Question: Recently, I saw a news feature on a new product called Juvederm. I thought that it was used to give a person fuller lips. If that’s true, how does it differ from other products already on the market?
Answer: Juvederm is a facial filler recently approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. and will be available to the general public in 2007. It is a hyaluronic acid or “HA”, a complex sugar similar to Restylane. HAs are gels that absorb and retain water. This type of product has been used for years by orthopedic surgeons to improve lubrication in the joints. Restylane, which has been available for 3 years, has become the most commonly used filler for injecting the face to fill grooves or for plumping lips. Juvederm is in the same category of substance but the assertion is that because it has been enhanced biochemically it will absorb and retain the body’s natural water better. Juvederm is currently undergoing a massive U.S. study by select physicians to determine its long-term efficacy compared to Restylane, which has been widely successful. As previously stated, Juvederm has been used in Europe and Canada for many years, and has been an effective product with an excellent safety record. In the past, facial fillers have been either Bovine (cow) collagen such as Zyplast and Zyderm, requiring skin testing for allergies, or human collagen such as Cosmoplast and Cosmoderm, which don’t require skin testing. The collagens, which have been extremely successful and safe, lack longterm efficacy. This new wave of fillers, the HAs, (hyaluronic acids) are showing great promise to be easier to use and last much longer than the traditional collagen injections. These products are great to fill the nasolabial grooves around the mouth or creases in other areas, giving a person a more youthful appearance. Other uses are plumping thin lips and filling divots in the skin produced by scarring.