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Bellafill Injections in NYC

Originally approved for nasolabial folds (smile lines) and indented acne scars, Bellafill can also be used for cheeks.

Bellafill® is an FDA-approved injectable dermal filler that was originally approved for nasolabial folds (smile lines), indented acne scars, and the cheeks. Bellafill is great for providing immediate volume replacement and is particularly known for its long lasting effects in treating patients who suffer from acne scarring. Bellafill lasts much longer than traditional hyaluronic acid injectable fillers that are currently on the market for facial rejuvenation. Many patients who suffer from depressed, atrophic acne scars and need to replace this lost volume are great candidates for Bellafill and can see immediate improvements. Dr. Michele Green in NYC was one of the first cosmetic dermatologists in to incorporate Bellafill injections for her acne scar patients and can help you drastically reduce the appearance of your acne scars.

Bellafill, manufactured by Suneva Medical, Inc., was FDA-approved in 2006. It is currently the longest lasting dermal filler on the market in the United States. Bellafill was originally FDA approved for correction of nasolabial folds, and has been recently approved to treat acne scars in patients. Bellafill offers longer term correction than traditional hyaluronic acid fillers, and is indicated for the correction of moderate to severe acne scars in patients over 21 years of age. Bellafill, unlike traditional hyaluronic dermal fillers, can last more than one year for depressed acne scars. Bellafill can also be used in other areas of the face, such as the chin and cheeks, to replace lost facial volume. It remains one of the many non-invasive options to rejuvenate your appearance without plastic surgery and downtime.

If you are struggling with acne scars, Dr. Michele Green is here to help. Dr. Green is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in NYC who is an expert in non-surgical facial rejuvenation and treating acne scars. She was one of the first dermatologists in New York to utilize Bellafill for patients with acne scars and has since treated countless patients with Bellafill and other dermal fillers to enhance their appearance and restore lost collagen. Dr. Green has over 25 years of experience in treating acne scars and utilizes a combination of dermal fillers, cutting edge lasers, Fraxel, chemical peels, subcision, TCA Cross, microneedling, PRP, Vivace, and the best skin care to rejuvenate your skin.

What is Bellafill?

Bellafill is an FDA approved, long-term filler that treats distensible acne scars for up to one year. Bellafill is an improved version of Artefill, which has been used in Europe for over a decade. Bellafill is manufactured by Suneva Medical, Inc. and comes in the form of a smooth gel. It is composed of synthetic microspheres of polymethyl methacrylate (or PMMA), suspended in purified bovine (cow) collagen gel. The PMMA microspheres create a matrix which supports your body’s own natural collagen production. While it was originally approved for nasolabial folds (commonly known as “smile lines”), Dr. Green now utilizes Bellafill for atrophic acne scars. Bellafill can also help restore volume loss in the the temple, cheeks, and chin.

How does Bellafill work?

Bellafill is composed of 80% purified bovine collagen and 20% polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres. The collagen immediately adds volume to the skin in order to plump up wrinkles and scars, bringing them up to the level of the surrounding skin. The 20% PMMA is non-resorbable, which means that unlike the collagen, your body won’t absorb it over time. The PMMA then acts as a biostimulant, encouraging your body to generate its own natural collagen. After Bellafill is injected into the treatment area, new collagen growth will be stimulated. Most patients will notice a difference after the first treatment. The full effect can take months, since it takes time for new collagen tissue to form around the PMMA. For patients with indented acne scars, Bellafill injections stimulate the body to produce its own collagen, replacing volume loss and collagen in these acne scars. Most patients require two or more treatments to have full correction and the best cosmetic results.

What is the process of Bellafill treatment?

The process of a Bellafill treatment is a little more comprehensive than the use of other dermal fillers for acne scarring. Bellafill is more likely to cause allergic reactions due to its ingredients than other dermal fillers. In order to make sure that Bellafill is a suitable choice for you, a skin test will be performed to identify any patients who are allergic to bovine collagen or lidocaine. During your consultation, photos will be taken of the treatment area, and then a skin test with a small amount of the collagen gel will be placed in your forearm. It is advised that patients refrain from any blood thinners, aspirin, Aleve, Motrin, multivitamins, alcohol, or herbal supplements, like fish oil, for about one week before your Bellafill injections, in order to minimize bruising. 

Your second visit will happen four weeks later. Provided there is no adverse reaction to the skin test, you can then have the first round of Bellafill injections. A topical numbing cream is applied one hour before the injections to make you feel more comfortable. For acne scars, Dr. Green combines Bellafill with subcision in order to effectively replace lost collagen and create the best environment for new collagen formation. After the injection, ice is applied to minimize any bruising. There is no downtime and you should be able to return to your normal, day-to-day activities immediately. However, it is advised that you refrain from intense exercise, hot tubs, saunas and hot yoga for several days after your procedure. Following these guidelines will help ensure that any downtime from your Bellafill injections is minimized. A third visit follow-up visit is typically scheduled 4 to 6 weeks later, as one or more follow-up sessions may be needed to achieve full wrinkle correction or restore lost volume.

acne asian skin treatment

Bellafill and acne scars

Acne scars are extremely common and affect one in five people. They are often the result of acne breakouts, inflammation, or infection. Often, the infection within the pustule spreads into the surrounding tissue and causes acne scars. These deeper scars can appear depressed due to a loss of skin tissue and the skin’s inability to produce sufficient collagen to replace the damage. These types of depressed acne scars are called atrophic acne scars and can easily be addressed with Bellafill and subcision to replace the volume loss and help break up the residual scar tissue.

Some acne scars can be the opposite and appear raised instead of depressed. These types of acne scars are known as hypertrophic acne scars and form as a result of excess tissue that is produced during the healing process. Bellafill will not be helpful in addressing these types of scars. However, there are skin resurfacing lasers that can help. Many individuals have a combination of both atrophic and hypertrophic scars and can benefit from a combination treatment of Bellafill fillers and lasers like the Fraxel, eMatrix, and VBeam lasers. Other treatment options for mixed types of acne scars include microneedling, chemical peels, and certain skincare products.

Dr. Green utilizes many cosmetic lasers in tandem with Bellafill injections to improve acne scars. The Fraxel is a fractionated laser that creates hundreds of microscopic treatment zones deep within the dermis to help eliminate hyperpigmentation, improve skin texture and treat acne scars. For skin of color, Dr. Green uses the eMatrix laser, a radiofrequency based laser, which delivers heat deep within the dermis to remodel and form new collagen in the skin. This new collagen allows the skin to heal and reduce acne scars after just a few treatments. For red acne scars, Dr. Green utilizes the VBeam laser. The VBeam relies on pulsed dye light energy which is converted to heat when it reaches the skin. This light energy will effectively reduce redness and treat red acne scars. Research has shown that the VBeam laser also reduces Inflammatory acne lesions by an average of 85% and non-inflammatory lesions by approximately 70%. A combination of these lasers and Bellafill injection will yield long-lasting cosmetic results for patients suffering from acne scars.

Other treatment options for acne scars include chemical peels. TCA Cross (Trichloroacetic acid) can be applied to atrophic scars to stimulate the formation of new elastin and collagen. TCA Cross can be combined with Fraxel for even more effective results in reducing acne scars. Microneedling or RF microneedling with Vivace also reduces acne scarring by stimulating new collagen and elastin production. During your consultation with Dr. Green, she will examine your skin and help to determine the best treatment options for you.

Are there any side effects to Bellafill?

It is possible you’ll experience side effects after your Bellafill treatments. Potential side effects may include swelling, redness, pain, bruising, lumps, bumps, itching, and discoloration at the injection site. Some patients have experienced lumps or bumps within the first few weeks. Less common side effects include rash and itching more than 48 hours after treatment, persistent swelling or redness, lumps, bumps, acne, infection, and increased sensitivity at the treatment site. A skin test is required to make sure that you do not have an allergic reaction to bovine collagen or to lidocaine (a local anesthetic), since both are in Bellafill. An allergic reaction can last up to five years in duration, or for the length of time that the filler lasts. If you have a history of any bleeding disorders, allergy to bovine collagen or lidocaine, severe allergies, thick scar formation (keloids) and/or excessive scarring, you would not be an appropriate candidate for Bellafill injections and alternate procedures can be discussed. Even with good results from the skin test, it is still possible for patients to develop an allergic reaction to Bellafill. A small percentage of patients may develop granulomas. Since Bellafill cannot be dissolved like traditional hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane, it is of the utmost importance to consult an experienced board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Green, or a qualified plastic surgeon, who is adept at using Bellafill. In addition, if you are prone to hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation, Bellafill may not be the best choice of dermal fillers.

Who is a good candidate for Bellafill?

A good candidate for Bellafill is a healthy individual over 21 years of age with atrophic acne scars or moderate to severe facial volume loss. They should not be allergic to bovine collagen or lidocaine, two ingredients in Bellafill that can cause allergic reactions. Patients interested in Bellafill should be aware that Bellafill is a long lasting dermal filler and cannot be dissolved like other hyaluronic dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvederm. Many patients choose to use Bellafill if they do not like the results from other dermal fillers like Juvederm and Restylane.

If you have a history of any bleeding disorders, allergy to bovine collagen or lidocaine, severe allergies, thick scar formation (keloids) and/or excessive scarring, you would not be an appropriate candidate for Bellafill injections and alternate procedures can be discussed. Otherwise, Bellafill is a great option and will add immediate volume and help contour your face. It will also act as a wrinkle filler and decrease fine lines and creases. Additionally, it will add structural support to depressed atrophic acne scars. It would be best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Green to discuss what acne scar treatment plan will work best for you.

acne treatment still photo

FAQs:  Frequently asked questions about Bellafill

When patients consult our office about Bellafill treatments, these are some of their most frequently asked questions:

Who makes Bellafill?

Bellafill is manufactured by Suneva Medical, Inc. which is a privately held aesthetic based company. They specialize in minimally invasive cosmetic medical devices. In addition to Bellafill, Suneva manufactures Silhouette Instalift, Plasma IQ plasma energy device, PRP tubes, and the Seru Glow System microchanneling device.

What is Bellafill made of?

Bellafill is composed of bovine collagen, non-resorbable polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres, and lidocaine. Bovine collagen is derived from cows and may cause allergic reactions. Approximately 3 percent of the population are allergic to bovine collagen which is why a skin test is necessary before injecting Bellafill.

What is Bellafill used for?

Bellafill is FDA-approved to treat moderate to severe nasolabial folds (smile lines) and improve the appearance of acne scars. Bellafill can be used to replace lost collagen for the cheeks, chin, and around the mouth. Bellafill cannot be used under the eye area or in the lips.

How does Bellafill work?

Bellafill is injected into the skin to either correct nasolabial folds or atrophic acne scars. Bellafill works by plumping up the skin via its bovine collagen and PMMA microsphere components which will provide structural support. This will smooth away wrinkles and folds while adding volume to depressed acne scars. When combined with subcision, Bellafill works to break up scar tissue and promote dermal remodeling and collagen formation. Over time, your acne scars will improve and your skin will be left looking younger and more even in texture.

How much does Bellafill cost?

The cost of Bellafill treatment varies depending upon the number of syringes used, your geographic location, and the experience of your injector. A single cosmetic syringe of Bellafill can cost upwards of $1,500 and more, and the number of syringes you will need will depend on how deep and how many atrophic acne scars you have. Some patients need multiple syringes when treating acne scars or replacing lost volume. The best injectors are board-certified cosmetic dermatologists with years of experience, like Dr. Michele Green in NYC. Experienced board certified physicians be more expensive than a MedSpa but offer unparalleled expertise and will minimize any side effects and downtime.

How long does Bellafill last?

When used to correct acne scars, studies have shown Bellafill to be effective for one to two years. When used for nasolabial folds, the effectiveness has been shown to last five years. An advantage over some other dermal fillers is that the PMMA microspheres in Bellafill remain behind after the injected collagen is absorbed by the body. The PMMA microspheres stimulate your body to produce more of its own natural collagen, and they act as a “scaffold” for its growth. This can lead to results you’ll notice and appreciate beyond the duration of the improvements initially caused by the injected collagen. One benefit of Bellafill when compared to traditional hyaluronic acid fillers is that it lasts longer, so you will need fewer touch-up treatments.

microneedling acne

Is Bellafill safe?

Bellafill is safe and FDA approved. Prior to any procedures you will be given a skin test to make sure that you are not allergic to bovine collagen or lidocaine. Provided the results of the skin test are good, Bellafill can be an excellent choice. As with all procedures of this nature, side effects are possible. All possible side effects should be discussed with your doctor, including rare instances of granuloma formation.

Is Bellafill permanent?

Bellafill is not truly permanent although it is a long lasting injectable filler. Some patients find other, shorter-lived temporary fillers frustrating, due to the requirement of comparatively frequent return visits in order to maintain results. The results of Bellafill can last up to five years, and sometimes longer.

Can Bellafill be dissolved or reversed?

Bellafill will slowly dissolve on its own over time although the PMMA microspheres will likely remain as a scaffolding for additional collagen formation. However, Bellafill cannot be readily dissolved or reversed like other dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvederm which are made from hyaluronic acid. Some patients may have rare side effects that cause them to develop nodules and granulomas which will need to be excised. As such, it is impertinent that you go to a board-certified dermatologist so they can do adequate testing and minimize your risk of side effects. Even with skin testing, you can still develop an allergic reaction or have adverse effects once injected. Therefore, you will need to be certain that you want to get Bellafill and be aware of the associated risks.

Where can Bellafill be injected?

Bellafill can be injected into several different areas of the face. It can be used to treat moderate to severe distensible facial acne scars, and facial wrinkles such as smile lines in the nasolabial area. It can also be injected into the temples, cheeks and chin.

Can Bellafill be used in the lips?

Bellafill should not be injected into the lips, as there is an added risk of complications due to the specific musculature and blood flow. There are other dermal fillers and injectable fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane which are perfect for lip augmentation.

Can Bellafill be used under the eyes?

Bellafill is not FDA-approved for use under the eyes. Better alternative for under eye fillers are hyaluronic acid dermal fillers such as Belotero or Restylane. These dermal fillers are chiefly composed of hyaluronic acid and will help restore lost volume and boost collagen. In addition, If you are unhappy with the cosmetic results, it can also easily be dissolved with hyaluronidase, unlike Bellafill.

Does Bellafill migrate?

Bellafill should not migrate outside of where it was injected with proper precautions. Once you get injected, do not massage the treatment area for 72 hours and try not to apply any pressure to the site. You should also refrain from heavy aerobic exercise for 24 hours after injection.

How does Bellafill compare to Juvederm?

Bellafill and Juvederm are two very different types of dermal fillers. One notable difference between these two dermal fillers is the longevity of the results. In clinical studies the effects of Bellafill have been shown to last for up to five years. In one clinical study, 87% of patients who had been treated with Bellafill for their smile lines were still happy with their cosmetic improvement five years later. Juvederm typically lasts around 9 months, so it requires a greater number of follow-up treatments to continue the effects.

Bellafill is a bovine collagen based filler, and needs to be skin tested before administering. The collagen gel works to immediately replace lost volume in the treated area, and the PMMA lays the groundwork for future natural collagen growth. In contrast, Juvederm has a base of hyaluronic acid, which works by drawing water to the treated area. As with all injectable dermal fillers, both Bellafill and Juvederm can cause bruising and some swelling after treatment. 

Another difference between Bellafill and Juvederm is the feasibility of dissolving the product, should you be unhappy with the results. Since one component of Bellafill is PMMA, there is no way to dissolve the product if you are unhappy with the results or have an allergic reaction to it. With Juvederm or any other hyaluronic dermal filler, if you are unhappy with the results or have an allergic reaction, you can have hyaluronidase injected into the treatment area to dissolve the product.

How much Bellafill do I need?

The amount of Bellafill needed can vary from patient to patient. During your consultation, Dr. Green will determine how much Bellafill is required for the specific corrections you’re seeking. For acne scars, it depends on the amount of scars and the depth of your acne scars. The goal is to lift the depressed areas to the level of the surrounding skin, providing a smooth, youthful appearance.

How many syringes of Bellafill will I need injected?

The number of syringes required depends upon the amount of volume that needs to be replaced. For acne scars, this is determined by factors such as the number, type, and depth of your specific acne scars.

What are the alternatives to Bellafill injections?

The main alternatives to Bellafill are hyaluronic acid dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. These more temporary fillers typically last between six and twelve months. In addition, Sculptra and Radiesse are two dermal fillers which, like Bellafill, encourage your body to produce its own collagen. 

Can Bellafill be combined with other cosmetic treatments like Botox?

Yes, it can. Many patients combine Bellafill wrinkle filler with other cosmetic treatments such as Botox, chemical peels, microneedling, subcision, TCA Cross, Thermage, or cosmetic resurfacing laser treatments. Consult with a qualified professional to determine which procedure or procedures best suit your unique needs.

thermage flx patient

Does Bellafill really work?

Bellafill is safe and effective for facial rejuvenation, and was a part of the world’s largest and longest dermal-filler study. The study was performed in 2014, and involved over 1,000 subjects in 23 different sites. This clinical study showed Bellafill’s long-term safety through the study’s 5-year duration. Bellafill is the only FDA approved 5-year filler which stimulates your body’s own natural collagen production. In clinical trials, patients noted visible improvement three months after treatment. Bellafill’s PMMA microspheres provide a framework upon which the body can build its own natural collagen. Because of the body’s ability to generate new collagen with Bellafill, patients notice continued improvement, even one year after Bellafill injection.

Is Bellafill worth it?

Yes! Bellafill is worth it provided that you are a good candidate for this type of dermal filler. Bellafill is safe and effective and has given countless patients results they are happy with. Its unique formulation makes it much longer lasting solution than other dermal fillers which means fewer follow-up visits are required to maintain consistent results. If you have had Restylane or Juvederm in the past and are seeking longer lasting results, Bellafill could be a perfect fit for you to reduce nasolabial folds and improve acne scars. If you have any qualms or questions, you can always ask a healthcare professional about what your options are and what Bellafill can do for you.

How do I choose the best Bellafill injector?

When looking for the best Bellafill injector, it is important to seek out a skilled, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist like Dr. Michele Green. Not every Bellafill injector is equally qualified, and it’s important to know that you’ll be in good hands. It makes sense to choose a Bellafill injector with experience, and Dr. Green was one of the first dermatologists in New York City to offer treatment with Bellafill.

How do I get started with Bellafill injections?

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of acne scars, there are solutions that can help. Whether you are struggling with atrophic scars, hypertrophic scars, or discoloration due to acne scarring, Dr. Green can work with you to help you look and feel like the best version of yourself. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in cosmetic dermatology, and in treating acne scars. With over two decades of experience in treating acne and acne scars, she is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in NYC by Castle Connolly, Super Doctors, The New York Times, and New York Magazine. Please call our office today at 212-535-3088 or contact us online to develop your customized treatment plan with board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele S. Green.

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