Lipoatrophy : About Face - by David Evans

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Back to home » HIV 101 » POZ Focus » Lipoatrophy

Table of Contents

Saving Face—and Arms and Legs

The Latest on “Lipo”

Fat Facts

The Lipo-Med Link

Looking for Lipo

About Face

Willing to Experiment

Looking At Options

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(Nov. 07).

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About Face

by David Evans

When fat doesn’t come back, facial fillers to help restore what’s lost are an option.

Reversing facial lipoatrophy is possible, but it comes with a price tag. Approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or not, restorative “facial filling” isn’t usually covered by public or private insurance plans and can cost $2,000 or more.

A number of facial fillers are currently available—there are organic and synthetic options as well as injectable and surgical procedures. Regardless of which product you choose, it is very important that restorative therapy for facial lipoatrophy be administered by an expert, meaning a board-certified plastic surgeon or specialist with experience using the product selected to treat facial lipoatrophy (see “Only the Best,” below).

What’s FDA-Approved?
To date, the FDA has approved two products for HIV-related facial wasting, one called either Sculptra or New-Fill and another called Radiesse. Sculptra requires a series of two to six treatment sessions and typically lasts for about a year. Radiesse is also temporary but appears to last a bit longer than other temporary fillers.

What Else Is Available?
There are many other filler options available in the U.S. and abroad, although they are not approved for HIV by the FDA. First there are temporary solutions—procedures that may need repeating to maintain fullness—such as fat transfers. This involves surgically removing fat from one part of the body, such as the butt, and injecting it into the face. There’s also collagen and hyaluronic acid (Restylane), both of which are injected with a needle.

Longer-lasting fillers are also available. These include injectable silicone oil microdroplets (Silikon 1000), polymethylmethacrylate (ArteFill) and polyalkylimide (Bio-Alcamid). Surgically implanted fillers, such as Gore-Tex, are another possibility.  

To learn more about facial fillers for lipo, log on to  


Facial filling and fixing is an art. Ask your surgeon the following questions before the needles and knives come out:

  • Are they board-certified and a member of a professional
  • organization such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons?
  • How many people with HIV-related facial wasting have they treated? Will they allow you to talk to any of them about their experience?
  • What treatments do they have the most experience using for facial wasting?
  • What are all the costs associated with the treatment?
  • What is their policy if you are unsatisfied with the results?

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