AUSTIN -- As people age, body parts tend to sag, and fat can show up where it isn't wanted. However, there's one place people usually want fat -- their cheeks. So, what’s the dilemma? Dermatologists say there has been no FDA-approved, long-lasting treatment to correct saggy cheeks -- until now.
Before and after photos at Westlake Dermatology don’t bother Austin resident Shirley Hoyer, but one photo session in particular while in Germany a few years ago got under her skin.
"All of a sudden, I looked like an old lady,” said Hoyer. “I was kind of like, 'How can this be?'"
Her doctor explained it was a loss of cheek fat.
"When your cheeks sag down, you look like you have baggy under-eyes," Hoyer said.
"As we age, the fat tends to descend downwards,” said Gregory Nikolaidis, M.D., a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology and Cosmetic Center. “When we’re young, we tend to have these rather heart-shaped faces, and as we get older they start to droop."
At the time, doctors told Hoyer there was no lasting, effective treatment. Now, they say there is. It’s called Voluma XC, a Hyaluronic acid filler. Fillers are nothing new, but Nikolaidis says the lasting power makes Voluma unique.
"It’s designed to last two to five years,” Nikolaidis said. “Most fillers last six months to a year."
Nikolaidis says Voluma doesn’t leave a swollen look immediately after injection, and if the patient doesn’t like it, it can be removed.
“Essentially, you’ve reached all three criteria of the ideal filler,” said Nikolaidis.
Judging by her immediate reaction to the procedure, she won't be asking for the product to be removed.
"Oh my gosh, I look like I have a different-shaped face," said Hoyer.
"It feels higher," she said. "It does feel higher, and you can certainly see it in the mirror."
Hoyer says the whole process took just a few minutes, didn't hurt and is something she most certainly would recommend.
"If you think about what you spend on clothes, I mean, you look like this all the time," said Hoyer. "It doesn’t matter what you are wearing."
Doctor Nikolaidis says most patients require one to two syringes of Voluma XC. Each syringe costs $900.
Go here for more information on Westlake Dematology and Cosmetic Center’s page for Voluma XC