This year’s holidays will be focused less on gatherings and more on personal celebrations, but that’s no reason not to look your best. SLUCare facial plastic surgeon Dr. Collin Chen says Botox injections and injectable fillers are simple, straightforward facial treatments that can help your skin recapture its youthful freshness in time for the winter holidays.

Chen and his colleague, Dr. Frank Simo, practice at SLUCare Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery–West County, which includes a comprehensive medical spa. “When a patient comes in for the first time, we have a thorough consultation, perform a facial analysis and discuss the person’s wishes and goals,” Chen says. “We talk about skin quality, facial structure, past treatments and other factors and then design a detailed plan. At this time of year, Botox injections and injectable fillers are among the most popular requests to correct lines and wrinkles and restore fullness.”

He says some patients choose one or the other, and some opt for both, depending on their individual needs. “Many people already have particular goals in mind when they visit us for the first time, and others need additional guidance,” he says. “Either way, we spend a good deal of time creating an appropriate plan for the individual.”

Chen says many people mistakenly believe Botox and injectable fillers are similar types of treatments, but they actually have very different actions. Botox is a neuromodulator that paralyzes the muscles involved in facial expression, improving lines and wrinkles in areas like the forehead and around the eyes. Fillers, however, generally involve the injection of hyaluronic acid to add volume where it has been lost due to age and other factors.

“Botox is safe to use and has a good track record of success,” Chen says. “Each person’s body reacts differently to it, but most people start seeing results in five to seven days and come back every six months or so for retreatment.” He says the incidence of side effects is very low, but some patients may see a small amount of bruising or swelling that resolves soon after. “Most Botox visits take about 15 minutes in the office,” he adds. “Many patients have the treatment done during a lunch hour visit.”

Esthetician Paige Gardner with a patient (Photo courtesy of SLUCare Physican Group)

Chen says he encourages patients to keep in touch with him and offer feedback after their Botox visits. “Especially if it’s your first time being treated, we want to hear how your results are developing,” he says. “No one looks at your face more closely than you do, and you know it best, so you are likely to notice things that others won’t.” If needed, the patient can return for additional treatments. “This also helps us personalize your treatment plan,” Chen says. “It’s better to stay in touch and keep results consistent than wait until a treatment has worn off and try to recreate the effect you wanted.”

For patients who want to correct deeper wrinkles and volume loss, several injectable fillers are available, including brands like Juvéderm and Restylane. Some work well for the lips, and others can be used in the cheeks and around the mouth. “Fillers can improve hollowing and depressions and give the appearance of higher cheekbones,” Chen says. “They fade at different rates depending on the brand and injection site, but most patients return every nine to 12 months for retreatment.”

Smile lines, the corners of the mouth and the chin are areas where injectable fillers work well, Chen says. “We often use them to restore a youthful appearance to the cheeks,” he notes. “Gravity and age have an effect on facial tissues, but fillers can help correct the impact of time.” He says these visits usually take a little longer than Botox sessions because some local anesthesia is needed. “Fillers usually have lidocaine mixed in to provide a temporary numbing effect for the patient’s comfort,” he explains. “When treating the cheeks, we normally do one side first, then evaluate. The effect is immediate, so patients can see right away how they will look. If they are happy with it, we treat the other side. People like being able to walk out of the clinic with exactly what they were looking for, and satisfaction rates are high. It’s a very patient-driven process.”

According to Chen, we all develop wrinkles and volume loss to some degree as we age, but the pattern of changes is unique to each person. “That’s why it is so important to create an individual treatment plan,” he explains. “We invite feedback during the process because we want the results to meet the patient’s goals. We also establish what works best for your skin over time so we can continue to achieve the look you want in future visits. Whether you are attending family celebrations or participating in online gatherings this winter, it’s possible to always look your best, and it’s important that you are happy with your treatment results.”

SLUCare Otolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery–West County is located at 555 N. New Ballas Road and offers a full slate of facial rejuvenation and medical spa services. Pictured on the cover: Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Collin Chen works with a patient. Pictured on the section cover: Licensed clinical esthetician Paige Gardner; Drs. Frank Simo and Collin Chen, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons; licensed clinical esthetician Julie Moore. For more information, call 314.977.5900 or visit

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photos courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group

Pictured at top: Dr. Collin Chen performs an evaluation. 
Photo courtesy of SLUCare Physician Group