One important aspect of each filler is its longevity: How long will it last? While results vary from patient to patient, below is the general guideline that I use to give my patients a good idea of what to expect.
The collagen stimulating fillers are our longest lasting FDA-approved fillers. These include Artefill, Sculptra, and Radiesse.
Generally, I expect Artefill to last many years, and I expect Sculptra and Radiesse to last about one year. However, here is a more detailed explanation. Artefill studies conducted over five years ended with investigators seeing the filling effect of Artefill last for the full five years. Therefore, we promote Artefill as a five year filler, although we are confident that Artefill will last longer, probably much longer. We have seen it last longer in our practice, as we have been injecting Artefill since 2007. Sculptra studies done over 25 months allow its manufacturer to claim a filling effect lasting up to 25 months. However, from my extensive experience with Sculptra, I advise patients to expect, on average, a year of filling. The Radiesse manufacturer promotes their product results as lasting a year or more. I advise patients to expect, on average, one year of filling from this product also. In summary, I would advise you to expect Artefill results to last 5+ years and to expect Sculptra and Radiesse results to last, on average, 1 year.
Hyaluronic Acid fillers are more temporary. They include Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Ultra Plus, and Belotero.
You can expect Restylane, Juvederm Ultra, and Belotero to last 4 to 6 months. However, in some areas like the lips and tear troughs, they seem to last longer. More robust Hyaluronic Acid fillers like Perlane and Juvederm Ultra Plus usually last 6 to 9 months. A newer Hyaluronic Acid, Voluma, has received FDA indication to be promoted as a filler lasting up to 2 years. However, the volume of Voluma needed to achieve this result was quite large, in many instances 6 to 12 syringes. Such large volumes may be considered unrealistic and cost prohibitive. Voluma is still new enough that we will need more years of clinical use to form firm opinions on its longevity. So for now I will forward the manufacturer’s message that Voluma lasts up to 2 years, but be forewarned that this message may change as we gain more clinical experience.
Keep in mind the following when you select a filler. Your doctor first should tell you which of the fillers are best for a particular area. There are multiple reasons to choose one filler over another, and your doctor will guide you through that selection process, citing advantages and disadvantages of the different fillers. When an area lends itself to a choice of several fillers that work equally well, you may want to consider the above longevity guideline to aid your selection process. The doctor and the patient are both happier when each has a realistic expectation of the outcome.