What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide present in the intercellular space of all the tissues in all animal species. It forms a structure that is both supple and rigid for the purpose of providing elasticity and moisture. The proteoglycans contained in hyaluronic acid help link water molecules that are many times its weight. That is what imparts volume to tissues.
This acid comes from a non-animal source, it results from the biofermentation technology. It is stabilized through small chemical changes in order to prolong its life (from 7 to 12 months), which is a particularly interesting property. Actually, biodegradable implants usually lose their volume gradually. Hyaluronic acid maintains, so to speak, its volume during the degradation phase.
Thanks to its important water-conservation properties (up to 1000 times its weight), it will replace the progressive loss of its stabilization bridges during degradation with water molecules until there no longer remains sufficient matrix to support the correction.
What Can Be Treated with Hyaluronic Acid?
The possible corrections are numerous : glabella, nasogenial and corners-of-the-mouth wrinkles, fine wrinkles of the lips and eyes, increases in volume (cheeks, chin, lips), lip contour definition, correction of the lacrimal fossae (rings under the eyes).
Other Surgery Options
Depending on the defect to correct, support requirement, fineness or depth of the wrinkle, desired volume, your cosmetic surgeon will choose a product with differing molecule sizes: Fine Lines™, Restylane™, Perlane™, Teosyal™ : global – kiss – deep. They share the same beneficial properties: transparency, non-animal origin, fluidity, identical concentration, but inserted in different depths of the skin.
Several types of injectable implants are available; Dr. Bernier will guide you through their pros and cons. Some conditions are better treated with surgery such as lifting or blepharoplasty , while sometimes complementary techniques such as subcision , feather lift , microdermabrasion or radiophotorejuvenation will enhance the expected results.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hyaluronic Acid
Treatments on pregnant women should be avoided since no study has been carried out with these patients. Hyaluronic acid should not be injected in an area in which a permanent implant has been set or if there is occurrence of inflammation or infection.
In order to avoid the risk of inflammation in a recently disturbed area, it is preferable to avoid exposure to cutaneous heat or extreme cold for a few days. The treated area can be covered with makeup after 1 to 2 hours.
Reactions usually linked to injections can occur: redness of the skin, tissue swelling, sensitivity, itching, and sometimes discolouration at the point of injection. These reactions are usually spontaneously resolved within 48 to 72 hours, but can also take up to 7 days for the lips.
In 1 case out of 2,000 there have been reports about hypersensitivity reaction consisting in the hardening and thickening of a tissue sometimes related to reddening and sensitivity in the implant area. Such induration can last sometimes up to 4 weeks following the injections. These reactions have been described as “light” and “moderate,” and are spontaneously resolved at the end of 2 weeks on average.
Although no case has been reported, injecting a hyaluronic acid implant in a blood vessel could jeopardize circulation and cause loss of tissue (necrosis with or without scarring).
Some discomfort can be expected but it is tolerable. However, in the case of the lips-the most sensitive part of the body-these usually require local anaesthesia.