Restylane® is a carbohydrate, hyalouronic acid, that normally makes up the majority of one’s skin by weight. It has been used throughout the 2000’s in Europe and Canada, and was approved for use in the United States in January 2004. Similar to collagen injections, Restylane® is injected into the skin to plump up wrinkles. It often lasts 6 months or longer, and can be used to improve smile lines and lip lines, reduce frown lines, enlarge lips, and reduce acne scarring. This product quickly became the most popular filler used in the United States.

How long does Restylane last?

Typically, the treatment will last six months, although individual results will vary. Acne scars on the cheeks or temples tend to last longer than treatment of the lips, where four to six months of correction is expected.

Does the treatment hurt?

The treatment consists of multiple tiny pinpricks and pressure that can be mildly to moderately uncomfortable. For those who are afraid of needles, a topical numbing cream (Elamax-4 or LMX-4) to minimize any discomfort. The numbing cream must be applied 1 to 2 hours before treatment and is available without a prescription. You may purchase this product at a local pharmacy or at our office. A thick, heavy amount of cream must be visible for the entire time it is applied in order for the cream to work. Do not rub it in or allow it to dry completely. Reapply the cream as necessary. Alternatively, we can apply a similar, but stronger, cream at the time of your appointment.

Do I need to be tested for allergy?

No. This product contains no protein or anesthetic. To date, no allergic reactions have been reported and no testing is required.

How many treatments are needed?

For nearly all patients, results after one treatment session will be adequate. Occasionally, a touch-up procedure may be needed in one- to two-weeks following treatment to achieve optimal results.

Are there any other restrictions?

There are a few restrictions prior to treatment to reduce the risk of bleeding. It is recommended that one does not take aspirin or aspirin containing products for at least 7 days before treatment. Additionally, one should not take Vitamin E, St. John’s Wort, or any anti-inflammatory medications (i.e. ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve) for at least 3 days prior to treatment. One should not consume alcohol for 3 days prior to treatment.

How should I choose a surgeon?

It is frequent that patients come in having had Restylane and were not interested in being treated again with Restylane as they had a poor result. A poor result is usually due to poor injection technique or poor patient selection. Some patients simply do not respond as well as one would have hoped, but for the most part experienced injectors usually know in advance who is less likely to have a good result. To sum it up, you are paying for the injection technique, the knowledge and skill of the surgeon, and should not think of it as paying for a syringe.

Robert S. Bader, M.D., Dermatologist