Dermal fillers are a great option for individuals looking to restore youthful fullness to the face, enjoy plump lips, enhance shallow contours or soften those facial creases and wrinkles. Also referred to as “liquid facelift,” treatment with dermal fillers will provide individuals with many of the desirable results of a Chicago facelift, but none of the recovery or downtime.

Dermal fillers will add more volume to tissue, but will not eliminate or reduce excess sagging skin. They deliver temporary results and must be repeated regularly to maintain the desirable effects. Dr. Kim will assess your needs and recommend one or a combination of treatments to achieve your desired results. Some dermal fillers are used in conjunction with other skin rejuvenation treatments such as injections of BOTOX.

If you are in the Chicago or the Gold Coast area and are interested in dermal fillers, please contact plastic surgeon Dr. John Kim at his offices at Northwestern Plastic Surgery.

What Dermal Filler is Right for You?

Temporary Fillers

  • Human fat (AKA Autologous fat) – This filler is actually fat harvested from your own body. Using your own fat requires a more extensive procedure than other injectable fillers because you first must undergo liposuction to extract the fat prior to injection. You eliminate the risk of allergic reaction or rejection by the body by using your own fat. Since not all fat cells survive when transplanted into a new site, you can expect a fairly high rate of re-absorption. Because of this, Dr. Kim will likely overfill the area being treated.
  • Collagen – A natural substance known as a protein, and the main component in cartilage, teeth and bones. It is derived either from human skin or cows (known as bovine collagen). Brand names include: CosmoDerm, Cosmoplast, Zyderm, Zyplast.
  • Human cadaveric dermis (ADM) – This filler is skin that is cultivated from a cadaver, then injected into your face. This substance results in particularly impressive filling of facial hollows. Brand names include: Cymetra, Dermalogen, Fascian.
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA) – A natural substance found in your body – in soft connective tissue, the fluid surrounding your eyes, as well as cartilage, joints, and skin. Hyaluronic acid is not derived from animal sources. Brand names include: Captique, Esthélis, Elevess, Hylaform, Juvéderm, Perlane, Prevelle, Puragen and Restylane.
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite – This filler is one the heaviest facial fillers and is found naturally in human bones. It is made up of calcium-based microspheres are suspended in a water-based gel. This mineral-like compound is reserved to fill the deepest creases such as nasolabial folds, marionette lines and frown lines. It’s also used to enhance fullness of the cheeks and other facial contours. Brand names include: Radiesse, Radiance.
  • Polylactic acid – This filler is a synthetic material. When it is injected, it stimulates the body to produce collagen. This substance is known to work particularly well in the lower half of your face to fill the lines caused by laughing, to augment thin lips and fill out deep nasolabial folds. Since it increases production of collagen over time this filler does not produce immediate results but rather gradually over a period of a few months. Brand names include: Sculptra, New-Fill.


  • PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) – These fillers contain tiny PMMA microspheres that are suspended in collagen gel. PMMA is most often used to treat medium-to-deep wrinkles, folds and furrows, particularly nasolabial folds. It can also be used to fill out pitted scars and to augment thin lips. Because of its long lasting nature, Dr. Kim will likely under-fill on the first treatment, adding more later if necessary. Brand names include: Articol, Artefill, Metacrill.

The Procedure

When you meet with Dr. Kim, he will listen to your desired results and then evaluate your facial appearance and skin tone. In particular, he will focus on the areas of your face to be augmented with cosmetic dermal filler. He will then mark strategic points on your face as guides to the appropriate injection sites for the filler.

After cleaning the area with an antibacterial agent, a topical anesthetic will be used to numb the area, particularly if you are sensitive to injections. In some cases, the dermal filler includes an anesthetic in the mixture.

The actual injections will take just a few minutes total, and just seconds per site. You will then be given an ice pack to reduce any minor and temporary discomfort. At this point you may
apply makeup, but be careful not to apply pressure to the treated areas. Doing so may result in movement of the dermal filler.

Scars and deep lines often require multiple injections to achieve your desired results. If a deeper injection is required, you’ll be offered a local anesthetic to remain comfortable. Common sites for deeper tissue fillers are the nasolabial folds and marionette lines, or to enhance fullness in the cheeks.

More about Dr. John Kim

Dr. John Kim is a renowned plastic surgeon who offers a range of advanced surgical and non-surgical enhancement procedures to help patients achieve their aesthetic goals. In addition to Botox and dermal fillers, Dr. Kim performs facelift surgery, eyelid lift and browlift in Chicago. He is also a leading provider of breast procedures, such as breast reconstructionbreast lift and breast augmentation in Chicago. If you have been considering cosmetic surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. John Kim.