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Dermal Fillers

What are injectable fillers?

Injectable fillers are gel-like substances that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth fine lines and deep creases, or enhance facial contours. Over the last few years, more than 3 million Americans annually have chosen this popular facial rejuvenation treatment, which can be a cost-effective way to look younger without surgery or downtime.

While dermal fillers are casually known as “wrinkle fillers,” they can do much more than just smooth out wrinkles. Here are a few of the common issues dermal fillers can help address:

  • Smooth out lines around nose and mouth. (a.k.a. marionette lines, smile lines, and parentheses)

  • Enhance & restore volume to sunken cheeks

  • Diminish vertical lip lines

  • Plump & enhance the lips

  • Smooth out a chin crease

  • Smooth out contours under the eyes

  • Decrease hollowing in the upper eyelids

  • Increase brow projection

  • Decrease hollowing in the temples

  • Nonsurgical rhinoplasty (reshape the nose)

  • Increased projection of the chin

  • Change the shape of the face through injections to the jawline

  • Hiding visible tendons and addressing loss of volume in the hands

Before & after patient photo of under eye filler

Injectable Fillers vs. Botox®

Injectable fillers, such as Restylane®, Juvederm®, Belotero® and Radiesse®, work in a different way than Botox®. Botox® diminishes and eliminates the appearance of facial wrinkles by relaxing the muscles that cause them, while injectable fillers add volume in the area underneath the skin to reduce the depth of wrinkles, lines and folds, and can change the contour of injected areas. 

Depending on the desired result, a combination of Botox® and fillers may be used. In fact, several types of fillers may be used in the same appointment depending on the location and depth of injection. Dr. Liu has extensive experience with all the injectables she uses in her practice, and can craft the optimal combination for the best result.

Are all fillers the same?

Definitely not! Different fillers, even those made by the same company, have different properties and applications. While the different products fall under the same general category of injectable fillers, an experienced physician will use the product that will provide the best result. Dr. Liu will select the appropriate filler or combination of fillers depending on your goals. Below is an overview of some of the more popular fillers in use today.


Belotero® can be considered a “starter” filler, since it is very light weight and can be injected just below the skin without causing unevenness or bumps. It is a great choice for injection where skin is thin (since it won’t cause excess swelling), such as the lips, mouth and around the eyes.


There are several formulations of Juvederm® for cosmetic use:

  • Juvederm VollureTM XC: injected into the areas of facial tissue where moderate to severe wrinkles and folds occur, including the “parentheses lines” around the nose and mouth

  • Juvederm Voluma® XC: as you age, the cheeks may flatten and the skin may begin to sag. This is caused by natural loss of volume in the cheek area, typically in age-related midface volume loss

  • Juvederm Volbella® XC: injected into the lips for lip augmentation and for correction of perioral lines, often called “lipstick lines”

  • Juvederm Ultra® XC: temporarily adds more fullness and plumps thin lips – whether your lips have thinned over time or you simply want fuller lips. Can also be used for smoothing and correcting moderate to severe parentheses lines, such as nasolabial folds (smile lines around the nose and mouth)

  • Juvederm Ultra Plus® XC: where deeper correction is needed; used for volume filling of cheeks, lips and deep nasolabial folds


Radiesse® is used to diminish the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and facial folds and hollowing. It is the thickest filler available, so it is often used as a non-invasive alternative to implant surgery to provide augmentation to the chin, temples, or cheeks. Those with mouth or jaw defects or loss of volume in the hands can also benefit from Radiesse® treatment. It is made of tiny calcium-based microspheres suspended in a water-based gel. The calcium microspheres are similar to minerals found naturally in the body so allergy testing is not required. Over time, the body absorbs the microspheres and gel, leaving behind only natural collagen. Radiesse® typically lasts longer than other fillers, but cannot be dissolved like the hyaluronic acid gel fillers.


There are several variations of Restylane® for cosmetic use:

  • Restylane® and Restylane-L®: for mid-to-deep injection into the facial tissue for the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds. Can also be used for injection into the lips

  • Restylane® Lyft and Contour: for deep implantation into the facial tissue for the correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds and for cheek augmentation and for the correction of age-related midface contour deficiencies

  • Restylane® Silk and Kysse: for lip augmentation and for correction of perioral wrinkles.

  • Restylane® Refyne: for mid-to-deep injection into the facial tissue for the correction of mild to moderate facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds (smile lines around the nose and mouth)

  • Restylane® Defyne: for mid-to-deep injection into the facial tissue for the correction of moderate to severe deep facial wrinkles and folds, such as nasolabial folds (smile lines around the nose and mouth)

Commonly asked questions

How does Dr. Liu perform her injections?

Injections are performed by Dr. Liu herself. By using a small needle or cannula and precise injection techniques, Dr. Liu can deliver cosmetic fillers with minimal discomfort. Dr. Liu usually provides topical anesthesia for filler injections and also offers local anesthesia, although some patients choose to forgo both. Once the skin has been cleansed, Dr. Liu will inject each targeted area with the selected filler. 

How long does the procedure take?

The entire treatment session usually lasts less than an hour. Injectable fillers are known as a “lunchtime procedure” because patients can return to their daily activities, including work, immediately. There are no incisions, sutures, or bandages required. 

How much do filler injections cost?

It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of injections can vary depending on what a patient needs and what the desired outcome is. More importantly, many patients come to Dr. Liu believing that they need a certain procedure, only to find out during the consultation that a different procedure will provide a better outcome.

Are injectable fillers safe?

Injectable fillers are one of the safest cosmetic surgery procedures available, but there are still medical considerations to take into account. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should typically not use fillers. Patients must avoid applying pressure to the treated area for twelve hours, as this can cause the filler to migrate to other areas. Some bruising and swelling may appear but should be gone within a week or two. During this time, sunbathing and exposure to cold should be avoided, as these conditions put extra stress on the recovering skin.

As with all medical procedures, there are some possible complications. While rare, you should call your doctor if you experience:

  • Pain and change in skin color of the injected area

  • Decreased vision or double vision

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing

  • Allergic reaction (itching, hives, chest tightness, severe swelling)

How long do fillers last?

Injectable fillers are not permanent, but advances in the technology, and appropriate administration by your physician can help extend the life of the treatment. Typical injections last anywhere from 6 – 24 months. After this time, you may choose to undergo another treatment, your results can be easily maintained by seeing Dr. Liu regularly. If you don’t choose to have additional injections, the fillers will absorb naturally into your skin, and leave no trace of the injection.

I truly don't think it gets better than Dr.Liu when it comes to injectables. She understands the science of aging and has such a natural yet effective aesthetic. People think I'm 10 years younger than I actually am and I look completely natural. In fact, my friends don't even believe me when I tell them that I've had fillers and Botox. Dr.Liu is professional, warm and very knowledgable. I love the staff and the office is clean, modern and welcoming.

Mission Viejo

Dr. Liu is the top rated oculoplastic surgeon in Orange County.

Click here to read more patient testimonials.

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