Facial atrophy, which can give patients being treated with AIDS drugs a gaunt appearance, can be successfully treated with injections of solution containing polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), a type of bone cement, Dr. M.S. Serra announced at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok.
The Rio de Janeiro-based doctor presented five-year follow-up data for 441 men and 63 women who underwent the procedure, which can be performed on an outpatient basis. Serra said the procedure was "demonstrated to be long-lasting, easy to be performed and safe."
In the study, a solution containing PMMA and a local anesthetic was injected into atrophic areas on the face. Patients were followed at six-month intervals for up to five years and were photographed before and after the procedure. Study patients reported high levels of satisfaction with the procedure and improved quality of life. Serra noted there were no unexpected side effects related to the procedure and no effects on the patients' immune cells.
"This is not a cosmetic procedure," said Serra. "It is corrective surgery," that should be available to all patients who develop facial wasting as a result of anti-HIV therapy. A full-face treatment, which requires two sessions, costs about $500, he added. Serra is currently working with the Brazilian government to provide the procedure for free for patients undergoing AIDS treatment.