Monday, January 29, 2007
Injecting your way to a younger face
Watching Dr. Lisa Airan, cosmetic dermatologist to New York's glamourotti transform a 40-something single mom into a 30ish-looking woman with a few pricks of a needle, I'm thinking, injectable facial fillers look as easy as hitting a "refresh button" on your face.

For the uninitiated, facelifts lift, lasers sand, Botox relaxes, and injectible facial fillers plump up wrinkles and folds.

Face work no longer requires extended periods behind dark glasses. Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are skyrocketing: 8.4 million people in the United States had this type of work done in 2005.

While Botox remains the most popular minimally invasive procedure, facial fillers are elbowing their way in: Restylane remains the dominant player, but enter a crop of recently FDA- approved fillers: among them, Juvederm, Radiesse, and Artefill.

Users find the immediate gratification and few side effects (bruising and swelling) attractive. But fillers can be expensive: hundreds of dollars per syringe - several times a year. As Dr. Alan Matarasso, spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons points out, annually, a face-full of fillers may be comparable to facelift in terms of cost.

Artefill is billed as the first permanent filler, and may alleviate wallet and needle fatigue. Experts warn, Artefill is not a great choice as a first-time filler, and it's not approved for lips.

Also be careful about who's plumping your face. There's an aesthetic involved - and more isn't necessarily better. Fillers aren't insurance reimburseable, and even dentists are getting into the act. Dr. Matarasso says lips are the biggest offender in terms of looking "overdone."

Are fillers really safe? It's "buyer beware" according to Dr. Matarasso, who notes that no long-term studies support safety claims.

Finally, less into needles, more into natural? Key factors for face preservers: avoid weight fluctuations and the sun. Not as dramatic as hitting the "refresh button" - but it works for me.

Do you have facial fillers, or are you considering them? Tell us your stories.
How unfortunate it is that society has degraded to the point where people feel they have to do such things to themselves to look better and be more esteemed. I do not have any facial fillers. I'm 31 and I take very good care of my health and I also take good care of my skin. Most people incorrectly think I am 24 which is annoying on occasion... I believe my point is that I find it disgusting how society places values on a person's looks like that. Leave yourself alone- you are beautiful just because of who you are, not what you look like.
As a medical professional who works every day with the A- list of Hollywood celebrities, I have seen the injectable filler market explode. Unfortunately, as noted in the article, more is not always better, and this also applies to the number of available fillers. This is a market that everyone wants a part of. The financial possibilities for doctors are enormous and this leaves patients at risk. As noted in the article, Artefill was approved recently as the first permanent filler. What is does not say is that the FDA approval of this agent was questionable. The founder and former head of Artes, the company that makes Artefill was sued this year for disfiguring several women in San Diego where Artes is headquartered. Furthermore, Dr. Lemperle is not a US physician and does not hold a US license. He also, as alleged by the plaintiffs did not explain the lack of FDA approval of Artefill at the time. Lemperle is currently under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice. Another filler which has received limited approval by the FDA is Sculptra. This agent was approved for use only in people who have HIV-related facial fat loss. However, in spite of the manufacturers (Dermik laboratories) promise to the FDA that they would do further studies, this has not happened. Furthermore, Sculptra is being heavily marketed to patients who do not have HIV-related facial fat loss and is being used primarily for general cosmetic enhancement. At the FDA hearing for Sculptra, there was not a single piece of evidence which showed what happens to Sculptra after it is implanted under the skin. We have seen a large number of individuals where we have had to surgically cut these substances from patients faces. Finally, another filler which recently received preliminary FDA approval is Radiesse, which is a calcium derivative. Who in their right mind would want bone injected into their face? Again, at the FDA hearings for this agent, there was no data presented showing what happens under the skin once injected. Finally, at the FDA hearings for all of these agents, doctors presented testimony supporting the approval of these agents, but the doctors were all paid consultants to the corporations that manufacture these fillers; hardly unbiased testimony. So who is really protecting people and looking out for the best interest of patients? And in each of these cases, financial motivation is the culprit. People be warned. Read, research and pay very close attention. Ask questions and choose your doctors VERY carefully!
Dear Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

Japan's Ministry of Health and Labour is so far only approving Juvederm, their argument is, due to minimally invasive procedure(!)'s facial malignant cancer concern, can you believe in any of their "bureacratic" statement?
What is vanity after all? People may question how unfortunate it is that our "society is degraded to a point where people feel they have to do such things to themselves to look better..." , but we all do things to make ourselves look better-men typically shave their faces (any reason other than vanity or societal norms?), and we all groom our hair and get it cut (ZZ Top excluded). Is getting orthodontic braces okay or is it vanity and "excessive"? Who's supposed to draw the line? (Does a line need to be drawn?)
If Botox or a filler makes a person feel better about themselves, then let them make the choice.
i do have a fear of my face my mom is 34 and looks like she's 19 ia ask her whats your solution she says lotion makes it good after you shower i do that but i still fear some advice from others would be great
Response to Hailey: Sunscreen! Everyday. At least a fifteen. People get so much sun exposure every day we don't even think about. Most of the sun damage your skin will get happens before age 18. 80 percent of premature extrinsic aging is caused by sun. Not only will you put a stop to premature aging, but you will also be less likely to get skin cancer.
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