Whether it’s your first time or your next time, many patients continue to turn to injectables to reshape and rejuvenate. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were more than 4 million injections of neurotoxin performed last year, and nearly 3.5 million filler injections, making them the top two most popular noninvasive cosmetic treatments in the country.
If you’re one of the millions ready for injectables and you don’t know the difference between Juvéderm and Jeuveau, that’s OK. While it’s helpful to know your fillers from your wrinkle-relaxers before you head into an appointment, it’s more important that you choose the right injector and ask the right questions, because ultimately, they’re the ones yielding the needle. Here, we asked top expert injectors which questions first-time patients should ask their doctor before or during their visit.
1. What are your qualifications?
“Much of the result will be due to who did your injections rather than which product they used. You’re going to want a board-certified physician who specializes in aesthetic treatments to perform your treatments,” says New York dermatologist Orit Markowitz, MD. Seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, dermatologist and oculoplastic surgeon who is properly qualified to perform injectable procedures. “This is step one,” adds Dr. Markowitz.
2. Which medicines should I avoid before my treatment?
“If you’re having an injectable treatment that can cause bruising, you’re going to want to avoid aspirin, Advil, fish oil, or any blood thinners,” notes New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD. “Also, excess vitamin E or green tea pills. You can eat the foods, but don’t take the supplements two weeks before your appointment because it can make bruising appear worse.”
3. What are my options to treat this main concern?
Dr. Markowitz says it’s always better to ask about what you’re trying to accomplish instead of treating a particular area or chasing a line or wrinkle. “If you’re feeling tired, for example, or you feel that you look tired, ask your doctor to share the things that can alleviate that,” she says. “Focus on what the concern is, rather than what the particular treatment is. Whether the approach is with technology and filler, or whether it’s something that can be accomplished with neurotoxin, then you should ask what kind and how much.”
4. How far in advance of my event should I have my treatment?
“For many neurotoxin virgins, it finally becomes ‘time’ to start using a neurotoxin in the days or weeks leading up to an important event, such as a wedding or a landmark birthday like turning 30 or 40 for instance,” Dover, OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD, says. “For injectables, schedule your treatment at least three weeks to a month before a major event. Swelling and bruising will go down and the results will begin to appear gradually during that time.”
5. Should I bring old photographs with me?
According to Dr. Day, bringing a photo of your younger self can help the doctor visualize your treatment. “Depending on how old you are, ask if you should bring a picture with you of when you were younger so they can have a comparison,” she explains. “This will give a better idea of what we’re trying to recreate and restore, and can even help tell the doctor how your face moves and expresses.”
6. When should I come back?
Lastly, the doctors we spoke with noted that many times it will take a combination approach that uses multiple modalities to achieve the best result. While neurotoxin injections results may start to fade in four to six months, dermal filler has a longer lifespan. “Your expert injector will tell you when to come back for maintenance based on your entire treatment plan,” explains Dr. Hartman. “So, it’s best to schedule your next appointment based on what your injector says, depending on which products were used, how much was injected and what other treatments were performed.”
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