New filler being compared to facelift in a bottle

"Just having volume in general makes the whole face look much better," Santa Rosa plastic surgeon Victor Lacombe, M.D., said.

Kelley Cassity is trim and athletic. But at 52, she feels like her face has lost the soft, smooth curves she had when she was younger.

"I gives me a particularly gaunt and skeletonized-type look," Cassity said.

She's hoping to give her cheeks a smoother, fuller look with a unique filler just approved by the FDA known as Voluma. The filler is designed to bolster sunken and sagging areas in the face, without surgery.

Lacombe participated in the clinical trials for Voluma.

The core ingredient is hyaluronic acid, a popular base for fillers, which occurs naturally in the body.

He says the difference with this formulation is the volume it produces and how long it lasts.

"In the FDA trials, Voluma has been approved for 24 months. In some patients we've seen it perhaps longer duration than that, so that's a significant improvement upon anything that's available right now," Lacombe said.

Debbie Karnell also underwent injections during the trial.

At 67, she says it produced a smoothing effect on her skin, as seen in before and after photos supplied by the clinic.

"I thought it was interesting how quickly this product seemed to work," Karnell said.

The increased volume and longer lasting effect do come at a price. A single vial can cost more than $900, boosting the cost of a treatment to several thousand dollars when multiple injections are used.

Still, Lacombe believes the longer lasting effect helps balance out the initial cost.

"Just from the standpoint of convenience and not having to come back as often, it's going to be a good value," Lacombe said.

After about 20 minutes, Cassity's treatment is finished.

Before and after photos taken a few weeks later, show the overall plumping effect around her cheekbones.

She says the improvement allowed her to reach her goal, without surgery.

"Just so I look refreshed, so I don't look tired. Again, I just want to age gracefully," Cassity said.

Since Voluma contains the same active ingredient as some other popular fillers on the market, it's considered safe.

However, it can have some temporary side-effects, including tenderness, swelling after injection, and pain and bruising.

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