Artefill is the first and only FDA approved wrinkle filler in the United States. As cosmetic surgeons, we have waited a long time for a safe product such as Artefill to become available to our patients. Although there have been other products on the market (such as silicone and Medpor, etc) none have been FDA approved and none have had the safety heritage of Artefill’s predecessor – Artecoll.
Artefill is essentially a mixture of purified Bovine collagen as well as Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres in an 80:20 ratio. There is also 0.3% Lidocaine (anesthetic solution) mixed with the collagen for added patient comfort. The collagen portion resorbs over several weeks but the PMMA micro-spheres remain and become encapsulated by the body as a permanent “filler.” Most patients will require two or three treatment sessions spread about four to eight weeks apart in order to achieve the final desired result without “over-filling.”
The treatment initially involves a simple skin test to ensure that the patient is not allergic to the Bovine collagen component of Artefill. If after a month, no signs of allergic reaction are seen then the treatment can be performed safely. The skin test involves placement of 0.1cc of Artefill test mixture under the skin of the forearm in the same manner as a PPD (T.B. test).
The FDA has approved Artefill for wrinkle reduction of the Nasolabial folds (deep lines extending from the sides of the nostrils to the corners of the mouth). Although the FDA approval is for correction of the nasolabial folds, Artefill can also be used for the correction of other deep facial lines. Artefill should not be used around the eyes, in the lips, or in superficial lines. However, it can be used for permanent tissue augmentation such as for malar (cheek) augmentation in place of a malar or submalar implant or in place of fat injection or even a mid-face lift. It can also be used to augment the chin or the pre-jowl area in place of implants.
The cost is higher than traditional fillers such as Restylane or Collagen but given its permanent nature, Artefill is cost effective overall with a cost per syringe that is only slightly higher than that of Radiesse (another filler that lasts about 12-18 months).
This is a very exciting product and hopefully over the coming months to years, it will prove to be a powerful tool in the armamentarium of the Facial Plastic Surgeon allowing us to help our patients avoid the cost and discomfort of routine and frequent injections two or three times per year. It should also replace or augment fat injection in many locations on the face except around the eyes for now.