There are currently 2 dermal fillers FDA approved for enhancing the cheeks – Voluma and Restylane Lyft. These are both HA (Hyaluronic acid) fillers which are injected into the deeper tissues of the cheek to volumize and lift the cheeks. By lifting the cheeks, the entire lower face is lifted as well, including the jowl area, nasolabial folds, and jawline. It is well known that for an aging face with volume loss, the mainstay of treatment starts with the cheek area.
There are 2 main distinctions between Voluma and Lyft. The first is G prime, which is a measure of resistance of a fluid to flow. What this translates into when injected into the body is it’s “lifting ability”. There is huge difference between the 2 with Lyft at 531 and Voluma at almost 1/2 of Lyft at 274. Although this is not important according to Allergan, the makers of Voluma, this was found to be significant in our challenge. The other factor is cohesivity. This has only been popularized since Voluma was introduced and it the pressure needed to “flatten” the filler. What this translate in the body is the amount of spreading of the filler in the body. Voluma is higher in this category (less spreading) when compared to Lyft, but it’s importance is not known.
When Voluma was introduced to the market, there was significant marketing on it’s “2 year duration”. What wasn’t discussed was how this FDA designation was obtained. Most people in the study were injected at 2 different times. Also, the average amount of filler injected was over 6 syringes. Lastly, only a minority of subjects had evidence of some correction at the end of 2 years. These important details are left out of most discussions with physicians, and certainly not what the public understands about Voluma. In addition, Voluma’s pricing is much higher than all the other fillers on the market, but justifies these prices due to it’s longer duration.
The “Cheek Challenge” was performed by Dr. Weiner to try to vet out whether there are significant differences between Restylane Lyft and Voluma. To try to keep the study similar to the FDA study, a total of 6cc was injected, 3 of Lyft on the right cheek, and 3 of Voluma on the left cheek. Follow ups and photos were taken at 1-2 month intervals for 1 year. There was no secondary injections because this is what most closely represents a real patient’s experience. Keep in mind this is only one patient but Dr. Weiner did challenge other physicians to do the same, similar to the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. There were about 4-5 other physicians which have also done the “Cheek Challenge”. Their findings have been similar per private discussions with them.
- Duration of improvement was the same. AT 12 MONTHS, THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RESTYLANE LYFT AND VOLUMA TREATED SIDES AND THE BASELINE PRE PROCEDURE PICTURES.
- During the year, the patient noted that the Restylane Lyft cheek felt higher than the Voluma side.
- During the year, the patient felt that the Voluma cheek dropped slighted.
- During the first 1-2 weeks, more swelling was noted on the Lyft side.
- There was no difference in pain between the 2 sides.
- Noted improvements were seen in jowls, jawline, NLF, cheeks, and periocular area on both sides of face.
Although this is only a single patient, these results support multiple clinicians findings that Voluma’s duration is very similar to other HA products. Even with the use of 6 syringes, which is rarely used in a single patient, the duration did not exceed 12 months. Patients need to be counseled that 12 months is what can be expected for Voluma’s longevity. Less expensive and higher G prime filler, Restylane Lyft, seems to be a better choice for volumizing the cheek complex.