Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  •  (3)
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

Lipoatrophy Overview

Lipoatrophy Overview

January 2006

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3 

The main differences among facial fillers lie in the type of substance being injected into the skin (natural or synthetic), the length of time that it lasts (temporary or permanent) and, of course, the cost (high or higher). You can compare many of these fillers side by side by giving our chart a gander.

Although there are many fillers out there, only two products -- Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) and Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapatite, Radiance) -- are approved to treat lipoatrophy in people with HIV in the United States. That means they are the only facial fillers that have a reasonable chance of being covered by your health insurance.

Even in the absence of a "cure," the war against lipoatrophy has largely been won. We now know how to prevent it by avoiding certain meds. And we have the means, if not always the money, to correct severe cases.

Unfortunately, even though Sculptra and Radiesse are approved medications in the United States, the majority of insurance carriers still see them as cosmetic treatments, so you may be in for a long, hard fight with your insurance company to get them to foot the bill. There are two important facts that argue in HIVers' favor, however: 1) lipoatrophy can cause crippling psychological (and sometimes physical) effects; and 2) the procedure "reconstructs" your face to "normal" rather than cosmetically enhancing it beyond what it was. (For more on how to get reconstructive surgery covered by insurance, click here.) So don't give up: Your persistence may pay off, and even if you lose, the more HIVers who demand a change in policy, the harder it will be for the insurance industry to assert that the procedure is purely cosmetic.

Advertisement
Although there are many reconstructive treatments available for the symptoms of lipoatrophy, few show much promise as cures for the underlying cause: mitochondrial toxicity. Two drugs that have been used for insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos), are at the top of most researchers' wish lists. But so far their actual effectiveness in restoring fat cells has proved pretty modest, especially in people who were on d4T for a long period of time. Uridine is a naturally occurring nucleoside available commercially in the supplement called NucleomaxX, a sugar-cane extract, that has some researchers excited because it appears to help in overcoming mitochondrial toxicity. Meanwhile, research into the mitochondrial mystery is moving forward.

Even in the absence of a "cure," the war against lipoatrophy has largely been won. We now know how to prevent it by avoiding certain meds. And we have the means, if not always the money, to correct severe cases.

For those like Jeff Berry who are learning to live with lipoatrophy -- and struggling to come to terms with what he calls "the death of my face" (see his column, "About Face") -- we hope that our Lipoatrophy Resource Center will offer not only information on possible strategies to combat lipoatrophy, but inspiration, support and a critical reminder that you are not alone. As cliché as it may sound, it truly is what's on the inside that counts.

 

Lipoatrophy Resources

Open Clinical Trials
Want to help find out which treatments for lipoatrophy work? Join a clinical trial!

More Information on Diagnosis and Treatment
Check out The Body's main lipoatrophy page, where you'll find more personal accounts and information about diagnosis and treatment.

Ask the Experts
You can browse a collection of facial wasting questions and answers from The Body's experts. Or you can post your own question in our forums on facial wasting or managing side effects.

In-Depth Booklet
The Body offers a booklet called An HIVer's Guide to Metabolic Complications, which includes a section on lipoatrophy.

Conference Coverage
Keep an eye on The Body's conference coverage -- you never know what kind of interesting lipoatrophy research may be presented.

Lipoatrophy Mailing List
If you want to talk to other HIVers about their experience with facial fillers, join PWA (person with AIDS) activist Nelson Vergel's e-mail list.

FacialWasting.org
Offers lipoatrophy research, an overview of reconstructive procedures, a message board and further resources.

Dermik Laboratories -- The Maker of Sculptra
If you're interested in Sculptra treatments, visit Dermik's Sculptra Web site.

 

For more on body shape changes in general, check out this in depth interview with patient advocate Nelson Vergel and researcher Donald Kotler, M.D.

Got comments? Want to share your story? Tell us what you think!

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3 


  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  •  (3)
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

 

 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Tools
 

Advertisement