Collagen Injection—Wrinkle Filler
(Soft Tissue Filler; Injectable Filler)
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Collagen injection is a procedure used to fill wrinkles, plump lips, and improve skin appearance. Collagen is injected under the skin with a fine needle.
Collagen is a natural protein that supports the skin and other areas of the body. It may be taken from an animal like a cow or pig or from the patient’s own tissue. Collagen is one of several filler options available.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
Collagen injection is an elective, cosmetic procedure. This means that the patient requests to have a procedure which is not medically necessary. It is done to:
Types of Wrinkles
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You will need a trained specialist such as a dermatologist or a facial or general plastic surgeon. Treatments are often successful and results are seen right away. Results are temporary, lasting 6 months or more.
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the collagen injections.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Before the test your doctor will:
Before the procedure, you will:
Local or topical anesthesia, such as ointment or ice, may be used. A nerve block is often used for lip injections. This type of anesthesia blocks the nerves responsible for pain.
Description of the Procedure TOP
Pen marks may be made on the areas to be targeted. Your face will be cleaned and prepared with an antibacterial cleanser. Local or topical anesthesia will be given to numb the area. For small areas, a topical cream or ice is used.
There are different ways to inject the collagen:
The procedure is often repeated in deeper areas.
How Long Will It Take? TOP
The procedure may take only a few minutes or longer depending on the areas injected. You will be able to go home after the procedure.
Will It Hurt? TOP
Anesthesia can block pain and discomfort. Some have the procedure without anesthesia, but the injection is painful.
Ask your doctor about medication to help with the pain and swelling after the procedure.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Care Center
After your procedure, the staff may provide the following care:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Canadian Dermatology Association
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Dermal fillers. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at:
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Accessed September 12, 2014.
Fillers. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/e---h/fillers. Accessed September 12, 2014.
Filler materials and general injection technique. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP, eds. Dermatology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008: chap 158.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 9/12/2014
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