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Cosmetic Surgery Alternatives - Injections

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/22/2006 | Alternative Medicine
Collagen injections are frequently thought of as an alternative to cosmetic surgery, but there are other types of injections that play an increasing role in enhancing the skin and facial features.

Collagen injections are mostly used to improve the appearance of mild to moderate facial wrinkles. Some people can be allergic to it, so a test is essential. The results may last from 3 months to a year, depending on the person. While collagen injections can make lips appear fuller and smooth out mild wrinkles, it is not suitable for the vertical wrinkles that often appear between the nose and lips.

Another cosmetic wrinkle filler is a gel made from non-animal based hyaluronic acid, under the trade names Restylane and Hylaform. FDA approved in 2003/2004, it is integrated into the skin where it attracts and holds moisture to plump out moderate to severe wrinkles. It mostly lasts six months or longer, but is eventually degraded by the bodys own mechanism, leaving no trace.

A similar procedure is called Lipo-suction. While this is based on injection, the product injected is the patients own fat. Fat is taken from an area that is naturally dense in fat such as the thigh or buttocks, moisture is squeezed out and then it is injected into the area in need of treatment. An allergic reaction is impossible since the product is from the patients own body.

Lipo-suction can be used to re-contour the face, providing definition to the nose and chin, but its not suitable for those areas that move frequently. Nor can it be used to enhance the breasts because it makes the diagnoses of cancerous growths difficult. Lipo-suction is performed in an outpatients setting as local anaesthetic only is needed. It is possible to have the fat for this procedure harvested during another operation such as a tummy tuck, and frozen for later use.

A procedure called Thermalift is even less invasive. It is used to tighten aging skin or clear acne with no injections or incisions. A form of radio frequency is used to heat the deep layers of the skin, which in turn shrinks the oil glands, improving the appearance of the skin and clearing acne. Cooling sprays are used at the same time to prevent the skin burning.

Botox is a popular treatment these days. It is a series of injections made that actually weaken the small muscles of the face, thus eliminating wrinkles. The effects last from four to six months.