04/26/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

New "Fillers" for the Fight Against Wrinkles

Beginning in the 1980's and for the following two decades, if you wanted a filler for wrinkles or lines on your face there was only collagen. In the past few years, many new wrinkle-fighting medications have been approved. Radiesse, otherwise known as calcium hydroxylapatite, is a new and longer term filler. Radiesse is made of the same material as the bones in our bodies and dissolves naturally with time.

While collagen lasted only about three months or so, Radiesse can keep your wrinkles or lines filled for up to a year. Most patients see immediate improvement.

Stephen L. Comite, MD, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist affiliated with The Mount Sinai Dept of Dermatology, has published two articles on Radiesse and was one of the first to use it in the New York metropolitan area. He says that his patients have been very pleased with Radiesse, as it lasts longer than most other fillers. When injected by an experienced physician, such as a dermatologist, there have been excellent results. "It looks and feels natural and slowly dissolves on its own," says Dr. Comite.

Radiesse is FDA approved both for the treatment of lines and wrinkles as well as for facial wasting, which is a loss of fat in the cheeks, generally in patients with HIV. Dr. Comite, who is on the Medical Education Faculty for the company which manufactures Radiesse, wrote the first paper ever written on using Radiesse for facial wasting, also known as lipoatrophy. He says that the patients with HIV that he has treated are much happier now that they no longer appear sick and have less of the associated stigma.

Dr. Comite states that like with any filler that is injected with a needle, there can be temporary swelling, redness and bruising, but this tends to resolve within a few days. Patients can apply make-up shortly after the procedure. Dr. Comite, a leading Manhattan dermatologist, finds that Radiesse is especially helpful for those patients with deeper lines, especially the diagonal lines between the nose and mouth, as well as for those patients who need additional volume to their face.

Years ago injection of Radiesse was frequently uncomfortable, but newer advances in technique and the use of anesthetics have made any discomfort brief and very tolerable. Dr. Comite says, "Most of our patients have minimal discomfort, close to a mosquito bite."

Dr. Comite lectured about new fillers like Radiesse both at a recent dermatology conference at Mount Sinai as well as at a national dermatology meeting held last summer in Manhattan. Dr. Comite says, "Radiesse is a big improvement over previous fillers such as collagen since it lasts longer and overall seems to have fewer problems associated with it. For instance, with older forms of collagen, dermatologists used to have to test to make sure a patient was not allergic to the collagen and wait a few weeks for the results. With Radiesse, time permitting, we can treat patients on the same day that they come in for a consultation."