The USFDA approved collagen filler called Bellafill contains lidocaine along with collagen and special beads. This preparation and the expertise of the plastic surgeon ensure that there is a minimum possible pain.
However, like every procedure, the collagen injection process also involves mild to moderate pain, and patients may feel uncomfortable. The pains may be limited to the first few injections, after that there would be little to no pain. Prior to injection, the doctor may apply or give anesthesia that may block pain and discomfort. Some patients undergo collagen injection procedure without anesthesia; in such patients, pain intensity would be moderate to severe. The collagen injection process may hurt more if given in sensitive areas, such as lips or nose.
If there is severe pain in the areas while injecting, it may be due to faulty technique or improper depth of injection. Always alert your doctor if the pain is more than you can bear.
What are collagen injections?
Collagen injection is a medical procedure approved by USFDA for use on the face and back of the hand. Collagen treatments can be used to soften wrinkles and unwanted facial lines, fill out depressed scars or add volume to the border of the lip. Collagen is a natural protein that gives skin its softness and fullness. It is the main protein found in connective tissue that supports the skin, bone, cartilage, and blood vessels. Collagen composes up to 80% of the skin. Its role is to maintain the skin’s integrity, but collagen breaks down due to mechanical action of the underlying muscles, the damaging effects of the sun, and the natural aging process. When collagen is injected with a fine needle just beneath the skin surface, it replenishes the lost skin material. It may be taken from an animal like a cow or from the patient’s own tissue.
How is the collagen injections procedure performed?
The procedure is usually done under local or topical anesthesia, ice may be used to numb the region. A nerve block is often used for lip injections. The procedure may take only a few minutes or longer depending on the areas injected.
- A patient's face may be cleaned and prepared with an antibacterial cleanser.
- Pen marks may be made on the areas to be targeted.
- There are different ways to inject the collagen:
- Serial puncture technique: A series of small punctures will be made with the needle along the targeted area. Small amounts of collagen will be inserted at each puncture point.
- Linear threading or fanning technique: The needle will be inserted into the full length of the targeted area. The collagen will be injected slowly while the needle is removed or inserted.
- The procedure may often be repeated in deeper areas.
- Immediately after the treatment, there may be some temporary bruising, puffiness, or tenderness around the injection site. This is normal and gradually subsides in a few days. Patients can resume their daily activities almost immediately following the treatment. The longevity of a collagen treatment varies, lasting anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months or more. Over time, the body will naturally absorb the collagen, and additional treatments will be necessary to maintain the aesthetic enhancement.
What are the benefits and risks of collagen injections?
As with any procedure, there are benefits and risks involved, which include:
- This injection process is clinically proven to fill wrinkles, lines, and scars.
- This is a relatively quick procedure with a low risk of complications.
- There’s no downtime, so the patient can go back to work or home immediately after the treatment.
- Most collagen injection products are derived from cows and contain lidocaine, which may be sensitive or allergic to a few patients.
- Side effects may include stinging, throbbing, burning, and irritation.
- More serious risks include infection, permanent lumps and irregularities, sore formation at the site of injection, nerve injury, and blindness if performed too close to the eye.
- Results may diminish as soon as 2-3 months after the treatment, depending on how quickly the body metabolizes the collagen.
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include: