Harvard Women's Health Watch

Dermal fillers: Caulking the lines of time

Though not as durable as a facelift, dermal fillers have become popular among women seeking a younger look.

Since the millennium, the number of facelifts in the United States has fallen by 20%. Does that mean we're less concerned about the effects of facial aging? Not by a long shot. During the same period, injections of Botox to minimize fine expression lines have jumped nearly 450%. And a new tool in the medicine chest — dermal fillers — is offering yet another alternative to cosmetic surgery.

Dermal fillers are substances injected into the skin of the face to fill in deep folds and wrinkles. Between 2005 and 2006, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the number of people receiving such fillers rose by 44%. Among women seeing plastic surgeons for cosmetic procedures, dermal filler injections are more than 12 times as common as surgical facelifts.

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