ArteFill is the second "composite filler" approved for use in the United States. It was approved in late 2006, about the same time Silicone Breast Implants were re-approved for use in cosmetic breast enlargement operations. Although the actual duration of results is still unknown, it is the first and so far the only soft tissue filler available that might give permanent results.
ArteFill is an advanced composite material, derived from the same concept as Radiesse. It is composed of 80 % bovine collagen (with a trace of lidocaine) and 20 % polymethylmethacrylate microspheres (PMMAM). When injected, it initially acts just like any other filler, but while the body absorbs the collagen, it cannot absorb the PMMAM, which are made of the same material as plexiglass and many other plastic products, so they remain as a matrix around which your body's own tissue fills in to create permanent wrinkle correction.
The technology behind ArteFill only began development in 2004, and it has been approved for use in the United States for a short time, so it is impossible to know how permanent the results of treatment will be. However, all indications seem to be that the results are highly persistent. In one study, over the lifetime of hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm, the results did not diminish at all. Of course, since our bodies will continue to age, new wrinkles and folds will most likely appear.
ArteFill has the potential to be a permanent change, so it is often recommended that you first gauge the results you wish to achieve with short-term fillers before getting treatment with ArteFill. And because it contains bovine collagen, the FDA also requires that you take an ArteFill allergy test 28 days before receiving treatment. The bovine collagen is highly purified and from a closed-herd stock of domestic cattle, and none of the participants of the initial clinical trials had an allergic reaction to the treatment, but the test is still required.
The actual treatment is similar to other injectable fillers and takes only 15-30 minutes.
- Numbing cream is spread on the area to be treated
- ArteFill is injected deep into the skin
- Your doctor may gently massage the treated area to avoid lumpiness at the injection site, but you should avoid massaging it yourself
- To avoid overtreatment, your doctor may underinject, so you may require two or three treatments to achieve full results
After the injections, you may see swelling and redness for as long as week. In clinical studies, the observed side effects of ArteFill were:
- Lumpiness at the injection site
- Persistent swelling or redness
- Hypersensitivity in treated areas
- Rash or itching for more than 48 hours after injection
All of these side effects occurred in less than 5 % of the subjects treated.
Comparison with Other Treatments
ArteFill treatments are appropriate for most facial areas where soft tissue fillers are used. It is especially good in areas of deep fat loss, such as the cheeks or undereye hollows. It is not good for areas where the texture may be problematic, such as for lip augmentation or in areas of thin skin. It may also not be a good treatment for people with sensitive skin who may either experience persistent swelling, rash, or irritation.
It is not a treatment for some types of wrinkles, known as dynamic wrinkles, which are due not to folding in the skin, but to habitual muscle contractions of some muscles. These wrinkles are treated with Botox Cosmetic injections that paralyze the muscles flaccidly, leading to a smoothing of the skin.
If you are interested in learning more about ArteFill or other soft tissue fillers, schedule an injectable treatment consultation with a local plastic surgeon today.