Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 354–366 | Cite as

Human Histology and Persistence of Various Injectable Filler Substances for Soft Tissue Augmentation

  • Gottfried Lemperle
  • Vera Morhenn
  • Ulrich Charrier


An increasing number of soft tissue filler substances have been introduced to the beauty market outside the U.S. which lack experimental and clinical data in support of their claim. Ten commercially available filler substances were examined for biocompatibility and durability: 0.1 cc of each substance was injected deep intradermally into the volar forearm of one of the authors and observed for clinical reaction and permanence. At 1, 3, 6, and 9 months the test sites were excised, histologically examined, and graded according to foreign body reactions classification. Collagen (Zyplast) was phagocytosed at 6 months and hyaluronic acid (Restylane) at 9 months. PMMA microspheres (Artecoll) had encapsulated with connective tissue, macrophages, and sporadic giant cells. Silicone oil (PMS 350) was clinically inconspicuous but dissipated into the tissue, causing a chronic foreign body reaction. Polylactic acid microspheres (New-Fill) induced a mild inflammatory response and had disappeared clinically at 4 months. Dextran microspheres (Reviderm intra) induced a pronounced foreign body reaction and had disappeared at 6 months. Polymethylacrylate particles (Dermalive) induced the lowest cellular reaction but had disappeared clinically at 6 months. Polyacrylamide (Aquamid) was well tolerated and remained palpable to a lessening degree over the entire testing period. Histologically, it dissipated more slowly and was kept in place through fine fibrous capsules. Polyvinylhydroxide microspheres suspended in acrylamide (Evolution) were well tolerated, slowly diminishing over 9 months. Calcium hydroxylapatite microspheres (Radiance FN) induced almost no foreign body reaction but were absorbed by the skin at 12 months.

Host defense mechanisms react differently to the various filler materials, but all substances—resorbable or nonresorbable—appeared to be clinically and histologically safe, although all exhibit undesirable side effects. Since the mechanism of late inflammation or granuloma formation is still unknown, early histological findings are not useful in predicting possible late reactions to filler substances.


Dermal filler substances Soft tissue augmentation Aquamid Artecoll Dermalive Evolution New-Fill-Radiance FN Restylane Reviderm intra 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gottfried Lemperle
    • 1
  • Vera Morhenn
    • 2
  • Ulrich Charrier
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Plastic SurgeryUniversity of California, San Diego, CAUSA
  2. 2.Division of DermatologyUniversity of California, San Diego, CAUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Pathology, FrankfurtGermany

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