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Entries by Edward M. Zimmerman, MD (2)

Monday
Jun252012

5 Years Of Good Experiences With Artefill (PolyMethylMethacrylate)

I've been using Artefill for volume with good results for the last 5 years.

On a recent chart and procedure review, I looked critically at the use of fillers in my practice over the past 5 years. I use HA's (Hyaluronic Acids) mainly for lips; some Sculptra (activator) for volume in thicker facial tissues; lots of Radiesse-everywhere except the lips; some PRP and an increasing amount of Artefill (except for lips) to take care of patients suffering from both "filler injection fatigue" and significant volume loss.

As part of a regieme of (re)creating Beauty using the CT3+V=Beauty, Color Correction, Texture, Tightness, Tone + Volume, VOLUME is a key player for rejuvenating the facial shape and contours, putting the skin on stretch-which restores texture, tone and luster, and is often more economical (social down time and real money) for patients with less risk. When coupled with smaller lifts, blephs and various resurfacing, the overall result is synergystic, less traumatic, equally dramatic and probably more rejuvenating than any other single element taken to it's maximal benefit alone.

It is illegal to inject silicon for aesthetic use in Nevada, so Artefill is my only choice for "permanent" revolumization. Interestingly, when I discovered how well my early Artefill patients were doing, I started using even more of the product and pricing it aggressively so that patients could afford to get significant corrections with 6 to 12 syringes. Overall, it ends up being less expensive for the patient than what they spend on restoring volume with temporary gels.

We have patients out nearly 5 years, who have maintained good correction from their initial injections with this FDA approved version of poly-methyl methacrylate. While the FDA approval of this filler is for correction of nasolabial folds, I have used it off label all over the face, the dorsal hands, for horizontal necklace lines and depressed scars.  I have learned from other talented physicians, the techniques of deeper, comfortable injections that lead to significant permanent correction of temple, peri-orbital, glabellar, zygomatic, malar and "tear trough" volume. More deflated patients have avoided rhytidectomy by using up to 20 syringes. My own 56 year old, jolly cheeks enjoy 6 syringes of this material done over a year ago. My wife, though a Grandma, appears more than a decade younger than her stated age. She is a walking example of combining modalities without major surgery and a great educator for my patients.

Perhaps physicians are rightfully afraid of long lasting/permanent fillers considering the horror stories of previous products. However, any laser or scalpel carries the risk of permanent poor aesthetic outcome. And this ain't your traditional, poorly tested filler. It's got data approaching 10 years outside the US which is devoid of serious complication. The risks that do show up with this filler are generally avoided with good technique. Last year, I shot nearly 600 syringes of Artefill without any unexpected issues-just some bruising and discomfort. No granulomas, lasting nodules, sloughs, Tyndell Effect or infections... ever, so far.

So maybe the well trained hand, wielded by an artful and educated physician in the service of the well educated patient is a mitzvah (a good and honorable deed). After all, what patient enjoys quarterly mammograms or DRE's, anymore than the patient who comes to the office every 3 to 6 months to maintain their lip and tear trough filler?

Lasting corrections, done conservatively, with safe, evidence based products, should be more widely offered and utilized. They benefit select patients by allowing them the chance to (re)build their volume once and maintain it, rather than recreate it over and over. They still top off the small volume we all continue to lose, but they now find other services in the practice to utilize because they are so happy with their Artefill results.

I know I am.

Monday
May142012

How To Use CT3+V: An Equation For Creating Facial Beauty

CT3+V = A simple equation for creating or restoring facial beauty.

We all know that "Beauty" is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to creating and restoring facial beauty, we collaborate and negotiate with our patients (and sometimes their family and friends) to optimize the result and reduce the risk by using more conservative aliqotes of different techniques and technologies. Each practitioner brings their own unique skill-set and biases to the procedure room. We (hopefully) listen to the patient requests, evaluate what the underlying structure, tolerance for downtime and discomfort, economic consequenses and duration of effect is, to be able to offer the patient a scientifically valid, safe, sensible treatment plan. Then, we present a palette of procedures, techniques and technologies to consider.

What sets successful docs with many happy patients apart from the rest of the competition is attention to detail, listening to their patients (and sifting out the unrealistic ones) and having a plan that is recreated in some form (it's never the exactly the same twice) again and again.

My equation (tool) for discussing and creating facial beauty (or re-creating a more youthful appearance) is CT3+V = Beauty... short for Color, Texture, Tone, Tightness and Volume (in proportion or re-establishing proportion)

When the patient (on request) brings pictures of their face and neck that show them in yourthful repose, it is a strong tool to build consensus of what procedures and when in the scheme of possiblities, to pursue. Compare the old photos to current digital pictures obtained in 5 views-front-quarter and side views against a solid background with decent lighting and a portrait lens. Now diagnose the changes and educate the patient on the many ways you have to enhance and revitalize the issues you uncover in a systematic manner:

Color-pigment mottling and broken blood vessels respond well to various IPL's, NdYAG's, PDL's and KTP lasers depending on the patient's heritage (Fitzpatrick or Lancer skin type);

T3 (Texture, Tone and Tightening)-decide if the issues are epidermal, dermal or sub-cutaneous and treat with chemical or laser peels, focused ultrasound or radio-frequency and remember the skin looks better when "on-stretch", so Volume and surgery fit here too.  Toxins soften the dynamic wrinkles and shape the brow, but should be delivered in a artful manner that yields a natural, rather than "done" result;

Volume-Pierre Fournier, MD (Paris) taught us that "the look of youth is full" and the current saying "size matters" comes in to play here too.  Youthful features are generally softer and rounder, age makes them more severe and hollow.  Surgery helps take the luff out of the sail or the sag out of the jowl and neck, but does not effect volume very effectively.  Volume is at least as (and maybe more) important long term.  Fat and fillers (I prefer fillers for face) are a great way to go as long as you educate the patient as to how much it will really take and offer them permanent fillers (like Artefill in the USA) that can serve them well long term, once they find the look they want to preserve.

So-with every patient: define the issues, make a mutually agreeable long term plan, track the progress with digital pictures and keep an open dialog and flexibility, so that both you and your patient achieve happiness and WOW results long term. Happy patients refer their friends. Surviving aesthetic medicine these last 15 years is no accident....it's all been done with mirrors and this equation!

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