A recent study evaluates whether injections with hyaluronic acid facial fillers can be a reasonable alternative to surgery to treat eye bags.
The changes in the aging face are the result of a complex interplay of factors. As we age, our skin and the soft tissue around it, atrophies, and other components like fat and muscle begin to sag and swell. A good example of this is the development of bags around the eyes; as the skin thins out and loses its elasticity, the fat surrounding the eyes, called the infraorbital fat, becomes more prominent. The result is the tired, aged look we associate with eye bags.
Plastic surgeons have long offered relief by removing the protruding fat and any excess skin. Evidently, eye-bag surgery approaches the problem from an “excess” standpoint, and that incisions and the post-operative course of swelling and pain are inevitable side effects.
The use of facial fillers like hyaluronic acid (HA) instead attempts to provide relief from the opposite end. By filling in the borders and troughs created by the eye bags, they become less obvious without the need for any surgery.
Facial plastic surgeons who have been using hyaluronic acid fillers to treat these infraorbital hollows recently published their results in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. The article details how 101 patients were seen and treated over a one-year period. Using a standardized evaluation scoring system, the post-injection results were graded as to the resolution, or persistence, of these hollows, as well as patient satisfaction.
Over the course of the treatment and follow-up periods, up to 70% of the patients indicated satisfaction with the results. Also significant was the low rate (10%) of adverse effects reported, and these were mostly temporary in nature that needed no further intervention.
Results notwithstanding, fillers basically mask the eye bags by filling in the contours. Surgery remains the patient’s best bet for relief. However, the high satisfaction and safety profiles of hyaluronic acid fillers may mean that for those patients who are afraid of going under the knife, injections can be a reasonable, albeit temporary, alternative to make them look fresher and younger.
Written by Jay Martin, MD
Reference: Hall, et al. “Novel Use of a Volumizing Hyaluronic Acid Filler for Treatment of Infraorbital Hollows”. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. Doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2018.0230.