Definition & Overview
An average adult has about 15 grams of natural hyaluronic acid (HA) in the body. About a third of this is replaced through natural body processes. It is a major component of the extra-cellular matrix and the articular cartilage. HA is also a chief component of the skin and is actively involved in the repair of damaged tissues. It serves as a network by which essential nutrients are transferred from the bloodstream into the skin cells. It is also found in the vitreous humor of the eye, where it provides cushioning and is a major factor in maintaining the shape of the eyeball.
Hyaluronic acid injections serve two major purposes – first, as a biomedical product used in eye surgery and as a treatment for osteoarthritis, and second, as a cosmetic procedure for anti-aging. Brand names for HA injections include Gel-One, Euflexxa, Juvederm, Hylaform, Puragen, Restylane, Captique, Orthovisc, Monovisc, Hyalgan, and Supartz.
In particular, the benefits of hyaluronic acid injections include:
- Acts as a cushion to support facial tissues to add more volume and elasticity that have been lost due to aging
- Adds water to the skin surface to keep it rejuvenated, fresh, and soft
Acts as lip filler to make the lip look more supple and full
When injected, it serves as a lubricant and cushions the joints to help ease pain caused by arthritis
- As an ophthalmic surgical aid, it protects easily damaged cells in the eyes during cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, and repair of detached retina
- Used as a post-operative procedure to hasten healing after a surgical procedure
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Anyone who wishes to enjoy the benefits mentioned above can take advantage of hyaluronic acid injections. Since the HA used is chemically identical to that of naturally present in humans (also among other species), there are hardly any harmful side effects. As a cosmetic procedure, hyaluronic acid therapy is usually administered on those who wish to improve their appearance, specifically to correct one or several of these problems:
- Frown lines and worry lines running between the eyebrows and through the forehead
- Marionette lines at the corners of the mouth
- Crow’s feet at the corner of the eyes
- Unwanted cheek depressions
- Acneand facial scars
- Deep smile lines running laterally from the side of the nose to the mouth corners
HA injections work instantly in temporarily correcting these problems. However, it is important to note that HA implantation does not have a permanent effect. Just like the hyaluronic acid naturally produced in the body, injected HA can gradually break down and get absorbed by the body. Effects of HA therapy usually last about 3 to up to 9 months. To maintain optimum results, repeated treatments will be necessary.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Hyaluronic acid injections are performed by trained doctors, supervised nurses or experienced skin care specialists. The treatment is done on an outpatient basis and lasts less than an hour.
The patient’s face is first cleaned and dried thoroughly, and a local topical antiseptic is wiped onto the target treatment area. A local anesthetic can also be applied to minimise discomfort during the procedure. Once in effect, the hyaluronic acid is injected using any of these two methods:
- Serial intra-dermal puncture, where a series of minute injections are administered using a very small needle
- Tunnel or threading technique, where the injection is done into the deep dermis (subcutaneous space) and the needle is withdrawn as the hyaluronic acid is injected
Depending on the treatment area, a massage may be performed to minimise pain or discomfort, and ensure the proper absorption of the hyaluronic acid.
Whether injected in the face or joint, a similar procedure is performed. As a treatment for arthritis, a series of shots is made about one week apart to complete a cycle of three or four injections.
Possible Risks and Complications
As mentioned earlier, hyaluronic acid therapy is usually well tolerated across all ages. During the treatment, light and minor discomfort may be felt, mostly due to the injection itself. There may be redness, swelling, and tenderness in the injected area, which normally go away after a few hours or a few days without treatment.
The worst complication ever reported is an allergic reaction. When allergy ensues, there are red, thickened or raised nodules that arise from the injected site that may persist for a few weeks. In this regard, many skin specialists may require skin allergy test depending on individual circumstance before HA therapy.
As a treatment for joint problems, strenuous activities such as jogging, tennis, soccer, and heavy lifting have to be avoided. Patients are closely monitored for progress and symptoms to determine if the medication is working properly.
H. Ralph Schumacher Jr., MD, professor of medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical School; editor in chief, Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.
American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor: “Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Hyaluronic Acid Injections.”
**What is Hyaluronic Acid Injection: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results**
**Q: What is hyaluronic acid injection?**
**A:** Hyaluronic acid injection is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that involves injecting a gel-like substance called hyaluronic acid into the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule found in the skin, cartilage, and synovial fluid of the joints. It plays a crucial role in keeping the skin hydrated, plump, and elastic.
**Q: What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid injection?**
**A:** The benefits of hyaluronic acid injection include:
* **Improved skin hydration and elasticity:** Hyaluronic acid injections can help to improve the skin’s ability to retain moisture, leading to a more hydrated, plump, and youthful appearance.
* **Reduced wrinkles and fine lines:** Hyaluronic acid fills in wrinkles and fine lines, giving the skin a smoother and more even texture.
* **Enhanced facial contours:** Hyaluronic acid injection can be used to plump up specific facial contours, such as the cheeks, chin, and jawline, creating a more balanced and defined facial profile.
* **Antioxidant protection:** Hyaluronic acid is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against damage caused by free radicals.
**Q: What are the expected results from hyaluronic acid injection?**
**A:** The expected results from hyaluronic acid injection vary depending on the individual and the areas treated. However, most patients experience:
* **Immediate results:** Hyaluronic acid injections provide immediate volumizing and hydrating effects.
* **Long-lasting results:** The results of hyaluronic acid injection can last for several months to a year, depending on the type of hyaluronic acid used and the areas treated.
* **Minimal side effects:** Hyaluronic acid is a biocompatible substance, making side effects uncommon. Some patients may experience slight redness, swelling, or bruising at the injection site, but these usually resolve quickly.
**Q: Who is a good candidate for hyaluronic acid injection?**
**A:** Hyaluronic acid injection is a suitable option for individuals:
* Who want to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
* Who desire to enhance their facial contours
* Who have dry, dehydrated, or aging skin
* Who are in overall good health
**Q: What should I expect during a hyaluronic acid injection procedure?**
**A:** During a hyaluronic acid injection procedure, a healthcare professional will:
* Cleanse and numb the injection site
* Inject hyaluronic acid gel into the target areas
* Massage the injection site to smooth out the gel
* Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling
The procedure typically takes between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the number of areas treated.
Hyaluronic acid injection is a safe and effective non-surgical cosmetic treatment that can improve skin hydration, reduce wrinkles, enhance facial contours, and protect against free radical damage. The results are noticeable immediately and can last for several months to a year. If you are looking for a way to rejuvenate your skin and address signs of aging, hyaluronic acid injection may be a good option for you.