address volume loss. Because doctors and patients were used to treatments comprising one or two 1ml syringes, we were trying to use the same quantity to restore volume.’
‘We now know that volume loss isn’t limited to one area. In any one patient, we may need to treat the temple, cheekbone, mouth region, chin and jawline – so we need more product. It is now not unusual for us to use up to 16 syringes of product in one treatment plan.’ says Dr Patel.
There’s a Tony-Hancock-type joke in there somewhere, about 16 syringes being nearly a whole cheekful, but now might not be the time to crack it.
It’s peaceful in the all-white treatment room and so quiet, I can hear the slight hiss as the syringe slowly empties but apart from that tiny scratch, all I can feel is a strange kind of pressure as the filler gel eases its way into my face. There’s no pain – I had a dab of ice to chill my skin before the needle slipped in – and the filler, a thick, sturdy gel called Voluma – contains local anaesthetic, so it numbs as it goes.
Besides, I’m pretty relaxed. Dr P, as his staff call him, is medical director of the elite Phi Clinic in Harley Street, and such an expert in the artistic deployment of fillers that he spends half his time travelling around the world, teaching the latest filler techniques to other cosmetic practitioners.
Why did I step up for this treatment?
Dr Patel has been doing my fillers (and Botox) for the past few years and one of the reasons I love his work is because it tends of be on the understated side, which suits me very well – I much prefer to look normal, rather than ‘done’. He has tended to use very little filler, one or two vials, at strategic points in my face – but recently, the thinking behind the use of fillers has changed.