- Bellafill is a cosmetic dermal filler. It’s used to improve the appearance of wrinkles and correct facial contours for a more youthful appearance.
- It’s an injectable filler with a collagen base and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres.
- It’s also used to treat certain types of moderate to severe acne scars in people older than 21.
- It’s used on the cheeks, nose, lips, chin, and around the mouth.
- The procedure takes 15 to 60 minutes.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bellafill in 2006 to treat nasolabial folds and in 2014 for the treatment of certain types of acne scars.
- Bellafill treatments are administered in-office by a trained professional.
- You can return to your normal activities immediately after treatment.
- In 2016, the cost per syringe of Bellafill was $859.
- Results are noticeable immediately after injection.
- Results last up to five years.
Bellafill is a long-lasting, FDA-approved dermal filler. It contains collagen, which is a naturally occurring substance in the skin, and tiny polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) beads.
Bellafill, formerly called Artefill, was first approved by the FDA in 2006 for treating nasolabial folds. In 2014 the FDA approved it for the treatment of certain types of moderate to severe acne scars. Like many other fillers and drugs, Bellafill also offers off-label uses. It’s being used to fill other lines and wrinkles, and for nonsurgical nose, chin, and cheek augmentation procedures.
Though Bellafill is generally safe, anyone considering using it is required to have a skin test first. It’s not recommended for:
- anyone under 21
- people with severe allergies
- those allergic to bovine collagen
- anyone with a medical condition that causes irregular scarring
Dermal fillers, including Bellafill, are priced per syringe. The total cost of Bellafill treatment varies depending on:
- the type of procedure
- the size and depth of the wrinkles or scars being treated
- the qualifications of the person performing the procedure
- the time and number of visits required
- the geographic location of the treatment office
The estimated cost of Bellafill, as provided by America Society of Plastic Surgeons, is $859 per syringe.
When considering the cost of Bellafill or any other cosmetic procedure, it’s a good idea to also factor in the amount of time needed for recovery, if any. With Bellafill, you should be able to return to your normal activities, including work, right away. Some swelling, pain, or itching at the injection site is possible. Some people also develop lumps, bumps, or discoloration. These symptoms are temporary and resolve within a week.
Bellafill is not covered by health insurance, but many plastic surgeons offer financing plans.
Bellafill contains a bovine collagen solution and PMMA, which is a thermoplastic material that is purified to create tiny balls called microspheres. Each injection also contains a small amount of lidocaine, an anesthetic, to make you more comfortable.
When Bellafill is injected into your skin, your body absorbs the collagen and the microspheres remain in place. It works to provide continued support after the collagen has been absorbed by your body and replaced with your own.
Before your Bellafill procedure, your doctor will want a complete medical history including information on any allergies and medical conditions that you may have. You will also be required to have a skin test to see if you have an allergy to bovine collagen. A small amount of highly purified collagen gel will be injected into your forearm and you will remain in the office to check for a reaction. The FDA recommends that this test be performed four weeks before treatment with Bellafill, but some doctors do it the day before or even the day of treatment.
When you are ready for your Bellafill procedure, your doctor may mark the area or areas being treated. The filler will then be injected into your skin and you will see immediate results. Each syringe contains a small amount of lidocaine to help numb any pain after injection. You may be able to have a numbing cream applied to the area before injection if you’re concerned about pain.
The amount of time your procedure takes depends on the area you’re having treated. This can be anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes. Multiple areas can be treated during one appointment. For best results, your doctor may recommend a follow-up treatment after six weeks.
Bellafill was approved for the treatment of nasolabial folds and certain types of moderate to severe acne scars on the cheeks. However, it has several off-label uses. It’s now commonly used to:
- plump the lips as a lip filler
- correct “bags” under the eyes
- correct small to moderate nose bumps and deviations
- contour the chin and cheeks
Bellafill is also used to treat other deep facial lines and wrinkles, and wrinkled or sagging earlobes.
As with any procedure, you may experience side effects after a Bellafill procedure. Common side effects include:
- swelling, bruising, or bleeding at the injection site
- skin redness
- lumps or asymmetry
- feeling the filler under the skin
- infection at the injection site
- under- or overcorrection of wrinkles
Most of the side effects usually resolve on their own within the first week. Some people have reported experiencing these side effects for as long as three months, but this is rare.
See your doctor if you experience any side effects that are severe or last more than a week, or if you experience symptoms of infection, such as fever and muscle aches.
Granulomas are a very rare possible side effect of Bellafill. The incidence of granulomas after the injection of bovine collagen is reported to be approximately 0.04 to 0.3 percent.
Most people are able to return to their normal activities immediately after receiving Bellafill. Results are immediate and last up to five years for rejuvenation procedures and up to one year for the treatment of acne scars. Bellafill is often referred to as “the only permanent dermal filler,” though results have only been studied for five years.
You can apply an ice pack to the area to help with swelling or discomfort.
In preparation for Bellafill, you will need to provide your medical history and disclose any allergies or medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or conditions that cause irregular scarring. You will also need a Bellafill skin test to ensure you’re not allergic to bovine collagen. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications for a few days before surgery, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising at the injection site.
There are several FDA-approved dermal fillers on the market. They are all gel-like substances that are injected under the skin to fill lines and creases and provide a softer, more youthful appearance. Many can also be used to fill the lips and improve asymmetry and contouring. The most popular substitute to Bellafill is Juvederm.
The key difference between Bellafill and Juvederm is the ingredients, which have a direct impact on how long your results will last.
- Bellafill contains both natural and synthetic materials. The bovine collagen is absorbed by the body while the PMMA microspheres remain and stimulate your body to produce collagen, creating long-lasting results for up to five years.
- The main ingredient in Juvederm is hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a naturally occurring lubricant found in your body that is able to retain large amounts of water. HA is gradually absorbed by the body so the results of the filler are temporary, lasting 6 to 18 months.
Many plastic surgeons recommend going with an HA filler if it’s your first time. This is because the results are temporary and because using a special enzyme called hyaluronidase can dissolve as much or as little of the filler as you like.
Choosing the right Bellafill provider is important as this is a medical procedure that should only be performed by a certified, skilled professional. Bellafill and other dermal fillers require special training and experience to ensure safe treatment and natural-looking results.
The following are tips to help you find a qualified provider:
- Choose a board-certified cosmetic surgeon.
- Ask for references from previous clients.
- Ask to see before and after photos of their Bellafill clients.
The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery has an online tool to help you find a qualified cosmetic surgeon near you.