I love the fact that we live in an era of infinite choices. I can order any kind of food that my heart desires and have it delivered to my door. There are so many TV channels that my brain is constantly stimulated… or not. And it’s possible to virtually tour many of the world’s greatest museums — heaven. But sometimes so many choices can be confusing.
Voluma, Volbella and Vollure™ are three of the hottest fillers on the market these days. Manufactured by Allergan, the same company that makes Botox™, the 3 Vs are some of my favorite tools for “turning back the clock”. They are extremely effective at delivering natural looking results, but only when utilized properly. Unfortunately, a lot of patients know the names of these products without really understanding how each one should be used. This confusion can result in trouble. So, here’s a simple primer on the 3 Vs.
Thanks to direct-to-consumer marketing, patients are more aware of procedures than at any other time in history. But sometimes, this can be a problem. Like the other two Vs, Voluma is an HA or hyaluronic acid based filler made with Allergan’s proprietary Vycross™ technology. This means that it consists of both high and low weight HA molecules. However, since Voluma was specifically designed to restore volume loss in the mid-face, it has a larger percentage of higher weight or “big” molecules. While this makes it ideal for pumping up the cheeks, it’s not such a great choice for augmenting your lips or filling in the hollows beneath your eyes. Going to a less than reputable injector and telling him or her that you want Voluma under your eyes can result in disaster. If you don’t believe me, just check out RealSelf.
Volbella was created to give plastic surgeons a tool for naturally augmenting the lips. We all lose volume in our lips as we age. Restoring a plump, plush look to the lips is a really easy way to rejuvenate your entire face. But historically, the results were anything but natural. Both Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith went from beautiful, viable actresses to looking weirdly freakish thanks in large part to bad lip augmentations. Volbella, however, does not create fish or duck lips. Instead, it gently smooths out the lips so that you look as if you are always wearing lip gloss. It’s lovely. I also use this filler for fine lines and wrinkles elsewhere on the face. However, it would be waste of money to use it on your cheeks for volumization.
The last V, and the newest product to hit the market, works in a slightly different way than the other two. I use Vollure™ for creating more of an underlying structure or scaffold for your skin. As we lose volume, our skin begins to hang or sag because it no longer stretches over full cheeks. This results in the dreaded “jowls”. Before Vollure™, the only really effective method for combating jowling was a surgical facelift. Trying to fill in that area with fillers just made the patient look like an overstuffed monkey. While a facelift is still the gold standard, Vollure™ is a great in-between option for those patients who aren’t quite ready for a facelift or who simply don’t want to deal with surgery. I strategically place it at the top of the cheekbones where it provides enough structural support to gently “lift” the skin of the lower face. I also use it around the mouth. The structure of Vollure™ improves the sag without giving too much volume. However, again, this filler isn’t the best choice for fine lines and wrinkles.
With any filler treatment, I am always customizing it to the individual patient’s anatomy, needs and lifestyle. And typically, I will use more than one V at a time. I may place Voluma in the mid-face to restore the cheeks and Vollure™ at the top of the cheekbones to rejuvenate the lower face. So, bottom line, it’s really important to see a skilled injector who knows the pros and cons of each different filler so that he or she understands the best way to combine them. When used properly, fillers can truly deliver a non-surgical facelift. But when misplaced, the results can be seriously not pretty.
To find out more about Voluma, Volbella and Vollure™ with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.