Will 5-FU Scar Injections Work To Get Rid Of My Cheek Mass After An Injectable Filler Treatment?

Q:   I have a scar tissue under my cheek bone caused by injecting an Artefill or Sculptra filler.  It’s been there since the filler was done 6 years ago. Now I’m been treated with 5-FU and Kenalog injections. I have done only 3 treatments so far but with no results. Do you think that the treatment can help to rescue the size of the scar or is there no hope?

A: Most likely your residual cheek mass is the result of an Artefill treatment and not Sculptra. Artefill is a filler that has a significant component of non-resorbable acrylic beads which settle into place by scar tissue forming through and around them. The beads are permanent. Sculptra is composed of resorbable poly-lactic crystals which causes temporary scar formation to occur which eventually goes away as the crystals eventually dissolve. After 6 years you have a residual mass that is, at least partly, due to the acrylic beads. While I think the 5-FU/kenalog scar injections are reasonable to try, I suspect they will ultimately prove unsuccessful as they are not going to make plastic beads disappear. Furthermore, this injectable scar treatment works best on scar that is newly forming not on established scar tissue.

That being said, 5-FU/kenalog scar injections often take a full course of treatment to know to be maximally effective. You have had only 3 injection treatments and the complete protocol is up to 10 injection sessions so it is too early to rule out completely that they will not work at all.

Depending upon the cheek mass/scar location, it may be more efficient to have it excised if it can be approached favorably through an intraoral (inside the mouth) incision.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana