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Just curious: do you think a treatment for body lipoatrophy will become available in the US?

Oct 10, 2011

I have heard a lot of favorable information about Sculptra, Radiesse, and other temporary fillers being effective at restoring facial wasting due to HIV meds or aging; however, I understand that they are too cost prohibitive to use to correct lipoatrophy in other parts of the body, such as limbs or butts. My husband, who is 47, is not HIV-positive and does not take meds, has leg and butt wasting due to post-polio syndrome and thus is too self-conscious to ever wear shorts in summertime. (He was born in 1964, was abandoned by his biological parents, and did not receive a polio vaccine or any good medical care in the orphanage during his early years; that is how he caught the disease.)

I am aware of the use of PMMA fillers in Brazil and Mexico to correct either facial or body lipoatrophy. However, I have heard that they are extremely difficult to remove in the event of overfilling, unhappiness with results, infection, or an opportunity to permanently reverse the lipoatrophy. and attempts to do so by excision of surrounding tissue can lead to scarring and other disfigurations which would require more reconstructive surgery. I would not want to go through that in the event I ever needed facial or body reconstruction for any reason, and I would not want my husband or anyone else close to me to, either. I have also heard of Bio-Alcamid, which is available in Canada and is said to be removable, but has been linked to reports of infections.

My question is, do you think there is hope that a "semipermanent" filler which is similar to Bio-Alcamid but associated with a lower risk of infection, or a drug that can permanently reverse fat loss in either face or body, will become available in the US? My husband is actually very indifferent about wanting to have his legs reconstructed, but I am just curious as to what is out there in case he ever changes his mind about it.

Response from Dr. Pierone

Hello, and thanks for posting.

I do not hold out much hope of permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary fillers for body use in the United States. The market is driven by facial fillers and these agents are typically very expensive for a small volume of product. It is hard to imagine the larger volumes needed for body treatment to ever become affordable in the U.S. The cost of the large volumes of PMMA necessary for body injections is often cost prohibitive, even with the low cost products that are available in Mexico and Brazil,

A drug to reverse fat loss in specific areas would be very unlikely. The agent would have to preferentially induce fat in some areas and not others, a formidable task. In any case, the big push in the pharmaceutical industry is to produce a drug to safely induce fat loss.

Good luck!

PMMA Nodules
Facial Wasting and Tummy Tuck

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