Natural Fillers vs. Synthetic Materials for Facial Procedures

Your surgeon will recommend one or a combination of different fillers to use in your facial rejuvenation procedure. Dermal fillers can be derived from natural or synthetic (man-made) materials. Most dermal fillers offer immediate, yet temporary results. This means that you will need to repeat the procedure over time to maintain your results.

Natural Fillers

Natural substances used as fillers are derived either from human bodies or from animals. Two common types of natural dermal fillers include:

Collagen fillers: Collagen is a natural protein. Facial fillers made from collagen are derived from human, cow or pig sources.

Autologous fat: A patient's own fatty tissue can be removed from one area of the body where there is excess fat (such as the stomach or inner thighs) and transferred to the face. The body is less likely to reject its own fat cells, reducing the chance of an inflammatory response.  This is because the fat is derived from the patient's own body.

Synthetic Fillers

Some common types of synthetic dermal fillers include:

Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate produced in human bodies. The hyaluronic acid used in most dermal fillers is derived from microbial sources and can be chemically modified to make them last longer. Hyaluronic acid derived from an animal source would be considered a natural filler.

Calcium hydroxyapatite: Found naturally in human bone, the calcium hydroxyapatite used in dermal fillers is synthetically produced. It is a heavy filler that is considered a medical implant. It is usually used to fill in deeper wrinkles and creases.

PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate): PMMA fillers contain about 20 percent of tiny PMMA microspheres that are suspended in 80 percent purified collagen gel. This substance, considered semi-permanent, can be removed. PMMA is most often used to treat medium-to-deep wrinkles, folds and furrows, particularly nasolabial folds.