Radiesse filling a need

May 1, 2006

Las Vegas - The calcium hydroxylapatite filler Radiesse(Bioform) has its share of caveats, but the filler generally offersgood correction that lasts for a year or more, with side effectsunlikely, according to Alastair Carruthers, M.D., speaking at theAnnual Meeting of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology andAesthetic Surgery.

Dr. Carruthers presents images from an ongoing study involving 30 patients in which an initial treatment of about 4.5 ml was followed by about 1 ml a month later in HIV-positive individuals with facial lipoatrophy. Considerable correction was seen at month three, and for some patients, even better results emerged at month six.

Not without its caveats

"Compared to Restylane (Q-Med), a big difference with Radiesse is there is pain on injection, followed by swelling and redness," says Dr. Carruthers, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia and founder, along with his wife, Jean Carruthers, M.D., of the Carruthers Dermatology Centre, Inc.

Bruising is also an issue, especially with deep injections and among patients without much facial fat, and Dr. Carruthers says that his experience has been that Radiesse is more difficult to inject than the hyalurons.

Importantly, the product should not be used in the lips or teardrops, he adds.

"Radiesse is not designed for those areas and you will get into trouble."

Filling a need

Though classified as a temporary filler, Radiesse's results are long-lasting, but an important condition for its use is the need to inform patients that initial swelling for the first couple of days could noticeably change their appearance and, a patient with HIV, for instance, may need to prepare for that.

Patients with facial lipoatrophy from HIV provide perhaps the most dramatic examples of volume loss. But most dermatologists see milder cases in non-HIV patients every day and the results of volume restoration can be tremendously satisfying for both types of patients, Dr. Carruthers emphasizes.

"I can assure you non-HIV-positive individuals would respond with the same enthusiasm to volume restoration, and I feel this is an extremely important quality of life issue," Dr. Carruthers says.

Disclosure: Dr. Carruthers reports that the study was paid for by Bioform Inc., and he that he is on the company's medical board.