Collagen Injections

A guide to wrinkle relief

Collagen injections have become a popular option for many people who would like to reduce the signs of aging.

Collagen is a natural protein found in bone, cartilage, skin and tendons. As we age, collagen breaks down and results in lines, wrinkles and a lack of fullness in the lips.

In choosing collagen injections as a way to improve appearance, a patient will probably be using one of the following fillers:

Bovine filler. This filler is extracted from the skin of cows, then is purified and sterilized. Common brands of bovine collagen are Zyderm, Zyplast and Artefiller. Bovine collagen is the cheapest filler at approximately $325 per syringe.

Human filler. This type of filler can be autologen which is harvested from your own body during a previous surgery, and which is more expensive at $800 to $1000. Isolagen, which is made by cloning cells taken from behind your ear, costs $1000 to $1500. Dermalogen is collagen taken from a deceased donor, and costs approximately $400.

The procedure is fairly simple and usually takes place as an outpatient in a doctor's chair. The skin is rubbed with a lidocaine solution, which functions as an anesthetic. The entire procedure lasts between 15 minutes and one hour.

The pros for choosing collagen injections:

  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other cosmetic procedures
  • Very few risks
  • No bandages
  • Completed as an outpatient
  • Recovery is very short
  • Safest of the injectable procedures

The cons for choosing collagen injections:

  • 3 to 5 percent have an allergic reaction to the bovine collagen. Testing is usually done for this about 4 weeks before the procedure
  • The effect is temporary, often lasting only 9 to 12 weeks. The collagen is reabsorbed into the system, so to maintain the appearance it will require repeat visits.
  • The risks are usually cosmetic, such as an overly plump mouth.
  • As in most procedures the patient should be healthy, and pregnant or nursing mothers should discuss the procedure with their doctors.
  • There can be redness and some lumpy spots for a week as the collagen settles in.
  • Collagen injections really do not meet the standard of being a surgical procedure due to the fact that it really isn't much more than getting any other type of injection. The patient remains conscious and there is no cutting of the skin.

Anyone considering collagen injection should know that this is considered a relatively safe cosmetic procedure, but the patient should be well-informed before finally making the decision to jump into the realm of optional beauty treatments or surgeries.

By Mary Jane Suttor