Injectable fillers provide a simple and immediate cosmetic treatment that is particularly good for the areas of the nasolabial folds (cheek-lip grooves) and for lip enhancement. While there are many different name brands of injectable fillers, they basically do the same thing (plump up the skin) even though there are some differences in what they are made of. These basic differences in makeup (collagen vs. hyaluronic acid vs particulated), while not conferring any different filling properties, are different in more than just the name also.
In theory, what you are primarily paying for with an injectable filler treatment is for how long it lasts. The least expensive injectable fillers, such as old-style Zyderm and Zyplast (pig collagen) or more modern Prevelle (hyaluronic acid), last about 6 to 12 weeks or less than three months. The longer-lasting fillers, such as Radiesse (dissolvable ceramic beads) and ArteFill (non-dissolving plastic beads), are by far the most expensive but they do last anywhere from 12 to 18 months after a single injection session. The real question is then. . . . . how much are you paying for what length of time. (no true permanent injectable fillers exist at this time) You want to be sure that the price somehow correlates to how persistent the result is.
That can be a difficult task for any patient to decipher. Many times what a practitioner may charge may not necessarily correlate with the product's behavior. But the purchase price to the injector (which does differ for all injectable fillers) is the same throughout the country for all syringes sold. Therefore, you can ask to see a price list or ask the price (per syringe) for the types of injectable fillers that they offer. This makes it easy to do comparison shopping. . . although beware that price may not be indicative of the injector's experience or expertise.
Here in the Midwest, very short-term (3 - 4 months) injectable filler treatments (one cc or a full syringe) will cost around $300 - $400, medium-lasting (6 to 8 months)injectable fillers around $550 - $650, and long-lasting (9 to 18 months) injectable fillers around $850 - $1250. While these are price estimates for just one geographic area in the country, they do reflect the relative relationship between injectable filler cost and duration of action.
One issue that has recently come to the forefront is the concept of a ‘single-use syringe’ This means that you have to buy the whole injectable filler syringe, whether you use it up or not. Since the syringe can not be saved after injection, you must buy the whole syringe whether you use it up or not.
Dr Barry Eppley is a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana at Clarian Health Systems. (http://www.eppleyplasticsurgery.com ) He writes a daily blog on plastic surgery, spa therapies, and medical skin care at http://www.exploreplasticsurgery.com