Since ancient time, “Forever Young” has been the dream of human beings. Nowadays, the dream is going to come true by modern scientific methods. There is a kind of permanent soft tissue filler which is used in cosmetic plastic surgery and injected under the skin to plump up wrinkles and reduce folds of skin associated with aging such as the nasolabial fold which runs from the corner of the nose to the edges of the mouth. Artecoll is one of the most famous brands.
Artecoll is mostly collagen, one of the most abundant substances in all mammals. The thinning of collagen in human faces is responsible for aging, wrinkles and lines on the face. Artecoll consists of 25% Poly(methyl methacrylate)/PMMA microspheres suspended in a solution and of 75% bovine collagen. The magic PMMA microspheres are 32–40 microns in diameter (500 microns could fit in the period at the end of this sentence).
U.S. FDA Approval
Artecoll is not approved by the FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is not available legally in the United States. A next generation product Artefill was approved by the FDA in December, 2006, to treat nasolabial folds with the added condition that a five-year follow up study of patients using must be done.
Before Artefill was approved by the U.S. FDA, it was studied in 251 subjects at eight medical centers in the United States. The subjects received injections in 1334 wrinkles of the glabella, the heavy wrinkles between the eyebrows, in the corner-of-the-mouth lines, in upper lips and in the nasolabial folds. A similar group of patients received injections of ordinary collagen (with the trade name Zyplast) in the same places in their faces.
Researchers then studied the patients’ improved appearance and the reactions of research subjects to the injections. At the six-month follow up, the researchers found the Artecoll group showed 86.7 percent better augmentation of loose skin than the group which received only collagen.
Potential risks and side effects
Some researchers have found that large lumps under the skin known as granulomas developed after Artecoll injections. The lumps are a reaction to the injections and can be difficult for doctors to treat.There have also been reports of migration and severe inflammatory responses.
The granuloma that is lumps in injections occur about six months and two years after the injection in case of permanent product. This study is too short to improve the safety of artecoll or artefill. Otherwise, now in 2013, there is no available treatement for the granuloma secondary to artecoll. Somebody perhaps has also systemic reaction.