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Types of Neuromodulators vs. Fillers

Types of Neuromodulators vs Fillers

If you’re new to the world of cosmetic treatments, it might seem like there are tons of injectable options. It can become a little overwhelming, but it’s important to know that there are two major types of injectables and that they accomplish different things. Here’s a guide to consider while you look at your treatment options with Dr. Sieber.

What are the types of neuromodulators?

What are the types of neuromodulatorsThere are various types of neuromodulators. These injectable options commonly go by their brand names like Botox®, Dysport®, or Xeomin®. While there are slight differences that might make one a better option for you, they all function in virtually the same way. They’re called neuromodulators because they block the receptors in muscles that receive signals from the brain for movement.

That might sound strange, considering we are talking about cosmetic procedures not brain disorders. But it isn’t actually strange at all. These neuromodulators have many uses when it comes to noradrenergic neurons, cholinergic systems and the noradrenaline system. When you look up words like neuromodulators, terms like deep brain stimulation, spinal cord stimulation and the dopamine system might come up.

Deep brain stimulation sounds very different than facial rejuvenation, but the way they work is not so dissimilar. Neuromodulators serve many different functions from treatment related to the central nervous system, movement disorders and the serotonin system.

These injectables are derived from the bacteria that causes botulism, but they have gone through many clinical trials, have been used for years, and are fda approved. They are perfectly safe in the hands of a professional. One of their medical uses is that they are highly effective at preventing unwanted movement. This applies to cosmetic treatment because it can relax muscles that cause frown lines or crow’s feet over a lifetime, smoothing out the areas prone to frequent movement or contraction.

Neuromodulators also have many medical uses, like treatment for migraines, muscle spasms, chronic pain, and overactive sweat glands. These neuromodulators can impact the nervous system, dopaminergic neurons, dopaminergic cells and the dopaminergic system as a whole. Hopefully the connection between the brain, our nervous system and cosmetic surgery should be more clear now.

What are dermal fillers?

These injectables are a little more varied in their technique and composition, but they generally fall under a handful of popular families like Restylane® or Juvéderm®. These brands and others have many different injectable options that are formulated for different areas of the face, hands, or other areas, and can be made of substances like hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, or calcium hydroxylapatite.

Dermal fillers use these substances to target cells and create volume underneath the skin,  which can effectively smooth out wrinkles and sagging that is usually caused by a loss of volume over the course of aging. Dermal fillers can have just as many creative, off-label uses as neuromodulators, including “liquid” rhinoplasties or chin augmentation.

Which is best for me?

As a very general rule, neuromodulators most benefit the upper face (forehead, glabelal, crow’s feet) while dermal fillers most benefit the lower face (cheeks, tear troughs, lips, etc), but each can be tailored to your unique needs.

The best way to determine which injectable will benefit you best is through a consultation with Dr. Sieber, who can examine your treatment area and aesthetic goals to recommend the right product for you. There are many that exist, but Dr. Sieber can ensure you’re educated about your options and treatment plan.

Book Your Consultation

To consult with Dr. Sieber and see which options are best for you, contact Sieber Plastic Surgery San Francisco  and schedule your appointment at our state-of-the-art aesthetic facilities.

Dr. Dave Sieber and his staff are so awesome! Dr. Sieber is personable yet professional, his work is impeccable. He listens to his patient and works with them to achieve what they want. He’s like my hair dresser, a magician, you just want to do a happy dance with the results, only these results are lasting. Ok, but seriously, the procedure was very smooth, the staff and the doctors (Dr Sieber and the anesthesiologist) had great communication and made sure I was comfortable with very clear and concise pre op and post op directions. The healing process was very easy and the results are FABULOUS. Side note, Dr. Sieber has really awesome skin, I feel like this is impressive and important because really, would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? I am so elated and satisfied with the results, the size is perfect and they look and feel very natural. They are exactly what I wanted.*

SF Scientist

Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is attentive, responsive, and well trained. I had seen him for Botox and filler and he had done both without any pain or bruising and more importantly the results were fabulous. He has met with me on time at each appointment. He communicates what to expect, made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedure, checked on my healing every day post procedure. He couldn’t be more delightful not more talented. I had seen other plastic surgeons for in office treatments over the past decade and Dr. Sieber is at the top of the list in terms of delivering the desired outcome and high quality care.*

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