Bellafill Injectable Filler - Is It Right For You?
Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD
Bellafill is a long-lasting maybe even permanent injectable soft tissue filler. It can put the brakes on your smile lines (nasolabial folds) for a long, long time maybe even forever.
Bellafill was approved by the FDA in October 2006 for the treatment of nasolabial folds and has also been used off-label for lip augmentation, acne scars, and other wrinkles. It bears the distinction of being the only "permanent" soft tissue filler approved for use in the U.S.
What Is Bellafill?
Bellafill is a hybrid gel filler consisting of millions of synthetic microspheres of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) which are suspended in purified bovine (cow) collagen. Bellafill also contains a local anesthetic. This takes the edge off by providing pain relief at the same time as the initial injection. Bellafill results appear almost immediately.
An allergy test is usually done about a month before treatment because of the bovine collagen in Bellafill. If you and your doctor decide on Bellafill, the procedure takes approximately 15 minutes to perform and is typically done in the doctor's office. He or she injects the filler beneath your smile lines, plumping them up immediately.
Sometimes more than one treatment session is needed. In these cases, the Bellafill treatments are usually performed three to six weeks apart. There is virtually no downtime after Bellafill injections.
Bellafill vs. Other Soft Tissue Fillers
With other fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm, the ingredients are gradually re-absorbed by the body. By contrast, the microspheres in Bellafill are not absorbed by the body. This is why Bellafill lasts longer than other fillers on the market. The microspheres can only be removed surgically.
What's more, the microspheres in Bellafill also stimulate your body to produce collagen, which is the main structural protein found in your skin. Our collagen supply dwindles with advancing age, often resulting in facial lines, folds and other signs of aging on the face.
Is Bellafill Right For You?
Bellafill is best if you already know that you like what a soft tissue filler can do for your face. Permanent is great if you are in love with the results, but not so great if you are not. Bellafill is best for smile lines; it is not recommended for areas with thinner skin such as crow's feet around the eyes.
Not everyone is a candidate for Bellafill injections. Importantly, Bellafill has not been tested for safety in pregnant or breastfeeding women, or in women younger than 18. If you have any cysts, pimples, rashes, hives or infection near the injection site, treatment should be postponed.
In addition, tell your doctor if you are taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because these agents may increase bruising or bleeding risks. Other factors that may affect your Bellafill candidacy include history of any other treatment for facial wrinkles in the last six months, UV light therapy to treat skin diseases, and/or use of immunosuppressive therapy. Your doctor should take a thorough medical history before deciding whether Bellafill is right for you.
Bellafill side effects may include redness, swelling, lumpiness, pain or sensitivity at the injection site. Some people experience facial firmness after injection, but this usually resolves over time. Occasionally, there is some mild bruising which can last about three to seven days. Lumps and granulomas may occur with Bellafill as well as other soft tissue fillers.
There is always the risk of being unhappy or dissatisfied with the cosmetic results, and this risk is more pronounced when the results are permanent. The best way to minimize your risks and maximize your satisfaction is to choose a qualified, experienced injector and closely follow his or her advice. Board-certified plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons are uniquely qualified to use injectables such as Bellafill.
Choosing Your Bellafill Provider
There are many facial plastic surgeons offering their services, making it hard to know whom to choose. All About Facial Rejuvenation takes the pain out of finding a surgeon by offering you a directory of highly trained facial plastic surgeons who have years of experience performing a range of cosmetic procedures. To find a qualified surgeon near you, click here or on the right side of this page.
Bellafill injections cost around $1,000 per syringe. Insurers typically do not cover the cost of cosmetic procedures such as Bellafill. If the cost is too much to pay all at once, ask your doctor about financing or payment plans. Help may be available.
To view a comparison chart explaining the pros and cons of all available injectables, please click here.
Suneva Medical, Inc.'s ArteFill® has been rebranded as Bellafill® in the U.S. Only the name has changed. The filler is still FDA-approved for the correction of smile lines.