Collagen: Autologous Collagen Improves Lines And Wrinkles

NEW YORK, NY (Feb. 20, 1998) — One of the most promising of the new materials used in the treatment of facial lines and scars is autologous, injectable, dermal collagen, or AIDC (Autologen®). Derived from the patient's own skin, AIDC may be injected into frown lines, the lines that run from the nose to the mouth (nasolabial folds), fine lines around the mouth (perioral wrinkles), and depressed scars. It may also be used for lip augmentation.

An article published in the November/December issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal, an official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), reports that the results of multiple injections of AIDC into facial lines and wrinkles appear to be favorable, achieving greater than 75% correction at one year.

One advantage of AIDC is that it is an easily injectable substance made from the patient's own skin, which avoids the risks of disease transmission and rejection by the body as a foreign substance. It also obviates the need for skin testing to check for an allergic response, a reaction sometimes occurring with the use of bovine collagen.

The procedure is done with a tiny needle and requires only local anesthesia. "Our study found that most patients require three treatments, spaced about two weeks apart to achieve the best results," says plastic surgeon Rod J. Rohrich, MD, who co-authored the article with Samuel J. Beran, MD. Dr. Rohrich cautions that it is not uncommon for a patient to experience some redness in the treated area for about 48 hours. Bleeding, infection, or extrusion (a pushing out of the material) may also occur, though the incidence of these complications is very low.

Skin may be obtained for AIDC processing from tissue that would normally be discarded after other aesthetic procedures, such as a facelift, "tummy tuck," or breast reduction. If a surgery is not planned, skin can be harvested solely for the purpose of grafting to the face.

How much skin is needed to fill in facial lines depends upon the individual patient and the thickness of the skin. The thicker skin of the abdomen, for example, will yield more AIDC per gram than the thinner skin of the eyelid, Dr. Rohrich explains. Ultimately, 1cc to 4.5cc of processed AIDC are needed to correct each line or fold.

Preparation of the tissue takes about four weeks. The processed collagen is then sent to the plastic surgeon in sterile syringes ready for injection. The syringes may be stored for up to six months under refrigeration for later use.

Of primary interest to researchers, as with all of the soft-tissue augmentation materials such as fat and other types of collagen, is the rate at which the body resorbs the substance. The long-term effectiveness of AIDC will be determined by multicenter, double-blind, prospective studies, which currently are under way.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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