In 2005 bone, skin, and tendons were illegally taken by a New Jersey tissue bank from New York funeral homes and sold to companies for implantation into other humans. Lifecell Corporation, producer of the collagen implants Alloderm and Cymetra, was one of these companies. These tissues were never tested for infectious diseases. Scary enough that I never use a human product unless the problem is life threatening. Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast cost about $100 more than cow collagen.
This is a brand-new injectible made from pig collagen. The manufacturers have tinkered with the molecule and linked it to a sugar. This appears to make it a ‘‘super-collagen’’ capable of lasting far longer than standard collagen. Because it is made from collagen, allergies can occur and so skin tests are necessary. The company says it can last over fifteen months. It is available in Europe, Canada, Japan, and Israel, but not yet in the United States.
This material contains collagen, elastin, and other proteins from human cadavers. It is the injectable form of Alloderm. While infectious diseases have never been transmitted with Cymetra, the very possibility makes many plastic surgeons and patients nervous. Transplanted Cymetra lasts about two months. It should not be used around the eyes. It is not a particularly popular filler.
This is basically human collagen that is taken from fascia (connective tissue) of the calf muscle. The material is used to fill wrinkles, scars, nasolabial folds, and depressions. Fascian may be replaced with your own collagen at some point, so there is some chance of permanence. At $85 per syringe, Fascian is much cheaper than other fillers. But I do not believe that we should choose a filler material solely on the basis of price. As with other cadaver-derived products, I get nervous since this product is taken from a human.
In this interesting approach to wrinkle filling, the Isolagen Corporation grows pure cells in the laboratory. A small piece of skin is taken from a patient and sent to the Isolagen lab where, in six weeks, millions of cells are produced. The cells, called fibroblasts, make collagen. They are sent back to the doctor and injected into the patient. Presumably they will then ‘‘live long and prosper,’’ growing new collagen within the patient’s skin. This procedure is currently under study in the United States.
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