Filling eye hollows is a delicate business and there are risks. The biggest risk is bruising, lumps and swelling. In some cases if not done properly it can actually make your lower eye area look worse. Today there are more hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers in the aesthetic tool box and techniques for treating this delicate area have improved.
I’ve been reading many online posts from patients who have had both fillers and have experienced puffiness, lumps, and a baggy look after the injection. Others have had good results. I’ve seen good and bad results. Please choose your injector wisely. This is a very difficult area to treat.
Performing “tear trough” treatments to the hollow area under the eyes requires meticulous technique and can be a very satisfying treatment when done correctly.
Below are some guidelines to consider before you jump into filling your eye hollows (tear trough).
Parts of this post was originally written in 20o9 when I had my tear troughs treated for the first time.
A business colleague had her tear trough area filled by a local plastic surgeon in San Francisco, CA . I was very impressed with her results and decided to fill my eye hollows, for a more youthful look. At the time there were only two HA fillers on the market Juvederm and Restylane. Although both fillers were very similar Juvederm tends to create more puffiness in the eye area than Restylane, as it absorbs more water. My surgeon choose Juvederm which surprised me because Restylane was the preferred filler for this area. However, I trusted his judgement.
Afterwards I very bruised, swollen and lumpy. I waited patiently a couple of weeks hoping it would resolve. The bruising diminished but the puffiness persisted. I looked like I had been punched in the face and knew that I had to have a correction. Fortunately HA fillers can easily be dissolved with hyaluronidase.My surgeon concluded that he should dissolve the filler with hyaluronidase and start fresh with Restylane. The hyaluronidase worked almost immediately and I could see a difference. I went back a week later for a small amount of Restylane under each eye. It looked much better. The following week his aesthetic nurse tweaked the area with a little more filler. She did a great job. I was very pleased with my results. The entire process took around 4 weeks to resolve. The Restylane in my tear trough area lasted for over a year, as filler tends to last longer in that area than in other facial areas. However, due to my experience I was hesitant to have my eye hollows filled again.
Recently I decided to give it a try again, as its been seven years. New HA fillers have entered the market which are better for the delicate eye area and injection techniques have evolved.
I went to see Dr. Dave Sieber, a plastic surgeon in Mill Valley, CA. We decided to use Restylane rather than Restylane Silk a newer HA filler. This time a cannula was used instead of a needle. A cannula is not a sharp as a needle and there may be less chance of bruising or trauma to the area. I bruise easily, despite the cannula and was treated with laser to speed up my healing time. The results after the bruising and swelling looked great. I did go back for a little tweak a few weeks later as its best to do less and go gradually especially in this delicate area. I bruise despite all the precautions and post treatment care such as Arnica and ice. Being in the aesthetic medical industry, I’m used to bruising and swelling.
HA’s such as Belotero and Restylane Silk have the shortest durations (3-6 months) BUT the greatest hydration, therefore they are very effective to treat the tear troughs and delicate areas. Some injectors will mix HA fillers, such as Juvederm Voluma with saline to thin the consistency to use in the tear trough area. As Voluma is thicker, lasts longer and is voluminzing, it is not usually the first choice when filling the tear trough. However, I have seen excellent results when it is diluted and injected by a highly skilled injector.
Safe HA fillers for the eye area:
JUVÉDERM® VOLBELLA® is the newest HA filler with lidocaine is formulated with an innovative combination of low and high molecular weight technology, which improves the cross-linking efficiency of HA chains. This more effective cross-linking allows for a lower concentration of HA to be used, which results in less swelling because it absorbs less water. The Vycross technology delivers an ultra-smooth gel, which results in a natural look and feel, as well as improved duration up to 12 months.
JUVÉDERM® is a smooth consistency gel made of hyaluronic acid – a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps to add volume and hydration. Juvederm attracts water so it is not as effective in treating tear troughs producing more puffiness.
Restylane® is also an hyaluraonic acid used to add volume and hydration. It does not attract as much water and will not swell as much as Juvederm when injected into the tear troughs. Many practitioners and injectors prefer Restylane for the tear trough area.
Restylane Silk is newer HA filler FDA approved for fine line and lip volume. It does have a tendency to initially swell more, but can also be used in the eye area. In my experience Silk does not last long and I prefer Restylane.
All these fillers can safely be used to fill the tear trough area, but require an experienced skilled injector, as this is a very delicate area.
Conclusion: Is it worth it? Yes. But prepare yourself for some bruising and swelling.
1. Do not take ibuprofen or St John’s Wart, Fish Oil and Vit E for a least 3 weeks before your treatment. Some people will bruise regardless. If in doubt ask your physician what not to take prior to the treatment
2. Purchase SinNeech or Arnica start taking it a couple days before your treatment. You can also buy pre/post injection formula capsules made by GliSodin, which will help you heal quicker. www.glisodinskin.com Taking these supplements may help you heal faster and lessen the amount of bruising.
3. Go to a board certified surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, board certified dermatologist or an experienced aesthetic RN injector.
4. Ask how often they treat tear troughs. Proper injecting into the site is key for good results. If the filler is not injected deep enough it can leave lumps, pillows or pockets of puffiness. It can also leave you with a slight blue tint called the Tindle effect. This is such a very delicate area to treat.
5. Ask to see before and after pictures.
5. Ask the doctor if you are good candidate for this procedure. As we age our skin thins. It is easier to treat younger skin that is not so thin. Bruising is common plus one could get permanent discoloration as hemosiderin pigment is left behind.
6. Plan on being bruised and you may swell. Bruising can last for 7-10 days. However, a zap with a laser treatment will shorten your bruising time. I would not plan to have this done before any event or vacation.
7. Ask if you will be charged should you need the treatment to be reversed.
The good news is that there is a medicine called Hyaluronidase injections which can dissolve the HA fillers. The filler will dissolve in a few days rather than months. Depending on how much filler you need to dissolve, you may need to go back for additional injections. A competent surgeon should not charge you for his or her mistake. You already probably spent between $600-800+ for the treatment. If you do need it reversed, hopefully you will not need all the filler dissolved, since it would be nice to have some benefit from the treatment and the money you just spent!
From my experience not all physicians are good injectors. Physicians treating the tear trough area must have proper training. Injection techniques are always evolving and technique is everything for good results. Plastic Surgeon, physicians and aesthetic providers could benefit from on-going injectable training symposiums.
Today’s fillers for treating the eye hollows are not FDA approved. Many anti-aging treatments are used “off-label”.
Perhaps soon, the FDA will approve a filler for the delicate eye area.
In the end it is your decision – base it on good information and a referral from someone you know and trust.
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