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DALLAS Sixty-nine-year-old Ruth McKinnon works hard to keep her body in shape, but her lean face is the work of Father Time.

'I've lost the volume, and it makes me look much older than what I actually feel,' she said.

Cheek volume loss is natural as people age. A new cosmetic filler called Voluma was FDA-approved in October to temporarily plump up cheeks.

North Texas physicians are now beginning to use the product.

'A facelift will lift loose skin or loose muscle, but it doesn't really add volume unless you add something to it,' explained Dallas dermatologist Dr. Lori Stetler.

She said Voluma is FDA-approved for the mid-face, and should not be used on the lips.

Voluma is made with hyaluronic acid gel, polysaccharide sugar that occurs naturally in the body. According to the Juvederm website, 'the most common side effects include temporary reactions at the treatment site such as tenderness, swelling, firmness, lumps/bumps, bruising, pain, redness, discoloration, and itching.'

As with all skin-injection procedures, there is also a risk of infection. Because the product requires a deep injection, it contains the anesthetic lidocain. Patients with an allergy to lidocaine should not use Voluma.

Results can be seen immediately after side-effects dissipate (not all patients experience side-effects).

Voluma is one of the most expensive fillers on the market, costing about $1,000 per syringe. Experts say most patients will need two or more syringes per treatment.

The product is designed to last for two years, longer than other fillers. That's appealing to Jessica George, who just turned 40.

With a full-time job and two busy kids, she doesn't have extra time to spend getting cosmetic treatments.

'I want natural,' George said. 'I just want to look more youthful, get a few of those years back.'

Voluma has another advantage: It's reversible.

'It's dissolvable, so if for some reason you have a problem with it the patient doesn't like it, you end up with a little bump you can put a little enzyme in to dissolve it, you're done,' Dr. Stetler said. 'Some of the other permanent fillers, you're stuck with them.'

If a mistake is made with other products, patients must either wait for it to wear out with time or sometimes suffer long-lasting consequences.

'I was astonished at the difference,' Ruth McKinnon said. 'It actually filled in the hollow area that I focused on every time I looked in the mirror.'

McKinnon underwent two treatments. Doctors say it's better to under-estimate the amount of product needed at first, rather than overfill.

While McKinnon doesn't want any extra plumpness on her body, she likes what a little extra volume does to her face.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com


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