AN OVERVIEW OF FACIAL LIPOATROPHY ASSOCIATED WITH HIV
Facial Lipoatrophy is the loss of facial fat. It can be seen in an aging face or be the result of an illness that causes a wasting condition. When the fat under the skin of the face starts to disappear, hollows develop under the eyes and the cheeks appear sunken. This gives the nasolabial folds a ropey appearance paired with a deep indentation running from the outer area of the nose to the corners of the mouth. In a severe case when the face is touched around the cheek area, no underlying facial fat is palpable.
Facial Lipoatrophy associated with HIV is felt to be a side effect from certain treatment drugs. It is a stigmatizing complication that can affect an individual’s self-confidence and quality of life. It can be a contributing factor for depression. Treatment for HIV should not only include medications to halt the progression of the virus, but it should also include treating any physical and emotional side effects. If there is a mind-body connection to illness, emotional health is an important factor in keeping ones physical health. Consequently, keeping ones physical appearance will bolster ones self-esteem and confidence. The two are intertwined and work together for a successful treatment regimen.
In 2006, the FDA approved RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler for the restorative correction of Facial Lipoatrophy associated with HIV. There are other injectables that can be used, though they are not FDA approved. The other FDA approved product requires multiple sessions and injections over time to produce an effect. RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler produces instant results that may last a year or longer. Since it is not a permanent filler, it will require periodic treatments to maintain the correction.
The cost of a restorative correction can be pricey. Treatment for a severely atrophied face may require multiple syringes of product. The cost of surgical implants would be beyond what most patients can afford. Merz Aesthetics™, the manufacturer of RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler, has a Patient Assistance Program for patients with Facial Lipoatrophy associated with HIV. It is a humanitarian program offered to patients to offset the cost of their product. The program is offered to HIV patients with Facial Lipoatrophy who earn less than $80,000 annually and who do not have insurance that would cover a restorative procedure. In practical terms, a very large percentage of HIV patients would be eligible for this program.
Merz Aesthetics™ has a form that can be filled out and submitted to their program from our office. It requires some documentation of income such as a tax return, a monthly pay stub or a monthly summary of benefits. Once a patient is accepted into the program, a patient can purchase up to six 1.5cc syringes of RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler per 12 months. The syringe cost varies depending on a patient’s income, ranging from $80 to $180 per syringe. When we are notified of a patient’s acceptance into the program, we contact the patient to inform them of the cost per syringe offered to them and to determine the number of syringes to order. Six syringes can be ordered all together or a few at a time, but only a total of six can be ordered in any 12 month period. Once the syringes arrive, they are available to the patient for use. Any extra syringes ordered but not used are stored by us for that patient for use at a later time. We require that the patient pays for all syringes ordered upon their arrival. The only charge a patient will receive from us is a $25 injection fee per syringe at the time of a treatment.
A patient with mild Facial Lipoatrophy changes will typically need at least two syringes of RADIESSE® Volumizing Filler to start with. In a severe case, all six syringes could be used in one session. Once a correction is made, an occasional treatment will be needed to maintain it. The best time to add another layer of product is when the restored volume starts to lessen rather than waiting until the product seems to have completely disappeared.
Please contact us at Willo MediSpa if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to come in and discuss the Merz Aesthetics™ Patient Assistance Program. Our Phoenix aesthetic medical spa is committed to helping patients with Facial Lipoatrophy associated with HIV look good and feel good about themselves.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
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