I just arrived back from a meeting put on by Suneva Medical, the makers of Bellafill. The meeting had most of the best top physician injectors of Bellafill in the US present. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the best practices for teaching other Bellafill injectors how to get safe, high quality results with this exceptional filler.
During the meeting we were asked some questions about Bellafill and I thought that I would share the questions and my answers with you.
In your words, please describe what Filler Fatigue means?
Filler fatigue is a “beauty buzz word” that can have many meanings in the cosmetic, plastic surgery realm. Some patients have filler fatigue because they have gone “over the top” with fillers and have become tired of the unnatural look. Kylie Jenner is a good example. She has had all of the filler she used to have in her face dissolved.
Others think that filler fatigue is saggy skin from getting filler over a long period of time. In other words, some people who have been getting filler for a long time may have stretched out their skin with too much filler and their facial features and are looking old and tired despite the fillers.
Many patients who have been getting filler for years are now finding that the same volume of filler they have had regularly for years is just not achieving the look that they want. This is usually because they are simply getting older and have naturally lost volume in their face. While some providers in the industry call this filler fatigue, in my mind, it is just aging and time for either more filler or some other rejuvenating procedure like a facelift.
For most people, filler fatigue is really just a weariness of repeated injections with the short-term fillers, such as Restylane or Juvederm that only last 6 to 12 months. What these patients have is either needle fatigue or more commonly, credit card fatigue.
How is Bellafill the right solution for patients feeling filler fatigue?
Since Bellafill is a long acting filler, it is the perfect cure for filler fatigue or filler credit card fatigue. Bellafill has been shown that it will last at least 5 years and I have seen it working well after 10 years. I call it the one and done solution for facial aging problems that are suited to a filler remedy.
Tell us how you know when a patient is ready for a longer lasting filler.
I think of Bellafill as a volume replacer rather than a filler. In my mind it restores volume in the face much like fat grafting, but Bellafill is far more predictable. As a result, any patient with signs of aging that can be improved or corrected with filler is ready for Bellafill.
Collagen & Aging
Describe facial aging?
Studies have shown that we age by losing, not only elasticity in our skin, but perhaps more importantly, we lose volume of our facial tissues, especially in the central part of our face; around the mouth and the central part of our cheeks under the eyes. This results in the tired and sad look that develops as we get older and slowly evolves from the youthful face of our twenties.
What happens to the collagen in a face as we age?
Collagen is a key component of the various structures of the face; skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle and bone. As we age, we lose volume largely due to collagen loss.
How and why is Bellafill the right solution for patients’ experiencing a loss of collagen?
Bellafill is a two-stage product. When it is first injected, it is largely bovine collagen. Over the ensuing 3 to 6 months, the bovine collagen is absorbed and, in the meantime, the tiny PMMA bead that make up about 10% of each syringe of Bellafill, stimulate your body to replace the bovine collagen with your own natural collagen. Therefore, in the second stage, the Bellafill is gone and is replaced by your own tissue. Since the PMMA remains in place over the years, the collagen correction the Bellafill provides will last a long time. If replacing lost collagen is one of the keys to quality facial rejuvenation, then Bellafill is a tremendous filler to accomplish this.
Safety of Bellafill
Why do you think Bellafill is the best 5 year filler on the market?
Bellafill is the only FDA approved 5 year filler on the market in the US and Canada.
When it comes to safety, how does Bellafill compare to other fillers on the market?
The safety studies on Bellafill, which are the most comprehensive of all the filler studies show a rate of adverse events that is lower than all of the other fillers. Unfortunately, there are no good comparative studies of filler safety readily available, but the 5 year study of Bellafill showed a granuloma rate of less than 1% and that compares very favorably with the published granuloma rate seen with the hyaluronic acid fillers or (HAs). The problem is that most of the HAs only last up to 12 months.
Since Bellafill is a long term filler, one would expect the adverse event numbers to be increasing year over year, but remarkably, the rate has stayed the same each year at 0.12% for the lasrt 10 years in the FDA post market survey data.
Bellafill in Practice:
Why did you decide to bring Bellafill into your practice?
I initially adopted Bellafill into my plastic surgery tool chest because I am a believer in value and a 5 year filler certainly delivers in the area of value as compared to a temporary filler. Most of my filler patients also saw this value of Bellafill and converted to Bellafill because they felt it was pointless to “rent” your filler. In addition, t did not take long to recognize the competitive advantage Bellafill brought to the practice as more and more patients started to seek out a long term filler for their facial rejuvenation filler needs.
After treating your patients with a lasting filler, what other services do your patients continue to come back to your practice for?
Many Bellafill patients come back to the practice for more Bellafill. They also bring their friends with them when they come back.
Frequently, patients come in for facial rejuvenation and decide to have not only volume restoration with Bellafill but also restoration of their skin elasticity with treatments such as microneedling, chemical peels and surgical procedures ranging from face and neck lifts to blepharoplasty and even rhinoplasty.
Explain to us what you say to a potential patient during a consultation on Bellafill.
A consultation starts with an evaluation of a patient’s goals and then an examination to determine their needs. A review of the potential solutions to meet their needs then takes place. If filler is one of the options, we discuss Bellafilll as the optimal filler and highlight the value of a 5 year filler versus other fillers. The exceptional results that can be achieved with this filler are shown to the patient with before and after photos of patients with similar concerns who have been treated with Bellafill.
When patients express concerns over Bellafill because it is a long term filler that cannot be removed I make two points to them:
- I explain that is why a patient needs to be very careful who they chose to do their filler procedure. A syringe of filler is like a pencil. A pencil can be placed in an artist’s hands or the hands of a 2 year old. Invariably, the results will be drastically different,
- The one month satisfaction rate for Bellafill is, similar to Juvederm and Restylane, very high. At 12 months, the satisfaction rating for Juvederm and Restylane has dropped of to below 40% but the rating for Bellafill is up at around 93%.
How has Bellafill changed your practice?
I now rarely use any other filler than Bellafill because my patients love their results. They continue to send more their friends and family to have Bellafill which may be the best endorsement for this filler there is.