When most people think of aging, wrinkling and sagging skin top the list of noticeable changes to one’s appearance. However, there is more to the aging process than just these changes, including a somewhat subtle sign of aging that can change the appearance in a significant way: facial volume loss. As facial plastic surgeons deepen their understanding of how we age, more options for rejuvenation are being developed to improve on old techniques. Facial volume loss is a major part of the aging process, and it is becoming recognized as an important component of the facial rejuvenation process. So how does facial volume loss affect overall appearance, and what can be done to help with the problem?

Causes of Facial Volume Loss

As we age, support structures in the face begin to break down and stop replenishing as quickly. Collagen, the essential connective and structural protein in the skin slows down production dramatically, causing the skin to lose firmness and elasticity. A lifetime of sun exposure will also take its toll, and if you haven’t been protecting your skin from the sun, you may find you age faster than you might otherwise. Volume loss and slowed collagen production can cause a domino effect in a way, as these signs of aging feed into one another and make overall aging more pronounced.

The Toll of Volume Loss & Aging

While many people are prone to weight gain as they get older, the opposite is true of facial aging: fat loss is common in the face, making the cheeks and eyes in particular look gaunt and hollow. The loss of collagen and fat allow the skin to hang loose and lax, resulting in folds and wrinkles. Remaining fat in the area has difficulty staying in place as the skin structure loosens, resulting in problems like pockets of fat beneath the eyes, which cause changes in the resting facial expression and can result in a perpetually tired or angry expression.

Fixes for Volume Loss

Dermal fillers are injectable treatments originally created for the purpose of temporarily filling in “static” wrinkles (not caused by facial movements). Dermal fillers have also long been used for subtle volume replacement in aging patients, but today, manufacturers are creating formulas specifically targeted toward issues like facial volume loss. Juvederm Voluma is currently the only formula on the market for this purpose, and it is a quick and easy procedure that takes about 30 minutes or less, but lasts up to two years with skilled application. Voluma fills in the cheek area for improved volume and contour, and is a smooth gel designed to look very natural. The treatment requires no anesthesia or downtime, making it a great option for people on the go struggling with facial volume loss. Other fillers may also be a good option for some patients, depending on their needs.

Comprehensive Rejuvenation

While non-invasive options like Voluma may be sufficient for some patients, others are interested in more dramatic changes. If minimally invasive treatments won’t offer you the results you’re looking for, there are other options for rejuvenation. Plastic surgery such as a facelift, cheek lift, or eyelid surgery can reduce the appearance of aging and reposition facial fat to avoid areas of hollowness. The procedure that is right for you depends on your needs, severity of aging, and lifestyle. A full facelift, for example, is a highly invasive procedure that combines several procedures for comprehensive anti-aging. The results can last for a decade or more, but the surgery does require a lengthy recovery and is quite expensive. People who have volume loss and other signs of aging mostly in one area might want to focus only on that area. You and your prospective plastic surgeons should discuss these options to see which procedure will work best for you.

Discussing Your Options

No treatment works optimally for every patient, so it’s important that you find the procedure or procedures that work for you. Only a board certified facial plastic surgeon can help you make this decision, so it’s imperative that you choose a skilled and experienced provider for your facial rejuvenation.

Dr. Rami K. Batniji is one of only a few plastic surgeons in the Newport Beach area focusing solely on facial surgery and treatments. He has the experience and skill to help you get the results you’re looking for. If you would like to discuss your facial rejuvenation options with Dr. Batniji, come to Batniji Facial Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach (949-650-8882) or Beverly Hills (310-467-2180), CA. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.