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Collagen injection is a procedure used to fill wrinkles, plump lips, and improve skin appearance. Collagen is injected into targeted areas 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 (cow or pig) or the patient’s own tissue. Collagen is one of several filler options available.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Before the test your doctor will:
- Examine, measure, and photograph your face
- Discuss known allergies
- Discuss medicines, supplements, and skin products you are using
- Allergy skin testing may be needed
- Discuss risks and benefits of the procedure
- You will sign an informed consent form.
- You may be asked to avoid aspirin and other blood-thinning medicines.
- All makeup will need to be removed before the procedure.
Local or topical anesthesia (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
The doctor may make pen marks 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:
- Serial puncture technique—The doctor will make a series of small punctures with the needle along the targeted area and insert small amounts of collagen at each puncture site.
- Linear threading or fanning technique—The doctor will insert the needle into the full length of the targeted area and inject the collagen slowly as the needle is removed or inserted.
The markings on your face will be cleaned and removed. Ice may be applied to ease discomfort and reduce swelling.
The procedure is often repeated in deeper areas.
How Long Will It Take?
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?
Anesthesia can block pain and discomfort. Some have the procedure without anesthesia, but the injection is painful.
Ask your doctor about medicine to help with the pain and swelling after the procedure.
At the Care Center
Immediately following your procedure, the staff may provide the following care:
- Cleanse your face
- Apply ice or another soothing ointment
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Take pain medicines as directed.
- Ice the affected area as directed to reduce swelling. Swelling should go down within hours or a few days at most.
- Do not touch the injected area.
- You may put on makeup without touching the affected area.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Academy of Dermatology
Canadian Dermatology Association
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society of Dermatology. Soft tissue fillers. American Society of Dermatology website. Available at:
. Accessed August 30, 2010.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Injectable fillers procedure information. American Society of Plastic Surgeons website. Available at:
. Accessed August 30, 2010.
Filler materials and general injection technique. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Rapini RP, eds.
Dermatology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2008: chap 158.