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ArteFill® Permanent Injectable for Soft Tissue Augmentation: I. Mechanism of Action and Injection Techniques


After more than 25 years of research and development, in October 2006 ArteFill® became the first and only permanent injectable wrinkle filler to receive FDA approval. ArteFill is a third-generation polymeric microsphere-based filler, following its predecessor Artecoll®, which was marketed outside the United States between 1994 and 2006. ArteFill is approved for the correction of nasolabial folds and has been used in over 15,000 patients since its U.S. market introduction in February 2007. No serious side effects have been reported to date according to the FDA’s MAUDE reporting database. ArteFill consists of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres (20% by volume), 30–50 μm in diameter, suspended in 3.5% bovine collagen solution (80% by volume) and 0.3% lidocaine. The collagen carrier is absorbed within 1 month after injection and completely replaced by the patient’s own connective tissue within 3 months. Each cc of ArteFill contains approximately six million microspheres and histological studies have shown that long-term wrinkle correction consists of 80% of the patient’s own connective tissue and 20% microspheres. The standard injection technique is subdermal tunneling that delivers a strand of ArteFill at the dermal–subdermal junction. This strand beneath a wrinkle or fold acts like a support structure that protects against further wrinkling and allows the diminished thickness of the dermis to recover to its original thickness.

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