What is lipoatrophy?
Lipoatrophy is a condition characterized by a loss of fat beneath the skin of the cheeks, also called facial wasting, in HIV patients, which can result in a gaunt appearance due to sunken cheeks, eyes and temple areas.
What causes lipoatrophy?
Many patients infected with the HIV virus experience lipoatrophy, the dramatic loss of facial subcutaneous tissue. "Hollow cheeks" is also a sign of aging. While facial lipoatrophy is not life-threatening, it is one of the most troubling complications of HIV.
How do we effectively treat lipoatrophy?
Dr. David Orentreich has done extensive research on Liquid Injectable Silicone therapy as an treatment for HIV-associated facial lipoatrophy. His work appears published in Dermatology Surgery, April 2004 and Dermatology Surgery, October 2004. In addition to Liquid Injectable Silicone (a permanent filler option), we also recommend some longer lasting temporary injectable dermal fillers for treatment of facial lipoatrophy:
- Radiesse®: An injectable synthetic calcium hydroxylapatite biocompatible gel, which is FDA-approved to correct lipoatrophy in HIV patients.
- SculptraTM : Sculptra is an injectable form of poly-L-lactic acid, a biodegradable, biocompatible synthetic polymer which works to fill sunken areas over time by gradually stimulating collagen regeneration below the skin, approved by the FDA for temporary restoration of facial wasting (lipoatrophy) in people with HIV.
What can I expect?
Treatment with injectables at Orentreich Medical Group is as pain-free as possible, as we apply a topical numbing cream for 20-30 minutes prior to filler injections. Some injectables are approved FDA-approved to be mixed with the pain-reducing local anesthetic lidocaine for further pain reduction. The injection procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Ice may be applied to each injection site afterward to reduce swelling and discomfort. You should anticipate some redness and swelling that typically lasts no more than 1-2 days. With any injection, there is always the chance of bruising.
Have a question about your treatment?
We have a dedicated triage nurse (RN) who answers patient questions during office hours. If you have a problem or question about a procedure or a prescribed medication, please call our office and ask to speak to our nurse. If she is unable to answer your question, she will consult with your practitioner and return your call.