Nov 4

Truth About Fillers and New Collagen Production

No Spin Zone

This morning as we were reading through some new editorials, we came across this article from today’s Washington Post which addressed what we blogged about yesterday, namely how fillers are used and whether they increase collagen production.

The paper’s dermatologist, Dr. Herschenfeld says “that Sculptra and Radiesse, which stimulate the body’s natural ability to form collagen, can be used to fill hollows under the eyes, to rebuild cheekbones, fill in sunken temples and even smooth the jawline. ‘Although they cannot tighten skin the way surgery can, they can produce striking improvements in appearance without cutting, stitching, scarring and all the down time that comes with a facelift.’”

We agree that volume enhancement is an essential part of facial rejuvenation, and it is one of the main reasons we have developed the Hybrid Facelift (more on HybridLift here). However, we found two things compelling about the article:

  1. It is interesting to note that major newspapers report the utilization of fillers for off- label uses like filling in the hollows under the eyes without any disclaimers, and
  2. Perhaps more interestingly, a new study in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery looking at Radiesse concluded “We found no evidence of new collagen formation 1, 6, or 18 months after injection.”

Granted the study numbers in both papers are small. However, the utilization of the Radiesse in this more recent study was much more in line with how most practitioners use fillers. As we blogged yesterday, the study most people site in speaking about new collagen production (Archives of Dermatology) utilized an entire syringe of Restylane per area of the forearm injected. We suspect, as the original authors concluded, that when this much filler is injected into one small area of forearm skin, the skin is put under tremendous stretch, much like the case of tissue expanders, and responds by producing new collagen. Perhaps this accounts for the discrepancy between the two papers. We think the second paper is more accurate because it reflects how fillers are generally utilized in the face.

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