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Available Dermal Fillers (in the US)

dermal filler injections


In the recent years, the cosmetic world has advanced to a great extent; with new treatments that are now available that bring out youthful skin and young looks with just a few minutes of treatment. While these treatments have been popularized by the never ending coverage in tabloid newspapers regarding the next best celebrities’ looks, it’s actual meaning extends well beyond what is just on the surface. To many, cosmetic treatments are about increasing their confidence and to some it is about getting rid of unsightly scars and lines.

Dermal fillers have received a great amount of attention as well. With a range of uses from lip enhancement to scar reduction, it is a popular and often sought after treatment. Different types of dermal fillers are now available on the market, and as a patient (or a future patient), it is worthwhile having an idea of what is available.

A recent article in the reputed journal Nature listed out the currently approved dermal fillers in the United States. It may be surprising to know that until fairly recently, only one dermal filler – collagen – was approved for use by the FDA. Let’s take a closer look at some of the new ones that are currently being used.  The IAPAM educates physicians on all the FDA approved dermal fillers.

1. Collagen (Zyderm, Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast)

This has been around for years, and is popular as it is in fact a natural component of skin. Initially collagen derived from bovine (cow) sources (Zyderm) was being used, though this has now been abandoned by some. These days, human bioengineered collagen dermal fillers are now manufactured, that bear the advantage of not requiring allergy testing before use (as allergic reactions are so rare). Popular brands include Cosmoderm I and II and Cosmoplast.

2. Hyaluronic acid (Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, Perlane, Belotero Balance)

Hyaluronic acid is a popular dermal filler that is used due to certain specific properties. It is a natural component of skin, and binds to water when injected, thus plumping up the skin. It can also help keep skin well hydrated and stimulates skin cell growth. Products like Belotero balance is particularly useful in smoothing out nasolabial folds and vertical lip lines effectively.

3. Poly – L – Lactic Acid (Sculptra)

Also called Sculptra (on the market), this FDA approved filler differs slightly from others in that it stimulates the formation of new collagen under the skin by cells called fibroblasts, rather than actually participating as a filler in itself.

4. Polymethylmethacrylate (Artefill)

This FDA approved specialized dermal filler consists of tiny spheres combined with water in the form of a gel. In addition, it contains a local anesthetic agent called lignocaine, making injection of this filler a lot less painful when compared to others. Patients may develop allergic reactions as this compound is derived from bovine sources, so prior allergy testing may be needed.

5. Hydroxyl-apatite calcium micropsheres (Radiesse)

As is in the name, this dermal filler contains micro-spheres of calcium hydroxyl-apatite which is suspended in a water based gel. Just like Sculptra, this also stimulates the formation of new collagen, and hence is not a ‘true filler’. Injections can be painful and often need a local anesthetic injection prior to the procedure.

6. Autologous stem cell therapy (Azficel-T, laViv)

While this phrase might sound rather complicated, this procedure basically involves injecting one’s own cells which have been grown into areas that need filling. The technology is advanced, patented and FDA approved. Cells are obtained from behind the patient’s ear, sent to a lab and grown for 90 days before being injected back into the patient where required. Specialist training is required to perform this procedure.


Dermal filler treatments have advanced tremendously in the recent years. FDA approval only adds to the already available knowledge regarding its safety and efficacy. At, we aim to offer both physicians the required training and prospective patients the required advice regarding dermal fillers.

Further reading –

1. Charles Schmidt ‘FDA approves first cell therapy for wrinkle-free visage’

2. Goldberg DJ. Breakthroughs in US dermal fillers for facial soft-tissue augmentation. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2009 Dec;11(4):240-7. doi: 10.3109/14764170903341731.

3. What are dermal fillers?


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