Written by Garrett R. Griffin, Facial Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Garrett Griffin left the chilly Twin Cities on February 27th, 2015 to attend a conference in Las Vegas on using Bellafill for acne scarring. Acne scarring affects millions of Americans, often making people self-conscious and less confident in social and work settings. Resurfacing using Pixel (Erbium:YAG) or CO2 lasers, and facial fillers like Sculptra or Juvederm are some of the interventions that are more commonly performed for acne scarring at Midwest Facial Plastic Surgery and Esthetic Skincare.
Bellafill is the new name for the facial filler formerly known as Artefill. Bellafill just received FDA approval to be used for acne scarring. Bellafill is made of 20% bovine collagen mixed with 80% PMMA microspheres. A skin test is required before receiving Bellafill to ensure that a person is not allergic to the bovine collagen portion. Bellafill is injected using a small needle in the same manner as other facial fillers. After injection, the body replaces the bovine collagen with a person’s own collagen, which forms around the PMMA microspheres.
Bellafill has several important differences in comparison to other facial fillers. Unlike all other fillers including Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero, Perlane, Sculptra or Radiesse, Bellafill should be considered permanent. Bellafill cannot be dissolved the way that hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane can be dissolved. Rarely, in less than 1% of individuals, the immune system can have an unusual reaction to Bellafill creating chronic inflammation called a granuloma, and in these rare cases, Bellafill may need to be surgically removed. The fact that Bellafill is essentially permanent makes it a good filler for scarring, which is a problem that most people would like to have improved forever.
Not all types of acne scars are good candidates for improvement for Bellafill. Acne scars are typically divided into 3 types: icepick, box car, and rolling scars. Ice pick and box car scars are deeper than they are wide, with sharp edges and these scars are not good candidates for Bellafill. However, rolling scars which are wider than they are deep, with gentle curves at the edges, are excellent candidates for Bellafill. Other types of depressed scars, not just acne scars, can often be improved with Bellafill as well. Midwest Facial Plastic Surgery is excited to now offer Bellafill as an option for patients with acne or other types of depressed scars.