Q: Dr. Eppley, I have been getting injectable fillers into my smile lines and lips for several years now. While I really like the effects that it creates, I do tire of having to be stuck by needles and the recurring expense of doing it once or twice a year. Is there any injectable treatment that would be permanent or at least last a lot longer?
A: While current off-the-shelf injectable fillers produce some wonderful facial changes, they are synthetic and will be eventually resorbed and the effect will be lost. While no truly permanent injectable filler can be definitely claimed, there are several promising options that are now being used. Most people have probably heard of using liposuction-derived fat for injection, and it has been used for some time, but its known problem is that its survival is unpredictable. While it does work well is many areas of the face, the smiles lines and lips are not amongst the most favored. Encouraging injectable cell treatments include fibroblasts and stem cells, both harvested and grown from the patient. Taking a skin biopsy from behind your ear allows fibroblasts which make collagen to be grown for later injection. Known as laViv, this is an FDA-approved treatment that allows the injection of millions of fibroblasts into any desired facial site. Comparatively, Cryo-lip (an Indianapolis biotech company) creates large numbers of stem cells for injection into any desired area. Whether any of these cell-based injectable fillers can create a long-term permanent effect is not yet known.
Dr. Barry Eppley